A Green Treat of Verdicchio

It’s been a busy time in recent weeks. Still working from home, into Week 20 now, and it seems a long time ago that I was last in the office, back on March 16th. Since then, its been like living in a live action reworking of Groundhog Day. On the plus side, I’m loving the commute, which now takes 20 seconds, instead of 40 minutes. With the economy starting to return to existence, I won’t say normal yet, this has had be working long hours to get as much done to get things going as I can, in my own small way – Taking up a lot more time than the first month or so of our original Lockdown.

But I have been able to enjoy my wine collection, and this last weekend I opened up a bottle I have been eyeing up for a while, just waiting for the right moment, and right food to go with it. The wine in question being the 2017 Fattoria Coroncino Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Il Bacco from the Wine Club, and as the picture shows, with a picada of Italian meats (OK, there was some Spanish Serrano in there as well as Parma), and cheeses closer to home, with some decoration of tomatoes and cucumber, and a dash of pickle, the Verdicchio came out.

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The wine is from Marche in Ancona, and is a DOC wine. Under the DOC regulations, 85% of the wine must be Verdicchio, with allowable blending of Trebbiano and Malvasia to smooth out the final product. Unfortunately the web site of the producer is in Italian, and a little out of date, so I cannot be clear what, if any, addition was made in the 2017.

Nicely chilled, and subject to my 20/20 rule, the pour enlisted a yellow colour, with maybe a hint of green around the edges,,,,,,,, Now, my Italian isn’t proficient (OK, non-existant!), but I think that Verdicchio gets part of it name from Verde, which means Green, so maybe I was on the right track.

I was somewhat surprised by the strong nose, as my thoughts of this grape do not recall strong aromas, but there were clear floral, elderflower twitches on my nostrils. On the palate, the citrus fruit flavours came through, lemon, grapefruit, and quite strident acidity, puckering up the lips, but with the fruit balancing out, leaving a fresh, vibrant aftertaste. I had read somewhere in my studies that Almonds were a distinguishing feature of this grape, and maybe there was a hint of the nut left on the tongue, but I wouldn’t say I would have picked that out from the citrus flavours if I hadn’t remembered something from my old books.

Certainly an excellent wine, and yet another great example of the Wine Club Experience. In my constant quest to expand my knowledge, the delivery of the unknown from the Clubs helps to increase the range of flavours, and varietals to experience. Wines I may not find locally here in Ireland, or wines that even if they are on the shelves, I may not have reached for.

The wine went perfectly with the picada, and I would highly recommend picking this up again, if I could.

A Weekend of Wine

A Holiday Weekend here in Ireland, and three bottles opened and consumed over the period. An Italian sandwiched between two from Spain, with varying degrees of success.

Neleman Nucli Blanco 2019 – Valencia DO

First up on Friday was this blend of Macabeo and Sauvignon Blanc from Derrick Neleman from Godella in the Valencia DO. A fully organic, vegan friendly wine, where the grapes are grown around 600 masl, with the cooler nights and warm days leading to a long ripening season, before seeing the inside of stainless steel tanks and three months on the lees.

The colour of the wine is straw yellow, and the nose shows significant features of Sauvignon Blanc, or at least Southern Hemisphere SB, with tropical fruit, hints of melon and grapefruit being dominant. I am not aware of the mix in the blend, but clearly Sauvignon is dominant, as the nose did not resemble White Rioja, where the Macabeo is known as Viura, far more stringent.

The first taste was puckering, as the acid bit into my palate, before mellowing somewhat and the fruits developed in the mouth. Citrus fruits, the tropical melon and pear where there, and a hint of newly cut grass was hanging around the nose as I drank. The finish was medium in length, with a 12.5% alcohol level not leaving too much to savour.

All in all, whilst I wouldn’t rank this above a Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume from the Loire Valley, it compares with New Zealand SB’s, and if you enjoy those old favourites from Marlborough, such as Cloudy Bay or Greywacke, this might appeal. Nothing outstanding in my book, but with the right, light seafood, on a summers day, this would be very pleasureable.

2015 La Palazzola Umbria Rubino

Saturday night swung around, and we were having a second helping of the Venison in Red Wine that I had made earlier in the week, while clearly cooking enough to emulate Feeding the 5,000! As this was a very rich dish, it was time to open up a strident Italian, a hearty Bordeaux Blend from Umbria. With 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot I knew I was in for a kicking of Tannins. This Umbrian Rosso comes in under the IGT , rather than the DO, given its International Grape make-up, but don’t be deceived that quality suffers classified as such, far from it.

The nose was full of fruit. Plums, black cherry, blackberries, they were all there, and not overpowered by the vanilla and tobacco from the 12 months ageing in barriques that this wine undertakes. My first thoughts were that this may have been uncorked a little early in its life, being a 2015, and I know that this wine will appreciate over time, bringing out more secondary and tertiary aromas as it develops, but that doesn’t take away from the excellent aromas coming my way. I should point out that I did indeed decant for an hour before serving, and it was clearly nicely opened up when I tasted.

On the palate, the tannins were not as strident as I had expected, with a medium level of acidity balancing out the tannic qualities, and allowing the flavours to be the key factors as I explored. Dark fruit was in abundance, those plums, black cherries, blackcurrants, all to the fore. There were spices trying to get out, some pepper, black rather than white, with a fiery element, not really from the alcohol, which only came in at 13.5%, and hints of an earthiness, those tertiary notes, which will no doubt come to the fore in the future as the wine extends. There was certainly a good length to the finish, and the wine worked wonders with the remains of the Venison, another perfect paring of game and wine.

This wine came from my Italian Wine Club at Rimessa Roscioli in Roma, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pick more of this up, maybe putting some away for some time to see how, and if, it would appreciate with age. While on the subject of Rimessa Roscioli, they have just set up a wonderful new, (free), Wine Community, consisting of Videos, Fora, Classes, and an open Community of like minded wine fans, focusing on Italian Wines, obviously, but a wealth of information, really worth checking out – Here’s the link.

2017 Guerinda El Maximo Crianza

Last, but not least of the Trio over the weekend, saw me heading back to Spain, and a trip to the Guerinda Mountains in Navarra, and to Bodegas Maximo Abete and the wine names after Maximo, the founder of the winery, The Maximum! A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and of course, Garnacha (Grenache), sourced by my “other” Wine Club here in Ireland, Wines Direct, who also supplied the Nucli Blanco. The vines grow on the very steep hillsides of the Guerinda Mountains, at an elevation of 700 masl in Vallervitos.

Maximo passed away a few years ago, but his two daughters, Yoanna and Maria Abete, along with Yoanna’s husband Juanma Lerga, are continuing the legacy created by their father, and this wine certainly does justice to the founder. A deep, black lagoon of wine cascaded into the first glass I poured, the Cabernet and Merlot hiding the more subtle shades of the Garnacha, and on the nose, dark fruit was prevalent, with a peppery spice element, plummy and hints of violets.

However, on the palate, the Granache came back to the fore. While it may have lost the battle on the colour front, it won the taste test, pushing the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot back behind it, and bring its juicy fruits, raspberries and cranberries to the front, while allowing the blackberries to linger a while, passing through. The high alcohol content of 14.5% (hard to find Garnacha much lower), gave that warmth as the juice slipped down the throat, and with a medium acidity level and the low tannins dominant from the Garnacha, there was a hint of almost sweetness in the aftertaste.

Certainly the last wine of the weekend didn’t disappoint. We paired it with Turkey Meatballs in a peppery sauce, over gnocchi, and in truth, this wine would have gone well with the Venison on Saturday night, but it worked perfectly with the Meatballs, and again, a wine would I would be happy to add more off to the cellar. Perhaps more an everyday wine, rather than one to lay away a while like the Rubino, but certainly comparable, and worthy of the table.

Conclusion:

A good weekend at home, still under relative lockdown thanks to Covid19, although we can get out and about locally, shopping, exercise etc. One of the positive sides of being confined to quarters, so to speak, is the ability to try out new wines, and new recipes to match. The three wines we had over the weekend were perfect examples of this, and I would recommend all three.