Le Moire Annibale 2011: Calabria as it should be….

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Forza Calabria!! A great review for the 2011 Le Moire Annibale from Calabria. This is the reason why I am so passionate about the wines of Calabria.

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Keeping it #real: Moscato d’Asti as it should be….

Paolo Saracco in a newly planted Moscato vineyard.
Paolo Saracco in a newly planted Moscato vineyard.

It is funny, with the warm weather in Australia in full swing, Moscato sales have been crazy. Here in Oz, I work with Paolo Saracco and it really is an honor to be able to say that we represent the wines of Saracco in Australia.

However if there is one grape variety that needs protection from the industrial swill (made out of anything and everything) it is Moscato. Real Moscato and labelled Moscato d’Asti (made from Moscato Bianco Canelli) is such a fantastic wine and it astounds me that Moscato made outside of this region can be passed off as the same as this.

As you can see from the photo aboove, Moscato grown in the right soils and aspect and most importantly, right climate can produce stunning results. Moscato grown in hot, arid areas and pumped full of water from irrigation is not Moscato.

Like Champagne and Prosecco, the growers of Moscato d’Asti need to come up with a framework to protect this great wine and region. When the rest of the world are making and selling alcoholic lolly water with bubbles and labelled it Moscato, then the image of Moscato and reputation for this fantastic wine is only heading in one direction: that is down.

Puglia & Radici del Sud featured in Decanter Italy 2013

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Last June I was lucky enough to be invited to Puglia to sit on an international judging panel for Radici del Sud, a competition which focuses on native grape varieties grown in Southern Italy. Over five days we looked at some pretty amazing wines and if you click here you can read about my time in Puglia.

One of my fellow judges and wine writer for Decanter, Tom Maresca has just written about his experience in Puglia at Radici del Sud 2012 in the latest February edition of Decanter. In a special lift out focused solely on Italy, Maresca has given  detailed insight into the grape varieties grown in Puglia and his favourite producers. If you buy and read wine magazines, the February edition is well worth getting.

Puglia: great red hopes by Tom Maresca
Puglia: great red hopes by Tom Maresca

Tom also outlines his ‘Great red buys from Puglia’ and featured strongly in this, was my favourite producer from the competition called Fatalone. The estate now run by Pasquale Petrera make absolutely amazing reds from Primativo and also a stunning white made from Greco. These wines will be available via Mondo Imports around March and I can’t wait to show these in Australia.

The wines of Fatalone are pure expressions of Primitivo and showcase the quality that this grape variety can achieve in Puglia. From first sip, I knew these wines were a class above. Pasquale also makes a fantastic wine wine from Greco called Spinomarino and it was for me the surprise packet of the competition.

Tasting Fatalone at Radici del Sud 2012
Tasting Fatalone at Radici del Sud 2012

Tom’s review of Fatalone:

Primativo Riserva, Gioia del Colle 2005: Still tastes young and fresh. Producer predicts 20 more years of life; very fine. Drink 2013-2025 (93 points)

Primativo, Gioia del Colle 2008: Great fruit, long bitter almond finish. A lovely wine. 15% but you wouldn’t guess it. Drink 2013-2018 (90 points)

The worst thing to forget when going on holidays? My wine glasses….

East Gippsland, Victoria
East Gippsland, Victoria

Last week I spent a relaxing week on the beach in East Gippsland in Victoria doing very little. It was great to spend time with my wife and kids and also my extended family eating simply and drinking a lot of different wines.

It was a great week away and probably the hardest part of the holiday was actually trying to fit in, strollers, pillows, suitcases and lot’s of kids gear. In all this mayhem, I left behind my most treasured possession: my wine glasses. One of the most annoying things about drinking wine in restaurants is the quality of glassware. And even on holiday’s I pack my glasses so I can enjoy the wines that I drink.

PLUMM Vintage Red b wine glass.
PLUMM Vintage Red b wine glass.

Even relatively cheap Italian wines like Gran Sasso and Lucarrelli deserve proper wine glasses. My glass of choice at the moment is the PLUMM Vintage Red b glass which is a Burgundy shaped glass. I use this glass for nearly all the wine I drink, Champagne included and for me, it is the best all round glass on the market.

When on holidays or at home in Australia, I try and make sure that I am surrounded by good glassware.  If you drink wine regularly at home then my tip is to find a glass type or style that you like and make this your ‘go to’ glass whenever you open a bottle.

I know when it comes to Italian wine, this ‘Burgundy’ styled glass is perfect for almost every wine style in Italy. The only exception you could argue might be Chianti Classico but I wouldn’t say Sangiovese as I prefer drinking Brunello out of my burgundy glass. As you can see from the photo above, a lot of Italian restaurants/wineries serve their wines out of a similar shaped glass as the Plumm Vintage Red b which I use at home.

2010 Barbaresco: a vintage for the purists…

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‘2010 Barbaresco will be a very good wine, with medium body and beautiful balance, somehow similar to the classic 2004 and 2005 vintages .’ Produttori del Barbaresco

If I had to name an upcoming vintage that has most impressed me, then it would be 2010 Barbaresco. The wines from even an early age out of barrel, have shown both power and poise and if I was a betting man, I would put money on this being an amazing vintage for Barbaresco. It will produce traditional, long lived Barbaresco what should develop in the bottle over a number of decades.

The rolling hills of Barbaresco.
The rolling hills of Barbaresco.

Whilst the vintage did have some rain in early October, beautiful sunshine and perfect weather throughout September helped create conditions which allowed full ripeness of fruit, without excessive heat and a long growing season to enable the tannins to integrate with the wines.

In the next twelve months, there is going to lot’s of 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo hitting the market and this will give you a great insight into just how good the Barbaresco from 2010 will be from those same producers.

I can’t wait to head back to Italy next year and hopefully try the same wines out of barrel and see again how far they have come in twelve months.