Brett happens

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Natural bang for the buck

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A recent tasting that featured Alsatian wines from Domaine Gérard Schueller and was led by oenopole’s Theo Diamantis (notes to follow) included a surprise flight of three affordable natural-leaning new arrivals. All are private imports and, as far as I know, are still available, though they probably won’t be for long.

IGT Sicilia 2011, Nero d’Avola, Tamì ($19.00, oenopole, 12 bottles/case)
Tamì started as a book, design and wine shop in Siracusa run by Arianna Occhipinti’s architect boyfriend. In 2009, the project introduced a line of négociant wines under its own label. Like the other Tamì wines, this 100% Nero d’Avola is made from organically farmed grapes using whole-cluster fermentation and indigenous yeasts. After six months’ maturation in stainless steel tanks, it is lightly filtered before bottling. 13% ABV.
Wafting nose of plum, boysenberry, spice, kirsch and a hint of horse. A lighter and more elegant take on Nero d’Avola than most. Dry and smooth. The fruit is brightened by just enough acidity and structured by soft, fleshy tannins, leaving an impression of richness unusual for a welterweight wine. By Arianna’s admission, the goal of the Tamì project is to make good, simple, natural everyday wines, and that’s a perfect description of this wine. Trattoria owners should be buying it by the case. (Buy again? Sure.)

VDP de la Principauté d’Orange 2010, Daumen ($17.00, oenopole, 12 bottles/case)
(For background on Jean-Paul Daumen, see the notes from the June 2012 MWG tasting he led.) A blend of organically farmed Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Grenache (35%), Syrah (15%) and Merlot (15%). Unlike most of the wines in the Daumen line, the grapes come from Daumen’s own vineyards. Partially destemmed; temperature-controlled fermentation with indigenous yeasts; extended maceration; approximately 12 months’ aging in foudres and neutral barrels; no filtering or fining; sulphur added – and then minimally – only just before bottling. 13% ABV.
Sweet fruit, hint of tobacco, turned earth, kirsch, slate. Fluid with an admirable balance between fruit, acidity and weight. The tannins are fine and linear, the structure not unlike a Bordeaux’s. Long, drying finish. Tasty and delivering great QPR. (Buy again? A no-brainer.)

Barbera d’Asti 2009, Cascina ’Tavijn ($21.80, oenopole, 12 bottles/case)
100% Barbera. Manually harvested. Spontaneous fermentation. Vinified in Slavonian oak botti. The estate sometimes lightly filters and sulphurs wines to improve their stability, though I’ve found no information about this particular bottling.
Earth, animale, plum, leather. A carbon dioxide tingle on the palate quickly dissipates. Rich fruit, tart acidity and mild tannins with a rustic/raspy edge. Cherry and slate mark the finish. A country-style Barbera that’s honest, close to the land, not overpolished and all the more appealing for it. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Lastly, a heads-up. ’Tavijn’s 2011 Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato ($24.80, oenopole, 12 bottles/case) is also available. A bottle of the 2009 opened last week at the MWG’s private import pickup party was just singing: dark purple; redolent of plum, slate and rose petal; dense yet light on its feet, with velvety tannins, soft acidity and a bitter-edged finish; pure and artless; and perfect with an excellent rabbit and hazelnut terrine from Boucherie de Paris. I’ve not tasted the 2011 but Theo says it’s every bit as good.

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Written by carswell

February 7, 2013 at 14:49

One Response

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  1. […] pulsing acidity and soft tannins that give it a velvety texture. Long, herby finish. Going by the 2009, this will be even better in a year or two. (Buy again? […]


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