April 2021 The Dozen

The Dozen – Tour d’Italia

As with shopping in a flea market, Italy is a landscape of wine discoveries.

How many times can we say or think that the diversity of Italian wines is like that of no other country – and yet never tire of the idea? Perusing Italian wines is like walking through a flea market where much of what we see is comforting and familiar, and then we come across something surprising and different.

We begin our brief Tour d’Italia in the hills north of Napoli, climb up to the sub-Alpine regions above Venice and then finish our visit by lingering in Tuscany.

2019 Mustilli Falanghina del Sannio ($14). Fresh and fruity, but the emphasis is on a whey- or cheese-like minerality that makes it more of a food wine than the “Vigneta Segreta” (next), which is a prettier pour.

2018 Mustilli “Vigna Segreta” Falanghina del Sannio ($34). Delightful – full, rich, floral apple and light-cherry flavors, all well-balanced. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of this grape, Falanghina, in the near future.

NV Ca’ di Prata Prosecco Brut ($16). More candied fruit than floral, with a hint of ginger, good mouth feel, firm finish.

NV Ca’ di Prata Valdobbiadene Prosecco Extra Dry ($18). Lots of bubble intensity, very floral, hints of honeycomb and cherry blossoms.

2019 Ca’ di Prata Prosecco Extra Dry Rosé ($17). Lots of juicy flavors of strawberries and grapefruit, but very crisp and very satisfying.

2016 De Vinosalvo “Auspicium” Montecucco Rosso ($9).  Tart raspberry and blackberry flavors, rich fruitiness, savory, slightly herbaceous – mainly a with-food wine.

2017 Basile “Cartacarda” Montecucco Sangiovese ($14). Tart black-cherry fruitiness with a lot of finishing acidity and a touch of smokiness.

208 Mustilli “Artus” Piedirosso Sannio ($34). Lean and crisp with red fruits and light bitters at the finish – a good wine to balance rich dishes.

2017 Mustilli “Cesco di Nece” Aglianico Sannio ($34). Tart but rich, fruity flavors of dark raspberries with some earthiness and a crisp finish.

2017 Arceno “Strada al Sasso” Chianti Classico Gran Selezione ($42).  A delicious Chianti that manages to have both the dusty, tannic, earthy characteristics of Sangiovese while also presenting a ripe fruitiness and a great mouth feel. I would decant this for a couple of hours before drinking.

2015 Arceno “Valadorna” Toscana IGT ($61). A friend and I tasted this together, and both of us said we would have guessed in a blind tasting that it was a top-growth Bordeaux, with its barrel treatment, blackberry flavors, and a finishing dollop of cream. And it is an all-Bordeaux blend, led by a preponderance of Merlot. Note, too, that with this and the other two Arceno wines, Pierre Seillan, who oversees the estate, likes to hold the release of his reds for a few years until they are at least beginning to mature. (Tenuta di Arceno is one of the prize estates owned by Jackson Family Wines of Sonoma.)

2015 Arceno “Arcanum” Toscana IGT ($82). A very good, almost chewy wine, but still very lively on the palate with some perfumed notes, some wood accents and great tannins.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

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