Wine region / Country
Casella Friuli Colli Orientali Tazzelenghe 2015 (2 bottles)
Tenuta Bellafonte Sagrantino Collenottolo 2013 (2 bottles)
I Borboni Asprinio di Aversa Vite Maritata 2018 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: 130.91 €
Club Discount Price: 115.00 €
You save: 15.91 € (12.15%)
How important is terroir in all this? Very. Volcanic or mountain soils naturally enhance the hardness of the wine, also because of the extreme climates that buckle little under the sirens of softness. But the vine plays an even more decisive role. We can safely say that the greatest autochthonous Italian vines offer wines naturally prone to hardness. Tannic, subtle, fresh reds. Vertical whites, sharp, sometimes citrine, extremely mineral. A lot of hardness that for too long international wine-lovers have turned up their nose at it. But now, in an era that seeks sumptuous but direct and vertical wines, they receive unanimous appreciation.
This is the history of Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Garganega, Verdicchio and many other grapes that today we consider the expressive peak of Italian wine. Grapes that we Italians, more than a hundred years ago, were reluctant to vinify in single-variety because they produced wines that were too harsh for domestic consumption then prevalent and, above all, were, peasant-like. But when, thanks to the modernisation of winemaking techniques, we were able to wait for these wines and ennoble them with long ageing, pearls such as Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino were born, maximum expressions of single-variety Nebbiolo and Sangiovese.
Does the story end here? Of course not. If the Italian autochthonous grapes almost all start with that certain amount of hardness and rusticity, this cannot be just the story of Nebbiolo. And in fact the history of Nebbiolo, in Italy, repeats itself every day. The country with the highest heritage of native grapes continually discovers pearls which produce great wines. Pearls which express themselves with difficulty. Acid and tannic, sometimes almost extinct. Which, well vinified, as Cavour in Piedmont and Biondi-Santi in Montalcino foresaw in the nineteenth century, outline the future of the DNA of Italian wine excellence.
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Red. Casella Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy Tazzelenghe
Bottle: 15.65 € club members / 17.90 € non-members
Three and a half hectares of vines with vineyards with an average age of forty years, managed completely eco-sustainably, are the calling card of this family business. As is, also, the link with the native vines, especially red. Among these, the Tazzelenghe certainly stands out, which owes its name to a dialectal expression that means "tongue cutter".
A relative of Refosco, Tazzelenghe is in fact characterised by a particularly rough and sharp tannin, which has long discouraged its vinification with a single-variety vine. Today, after risking dying off, it is again vinified by producers, such as Casella, who are innovative but tied to traditions. It is harvested at full maturity, sometimes slightly overripe (in the third week of September, in this case), and it is aged for a long time in wood. In this way, its angularity is rounded off and its quality and depth strengthened.
Intense ruby red with violet reflections, on this nose this Tazzelenghe is characterised by notes of marasca cherry and red fruits, while the secondary hints of leather and light roasting confirm the decisive and already evolved character of the wine. After two years of barrique and a year in the bottle, the palate expresses an interesting combination of tannins, fruity notes of cherry and blueberries, and freshness. The tannins are sustained and characteristic, and accompany a very long, vigorous, sylvan persistence. It is typically paired with grilled dishes and traditional second courses from Friuli such as duck fillet, brovada and musetto, as well as, of course, aged cheeses.
Stufato / filetto in crosta / anatra stufata / cured cheeses
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Red. Tenuta Bellafonte Montefalco Sagrantino, Italy Sagrantino
Bottle: 30.81 € club members / 35.00 € non-members
The principle that governs the Bellafonte project is clear: to produce a Sagrantino as subtle and elegant as possible, harmonious and complex, enhancing its longevity without giving up its distinctive features, that is, strength and tannins. In short, a Sagrantino which is modern, pop, with excellent drinkability. Judging by the results and the awards, Peter hit it out of the ballpark.
The cellar is a gem of modernity and technology. Moreover, in Bellafonte you can breathe the perfect combination of eco-sustainability, and therefore tradition, and technological innovation. In addition, the project makes use of the oenological collaboration of personalities of the calibre of Beppe Caviola and Luca Franchetti. Located, like the vineyards, at about 300 metres above sea level, the cellar, which is heated and controlled in a completely natural way, is populated by large Slavonian oak barrels where the wines rest without undergoing filtration.
The star of the Bellafonte project is the Sagrantino Collenottolo. From spontaneous fermentation, this great Umbrian red stays three years in large barrels and at least one year in the bottle before being marketed. This successful example of a Sagrantino conceived "by subtraction rather than addition", therefore oriented towards elegance rather than tannic structure, it expresses a beautiful intense and intriguing ruby colour. The bouquet reveals refined aromas of iris and lavender, blueberry and raspberry jam, sweet spices and aromatic herbs. Great balance on the palate: despite the remarkable and characteristic tannic structure, the palate is satisfied with the fruit and delicate toasted notes.
Cosciotto di vitello / pasta with bolognese sauce / tacchino ripieno / manzo alle erbe
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White. I Borboni Aversa, Italy Asprinio
Bottle: 11.04 € club members / 12.55 € non-members
The cellar, in the historic center of Lusciano, respects all the canons of the local tradition. Starting with winemaking in grottes, another typical feature of Asprinio. Asprinio means "sour". And in fact this grape has a natural acidity which makes it exceptional not only in the long term, in aging, but also as a spumante base. But the hardness of Asprinio is not only due to the grape variety. It also has to do with the terroir. Which is sandy and almost entirely volcanic. And, moreover, growing has something to do with it, because the distance between the root and the bunch found in the vines clinging to the trees forces the grapes to mature, so to speak, which is always partial, green, vegetable. And therefore tense, vertical, sharp wines. Of extraordinary territorial drinking.
It should therefore come as no surprise that the harvest of the Vine Maritata, the entry level Asprinio of Casa Numeroso, usually takes place in late September or early October, therefore late. The result is a wine with a beautiful straw yellow colour but with a splendid greenish reflection that anticipates its perky and cheeky character. The bouquet opens up, thin and sharp, with a delicate aroma of citrus fruits, flowers, gooseberries, Mediterranean scrub and orange peel. Aged for about six months in steel on its lees, it represents the quintessence of this grape. On the palate, in fact, it is medium-bodied, brackish, fresh and balanced. It’s excellent paired with buffalo mozzarella.
Mozzarella di Bufala / antipasti / crudo di gamberi rossi
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