February 2017 Selection

Generic denominations? Quite right, and proudly so

February 2017 Selection

Cantine del Notaio Aglianico L'Atto 2015 (2 bottles)
Bertani Valpolicella Classico Sup. Ognisanti 2013 (2 bottles)
Le Ragnaie Rosso di Montalcino 2014 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £85.61
Club Discount Price: £70.81
You save: £14.80 (17.28%)

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About this selection...

In Italy what are referred to as "di ricaduta" are those generic denominations to which certain wines come under when, for one reason or another, the winery making them doesn't want to or can't assign them to a local one that's more prestigious and representative. Yet these wines still reflect, in a great many instances and with all due distinction, their territory of origin.

In a lot of regions these denominations include wines which represent the most authentic wine-producing tradition in the area. This occurs, for example, in the Valpolicella denomination, which this region's historic wine has represented since long before the appearance of Amarone, and which comprises those wines made from native classic varieties undergoing simpler forms of vinification and ageing; traditional wines and ideal for everyday drinking.

In both Langhe and Montalcino, the magnificence of the Nebbiolo and Sangiovese varieties hasn't always been as we recognise it today. In times past, these varieties were produced without the long periods of ageing that wineries employ nowadays and the resultant wine was characterised by its freshness and tastiness. Given the rough character these varieties can exhibit, the coupage was often tempered by adding others of a more pleasant nature and with less body. This happens with the great, versatile wines now attached to generic denominations, such as Langhe Nebbiolo or Rosso di Montalcino, but which for centuries have constituted the backbone of Italian oenology.

The situation isn't very different in the south of the country, where a large number of less important denominations reflect the territorial identity of this area. The denominations in which the Aglianico grape can be produced, definitely the most revered variety in southern Italy, number as many as twenty. In the Basilicata IGP (the PGI - Protected Geographical Indication), for example, in principle a simple regional denomination, we can find real Italian wine treasures which reflect perfectly well the Vulture's volcanic and mineral character, delivering flavoursome wines with lively tannins, that have considerable persistence and longevity.

Denominations that might not seem very interesting, but which conceal little gems well worth discovering.

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Cantine del Notaio Aglianico L'Atto 2015 (2 bottles)

Red. Cantine del Notaio Basilicata, Italy Aglianico

Bottle: £8.27 club members / £9.30 non-members


Atto is the sort of wine you don't expect from the Aglianico del Vulture denomination. Fruit of the hard work and efforts of Cantine del Notaio in this exceptional denomination, and under the direction of Professor Luigi Moio, Atto represents the quintessence of mountain wine. A fine, clean-cut and most enjoyable red, characterised by a remarkable freshness and resolute minerality.

In its production, after rigorous and selective harvesting by hand, a short maceration follows that ensures all the Aglianico's tannin and freshness are retained in the wine. The ageing process takes place in the spectacular underground cellar, excavated into the volcanic ground. After a minimum of 12 months in used French oak barrels, Atto is released onto the market as a young and well-formed wine, that's also rich, complete and, despite its youth, possessing a finely tempered profile of the rough Aglianico.

Appearing a lovely, intense ruby colour, that denotes both its youth and its potential, Atto reveals on the nose a rich array of aromas, ranging from cherries to violets, pencil lead to spicy notes. The pleasant acidity and the smoothness of its tannins afford it an amazing persistence with hints of fresh fruit and meadow flowers.

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2022.

Cantine del Notaio L'Atto 2015
Front and back

Bertani Valpolicella Classico Sup. Ognisanti 2013 (2 bottles)

Red. Bertani Valpolicella, Italy Corvina, Rondinella

Bottle: £12.81 club members / £14.56 non-members


Can a Valpolicella excite us like an Amarone or a great Ripasso does? At Bertani, and many other wineries, they've succeeded in doing so. Ognisanti is now a paradigm of this denomination and a genuine masterpiece of the Venetian tradition. A Valpolicella of unparalleled elegance and incredible silkiness thanks to its ageing for 18 month in barrels, a quarter of them new.

Fruit of a careful selection of the best grapes of the Tenuta Novare cru, owned by Bertani since 1957, Ognisanti owes its name to an ancient chapel situated in the centre of the vineyard. The ideal southern exposure and soils rich in limestone endow the Corvina and Rondinella varieties with perfect fullness, which converts into a wine of great freshness and whose long ageing confers a longevity that can last for decades.

The harvest, occurring rather late, combined with a long, slow maceration, gives the wine its rich concentration and an elegance that becomes ever more noticeable after its maturation in barrels and ultimate refinement of 6 months in bottle. The garnet hues vouch for its perfect evolution and, on the nose, it displays notes of ripe cherries, jam, sweet spices such as cinnamon, along with eucalyptus, black pepper and leather.

It doesn't disappoint on the palate either, and we encounter a smooth wine which brings to mind the finest Amarones. A smoothness that's accompanied by an optimal freshness, magnificent and enveloping breadth, with sweet notes of dried plums, of light toasty notes and a very lengthy finish.

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

Bertani Valpolicella Classico Sup. Ognisanti 2013
Front and back

Le Ragnaie Rosso di Montalcino 2014 (2 bottles)

Red. Le Ragnaie Rosso di Montalcino, Italy Sangiovese

Bottle: £14.33 club members / £18.95 non-members


Le Ragnaie is one of the Rosso di Montalcinos that's most renowned and respected year after year by experts in the field, to such an extent that it competes with many Brunellos due to its richness and nature. In fact, the Sangiovese grapes from which Le Ragnaie is made are the same as those the winery also uses in the production of its great Brunello, always distinguished by its classic and innovative profile. The organic management of the vineyard, at an altitude of 600 metres and among Montalcino's highest, along with the large barrels of Slavonian oak in which Le Ragnaie ages for a whole year, are the decisive factors in conferring the complexity which this red exhibits.

Its ruby colour with garnet hues is a precursor to the outstanding sensations we'll encounter on the nose: violets and red fruits as well as other more evolved and complex notes of earth, undergrowth, pencil lead, tar... On the palate, its exuberance and freshness undoubtedly constitute the greatest gift given by this single varietal Sangiovese, with its perfectly integrated, rich and lively tannins, and its great elegance and excellent structure.

Berries, citrus fruits, blackberries, hummus, liquorice, balsamic notes... a very tasty wine, with balanced smoothness and spicy hints through its retronasal. Its extremely long persistence can remind us again of a Brunello, but this magnificent red has nothing to envy. A wine of excellent versatility and with great potential in the coming years.

  • Alcohol content: 14,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

Le Ragnaie Rosso di Montalcino 2014
Front and back

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