One of our friends with a base in Tuscany recently asked me to buy him some Favorita from Claudio Rapalino one of our neighbours. It is closely related to the Tuscan Vermentino and Claudio makes one of the best that regularly features on our shopping list. Unfortunately we are not alone and an importer had scooped up his remaining stock just a couple of days previously.
It presented an ideal opportunity to venture across the Tanaro into the Roero which in the absence of Barbaresco and Barolo to focus on produces excellent white wine, not to mention Barbera and the very occasional stunning Nebbiolo. A quick call to Antonio Deltetto and we had located a good alternative and an excuse to taste the rest of his stunning wines.
Langhe Favorita “Servaj” 2011 – terrific aperitivo, fresh, light, floral and inexpensive. The name “Servaj” means wild referring to the wild nature of the surrounding hills
Gavi di Gavi 2011 – didn’t know they made it but some left with us. Good minerality/acidity with fresh pineapple/grapefruit and good length; also well priced
Roero Arneis “Daivej” 2011. Halfway towards Riesling and will age. Very creamy and elegant. “Daivej”, “of the aged”, refers to the old farmhouse next to the vineyard
Roero Arneis S.Michele 2011. Fantastic Arneis from their oldest vines (35 years). This will definitely improve with age. I usually rush to drink Arneis within year or 2 of harvest but look forward to how these develop.
The secret to their whites is cooling the grapes overnight and only crushing them when cool. Followed by slow, low temperature fermentation to preserve their intense perfume.
All under €10 ex cantina.
I don’t buy fizz very often and when I do it’s usually champagne although that will be gradually less often. Today I received an email offer from a UK supplier offering half price champagne and was about to order some when Her Outdoors said she would rather I bought the Deltetto at the same price (In fact ex cantina here it’s less). Antonio makes 3 “Metodo Classico” and we like them all:
Spumante Brut is 50% Chardonnay/50% Pinot Noir and spends 3 years on the lees. Perfect match between acidity and sweetness and creamy up front and on the finish
Sumante Extra Brut Riserva ’08 is still young and will last for years. 70% Pinot Noir /30% Chardonnay fermented in used french Barriques (breathes better). Yeasty and lightly fizzy. It would certainly be a struggle to pick this out from quality vintage champagnes in a blind tasting and Antonio mentioned that it had recently been voted top on just such an occasion.
Spumante Rosé is prettily coloured after a maceration of just 8 hours with 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Nebbiolo that makes it so Piemontese!
With growing conditions in Champagne in 2012 being awful it’s time to check out flights to Milano, Torino and Genova and stock up here. May’s a good time with Barbaresco a Tavola most Fridays.
All the reds are good and I regularly choose his Barbera d’Alba at our local pizzeria Il Camino, when it’s not sold out! However, the stand out wine for me is the Roero Riserva “Braja” ’08 which proves there is quality Nebbiolo outside the zone. 2 years in barrique, 1 year in stainless steel and a classic. I bought the ’08 last time and now I have the 2009. Incidently both years awarded 3 bicchiere in Gambero Rosso.