Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Allegrini, La Grola, 2008

A stunning relative of Amarone.

The colour is a dark ruby, impenetrable. The wine needs to breath and breath and breath, much more than I allowed it to. As a result, the nose took ages to develop the wonderful jammy black fruits and plum, together with the oaky notes, a touch of leather, the marvellous hint of dark chocolate and perhaps some cloves too. Overall, nose is (moderate to) intense, fine and complex. It has a powerful, spicy character. In the mouth there is an initial sweetness of dark and jammy red fruits, always supported by a consistent acidity, which doesn't come later but is actually parallel to the fruity notes, following them all along the tasting. At the end the taste make a smooth turn. It is a strange, astonishing effects. The sweet and fresh fruitiness of the beginning slowly fades. There is a moment in which the acidity dominates. Then the tannin steps in, carpeting all the back palate with a soft and elegant astringency, which smoothly mingles with the acidity, producing a succulent after-taste. It is at this point that a bitter, dark chocolaty flavours steps in, reproducing the exact sensation that a bite of proper 80% fondente can produce. The impressive thing is that everything is still there: the freshness of the fruit, though much more subtle, still pops in. Their sweetness too, still lingers in, in dialectic engagement with the chocolaty bitterness. The acidity is always there too, proverbial scaffolding of the whole experience.

This is a wonderful wine, certainly not cheap but reasonably priced (18£), which reproduces some of Amarone’s sensations without however being a mere low-key imitation of the more famous (and pricey) relative, but rather showing its real character, as an original member of the corvina family (80% Corvina and 20% Syrah). The wine can age and age. Cannot even imagine how Allegrini's Amarone could be. 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cline Syrah 2005, California

An extremely rich wine, in a very woody style.

The colour is ruby with garnet hints. Nose is extremely intense, almost overwhelming with the spices (coffee, tobacco and vanilla, but also anise, balsamic and laurel) almost aggressive. Then after a while on the glass the fruit comes in, cherry jam and almost-dried plum. There is a complexity which however doesn't lead to finesse (too much spices perhaps, covering the fruits). In the end almost caramel emerging. Overall the nose is extremely interesting if a bit too warm, perhaps anticipating a lack of acidity. Mouth is extremely warm and smooth, almost too soft. Chocolate and berry jam. There is nonetheless a certain freshness which avoid the wine becoming disturbingly jammy. Tannins are very smooth, almost too much, and sapidity is lacking. It is a moderately balanced, moderately fine wine overall, whose main drawbacks are the lack of sapidity and the not impressive length. Still, it has a surprising freshness and the nose, if not completely balanced, is nonetheless very interesting and quite addictive. If I were to give it a vote, I would say 83.