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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

New Italian Wines - May 4, 2016

We tasted last night (5/4/16) Some New Italian Wines:

  1. JacuzziFamilyVnyds Arneis Paicines (14.5%; www.JacuzziWines.com) Sonoma 2013: Med.gold color; quite perfumed/fragrant Arneis/floral bit spicy/minty very attractive perfumed nose; tart quite perfumed pear blossom/floral/Arneis quite spicy/minty fairly rich very interesting flavor; very long floral/ pear blossom some stony/mineral bit spicy/minty lovely perfumed finish; a very attractive rendition of Arneis w/ a nice stony/mineral touch at a great price. $20.00
  2. Idlewild Arneis FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (12.9%) 2014: Light gold color; very perfumed/fragrant lovely
    Arneis/floral nose w/ slight hint of TCA/cardboardy; lightly tart rather rich/lush intensely floral/apple blossom/Arneis very slight TCA/cardboardy flavor; long rich/lush rather floral/Arneis/apple blossom slight TCA/corked finish; shows some TCA but what's left is still very good. $28.00
  3. Idlewild Cortese FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (13.8%; www.IdlewildWines.com) Geyserville 2014: Med.gold color; rather stony/earthy/mineral bit floral slight phenolic/resiny quite interesting nose; rather tart fairly earthy/stony/chalky light phenolic/resiny some spicy complex flavor; very long tart/grapefruity
    some earthy/stony/chalky light phenolic/resiny slight floral/orange peel finish w/ very light tannins;
    quite an interesting/unusual rendition of Cortese. $32.00
  4. Scarbolo MyTime Bianco IGT: Venezia Giulia (40% Chard/30% SauvBlanc/30% Friuliano cofrmtd; 14%; www.Scarbolo.com) Valter Scarbolo/Pavia di Udine 2010: Med.gold color; slight SO2/matchstick rather stony/earthy bit herbal/SB/melony quite perfumed attractive nose; lightly tart some herbal/SB/ melony bit peppery/floral rather rich/lush flavor; very long slight biuttery strong SB/herbal/melony light earthy/peppery lovely finish; speaks mostly of a very perfumed SB; rather rich/lush for a Friulian white; quite a lovely white. $42.00 (BWM)
  5. JacuzziFamilyVnyds Sangiovese SonomaCoast (13.5%; Fr.oak) 2013: Med.light color; very perfumed cherry/Sangio/spicy/floral/rose petal slight cinammon/nutmeg bit Chianti-like very bright nose; lightly tart
    bright/cherry/Sangio/spicy/floral light toasty/oak rather classic Sangio flavor w/ light bitey tannins;
    long lightly tart bright/zippy/cherry/Sangio/black cherry light toasty/oak slight earthy finish w/light angular tannins; lots of bright/laser-sharp cherry/Sangio character; must be one of the colder plantings of Sangio in Calif; very well-priced at $22.00
  6. JacuzziFamilyVnyds Sagrantino TracyHills (14.5%) 2013: Med.dark color; slight herbal/earthy/spicy
    fragrant black cherry/spicy almost Cab-like very attractive nose; soft some earthy/plummy/mushroomy
    bit herbal/Cab-like/black cherry slightly tangy/bitter flavor w/ light soft/smooth tannins; very long black cherry/herbal/Cab-like/spicy light earthy/mushroomy finish w/ light smooth tannins; quite an attractive drinkable interesting Sagrantino w/o the fierce tannins those from Umbria often show. $28.00
  7. JacuzziFamilyVnyds Nero d'Avola TracyHills (13.5%) 2014: Med.color; Med.color; very strong earthy/dusty/mushroomy rather plummy/black cherry/NdA/ripe lightly spicy/cinammon attractive nose; slight alcoholic soft bit metallic/tangy strong plummy/black cherry/black cherry cola some earthy/ mushroomy/loamy flavor w/ light soft tannins; very long some plummy/black cherry/NdA bit earthy/ mushroomy/loamy finish w/ light soft tannins; somewhat lacking in structure and a bit on the simple side but doesn't have the coarseness of many NdA from Sicily; pleasant enough but just that. $28.00
  8. Curatolo Arini Nero d'Avola Rosso IGP: Sicilia (14%; www.GiulianaImports.com; www.curatoloarini.com) Marsala 2010: Dark color; quite fragrant earthy/mushroomy plummy/NdA/floral/ musky slight mineral very attractive perfumed nose; soft slight tangy/metallic strong plummy/black cherry/NdA rather earthy/mineral quite spicy flavor w/ light rough tannins; very long bit earthy/mineral/ metallic/tangy strong NdA/plummy/black cherry/licorice/spicy finish w/ light bitey tannins; very clean & well-made; quite fragrant & one of the better NdA from Sicily w/o the coarsness they often shor. $25.00 (KK)
  9. JacuzziFamilyVnyds Aglianico TracyHills (13.5%) 2012: Med.color; very strong black cherry/black cherry cola/DrPepper some perfumed/spicy quite fragrant/attractive nose; bit soft lush/rich/ripe strong black cherry/black cherry cola/licorice bit earthy/rustic flavor w/ some broad/ripe tannins; very long strong
    black cherry/black cherry cola/RCCola/licorice slight earthy ripe/lush bit soft finish w/ modest ripe/
    smooth tannins;a very good Calif expression of Calif Aglianico w/o the hot-climate & coarse character
    that Anlinico can show in Italy; needs 2-5 yrs; a lovely/balanced Aglinico at a very good price. $28.00
  10. Rocca del Principe Aglianico Dd'OP: Irpinia (14.5%; www. IndigenousSelections.com) Faabrizio Aurelia/Lapio 2011: Med.dark color; slight unclean/goat-pen/hot-climate fairly fragrant black cherry cola/spicy/almost Zin-like bit charred/burnt/earthy nose; soft rather tannic/metallic/tangy some black cherry cola/spicy slight unclean/hot-climate/earthy bit coarse/rustic flavor w/ modest rough tannins; long some black cherry cola/spicy earthy/hot-climate/goat-pen bit charred/burnt finish w/ modest rough tannins; some nice perfume but a bit on the coarse/rustic side a a bit of goat-pen uncleanliness to it.
    $21.00 (KK)
  11. Unti Rosso del Campo DryCreekVlly (14.1%; 56% Barbera/26% Ciliegiolo/18% Primitivo) 2014: Med.color; light vanilla/smokey/toasty/oak rather fragrant/spicy/cherry some Barbera/Italian spices/fennel quite attractive rather Italianate nose; fairly tart some vanilla/smokey/oak light spicy/Barbera/Italian herb
    rather bright/DCV spicy flavor w/ light gentle tannins; long rather spicy/Barbera/Italian herbs/cherry/
    bright some smokey/oak finish w/ light smooth tannins; quite a pretty/bright/DCV red that reminds some
    of the Preston Barbera back when they were making great wines; speaks strongly of DCV; great price at
  12. Montauto DOC: Maremma Toscano (13%; 80% Ciliegiolo/20% Sangiovese; L09/15; Xamay Importers/Pomona; www.Montauto.org) Riccardo Lepri/Marciano 2014: Dark color; some dusty/ earthy light oak pungent/licorice/cherry/black cherry spicy fairly perfumed attractive nose; fairly tart somewhat hard/tannic bright cherry/black cherry/black cherry cola/spicy some earthy/dusty flavor w/ light hard tannins; very long black cherry/cherry/Sangio bit earthy/dusty light oak finish w/ modest angular/rough tannins; needs some age yet; seems more like a perfumed/high-toned Chianti than anything; great price at $19.00 (AV)

The usual stuff from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. JacuzziFamily: This may sound like a familiar name. In 1937, Valeriano Jacuzzi joind the family biz
in Berkeley which manufactured water well pumps. From that, he segued into using his expertise to
invent the famed Jacuzzi Spa/hot tub...the iconic figure for MarinCnty. Little did he know at the time.
Fred & Matt Cline started ClineCllrs over in the Oakley area, where they had vnyds. As I recall,
they started Jacuzzi to make a high-end Zin. I recall it being quite good, but not in the big-leagues
of Calif Zin. Eventually Matt & Fred parted ways and Fred & Nancy moved the wnry operation just South of the town of Sonoma in the Carneros, where they planted vnyds has well as in the PetalumaGap area.

ClineCllrs continues their focus on the Rhone varietals, whilst the Jacuzzi label has become the
focus for their Italian varietals. Charlie Tsegeletos is the winemaker for both labels. Several months
ago, when I found out Jacuzzi was making Nebbiolo, I invited Charlie to join us at the NEB#6 festival,
which he accepted. When I looked at the Jacuzzi WebSite (www.jacuzziwines.com), I discovered that he was making a bunch of Italian varietals that picqued my curiosity to see what they were doing, so I ordered a mixed hlf case to check them out. These are those wines, except for the Nebb (which I tried at NEB#6 and was quite impressed with). I really need to go back and check out the ClineCllrs wines as well, as they've sorta fallen off my radar.

I was rather impressed with these wines. They are all quite well-made, pretty true to varietal
character, quite interesting, balanced, and very reasonably priced.
2. Idlewild: The Arneis definitely had a trace of TCA/cardboardy character, both in the nose and on the palate. Usually, that pretty much robs the fruit from any wine. However, there was still plenty of
very attractive Arneis fruit left behind. One can only wonder what a unblemished btl would show.
In the past, Sam has made this wine in an unusual fashion. The rows of the Cortese get a lot of
sun exposure and are more phenolically ripe than the other. He harvests the grapes in two separate
passes. The shaded side is pressed off immediately. The more ripe side is given some skin-contact
during fermentation. This '14 definitely showed a bit of skin-contact/phenolic character. It is
quite unlike any Piemontese Cortese and quite an interesting/savory kind of wine.
3. Ciliegiolo: This is typically one of the minor varieties used in Chianti. The name comes from Italian
for "cherries". Its related to Sangiovese in a way that's not clear yet. I wasn't aware that it
was planted in Calif but should have known that GeorgeUnti would be giving it a try.
4. TracyHills: This is a relative obscure AVA (believe only 5 vnyds there) that you never see much from. Just West of Manteca, just south of Tracy, just east of Livermore. According to Charlie, it gets pretty hot during the day, but it's tempered at night by cooling breezes rolling down off AltamontPass. Sounds like a growing area that shouldn't be dismissed out of hand because of its location.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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