March 2019 Selection

Older native whites? Italy has them too!

March 2019 Selection

Inama Soave Classico Vigneto du Lot 2016 (2 bottles)
Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio di Jesi San Sisto 2015 (2 bottles)
Guido Marsella Fiano di Avellino 2015 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £96.63
Club Discount Price: £89.80
You save: £6.83 (7.06%)

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About this selection...

The production of aged white wines has been for many years a sore point for the Italian wine industry. For too long, the winemakers on this side of the Alps considered white grapes as not suitable for long-lasting wines, and, not infrequently, they earmarked them for products of immediate income, ignoring their inestimable territorial and ampelographic heritage.

For about thirty years now, things have changed profoundly. Manufacturers holding very broad views, from North to South, often inspired by French winemaking practices, have begun a radical change. It’s an easy operation, if we consider the Italy’s wealth, not only in terms of terroirs naturally suited to excellent aged white wines (volcanic, for example, and tufaceous, skeletal, calcareous...), but also of < strong>vines that, thanks to their intrinsic verticality and minerality, guarantee a life that easily reaches the age of twenty years.

This is not an easy task, considering the widespread prejudice, which is typically Italian, for which a white wine that has not been immediately put on the market was essentially already beyond its expiry date, but only after a year of aging in the cellar.

Garganega, Verdicchio, Fiano, Trebbiano, Vernaccia, Friulano, Grechetto are just some of the vines that for too long the Italian wine world has not valued properly, and that now, at a distance of decades after the first experiments, we are enjoying from grape harvesting in the 1990s, producing incredible sensory emotions.

The magic of these vines arises from their ability to unite great territoriality, that is, an exceptional adherence to the hardness and verticality conferred by mineral soils and by hill or mountain climates, to great depth over time, perhaps thanks to a touch of wood, malolactic fermentation or a period of time on the lees that enhances their personality without altering its character. More characteristic of international whites such as Chardonnay, indeed, these grapes are no less performing in length, expressing, even after two or three decades from the harvest, the pedoclimatic wonders of the landscape which conceived them.

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Inama Soave Classico Vigneto du Lot 2016 (2 bottles)

White. Inama Soave, Italy Garganega

Bottle: £14.42 club members / £16.27 non-members

Active from 1967, Stefano Inama's winery is enjoying great success and is currently among the most popular Soave wineries. It has a beautiful terrace vineyard on Monte Foscarino, one of the denomination's most significant crus. It also works well in the Berici Hills. The Soave vineyard, on basaltic soils of volcanic origin, is obviously dedicated to the Garganega and is grown using the traditional Veronese pergola. While on the Berici Hills, Stefano Inama gives vent to his red-wine creativity, working the Carmenère in symbiosis with those clay soils.

Of all the Soave of Inama, Vigneto du Lot stands out for its richness and character, due both to the origin of a single vineyard and to ageing in wood. The vineyard, in Monte Foscarino, the classic Soave area on which the winery’s investments are based, is exposed to the South-West; the rows for the Vigneto du Lot are populated with vines of Garganega grafted in the old ungrafted "Rupestris Du Lot" vine, which produces more concentrated grapes, naturally oriented to ageing wines.

A touch of new, well-integrated barrique elevates this Soave to a contemporary dimension that enhances its personality. The fermentation takes place in barriques, which are 30% new, and then the ageing continues on the fine lees for 6 months, during which there is frequent batonnage in the cellar. Then, after another six months in steel, Vigneto du Lot is ready for bottling.

Of a splendid golden colour, which reveals its character and potential, and of wonderful consistency, Vigneto du Lot exhibits an intense and rich bouquet, which leans towards sweet wildflowers: chamomile, elderberry, iris. The vanilla hues are well integrated and are not invasive; rather, they evolve, over the years, towards a marked outsourcing of scents. On the palate it is broad, velvety, glycerine, with ripe fruit lingering aromas and with a magnificent aftertaste of almond and vanilla.

It pairs well with numerous dishes with an intense flavour, such as scallops and crustaceans, including Asian recipes and tempura. With traditional dishes, such as linguine with shrimps, spaghetti with bottarga, bigoli with sardines or with duck, its character comes out even more. And then, of course, with vegetables: ratatouille, peperonata or aubergine parmigiana.

  • Alcohol content: 13,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 6ºC and 8ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2025.

Inama Soave Classico Vigneto du Lot 2016
Front and back

Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio di Jesi San Sisto 2015 (2 bottles)

White. Fazi Battaglia Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva, Italy Verdicchio

Bottle: £15.42 club members / £14.94 non-members

The story of Fazi Battaglia, which largely coincides with the history of the Marche wine and Verdicchio, is difficult to summarise in a few lines. Founded in 1949, Fazi Battaglia became known throughout the world for the historic amphora bottle in which he has been selling his own Verdicchio since 1953. It was not a great wine, but it contributed to spreading the brand all over the world and, above all, to a process of work of redevelopment and qualification of Marche vineyards that continues to this day.

Today, decades after the amphora, this experience and marketing have done nothing but good for the quality of the product. The particles and clones of Verdicchio have been gradually divided and vinified separately, identifying some of the most significant crus in the Castelli di Jesi area. In addition, the historic Castelplanio cellars have been completely renovated, and for the ageing of San Sisto, the Verdicchio di Jesi Riserva DOCG that best represents the best of the winery’s production, beautiful large barrels are being used.

San Sisto is, first of all, a vineyard, which, acquired in 1991, accurately embodies Fazi Battaglia’s plan and desire for a relaunch, back when no one would have imagined. Intense straw yellow in colour, with brilliant golden reflections, it expresses a magnificent buttery and fruity bouquet, with echoes of ripe fruit from plum to peach. It majestically evokes the Jesi area “sea” ​​Verdicchio, with salty puffs, of broom, orange peel and bitter almond, accompanied by a nice spiciness that recalls saffron and a slight toasted scent. The taste is round, warm, full and rich, with a wonderful sapidity that acts as a backdrop to bountiful opulence. It is long-lasting, with almond at the end. It rests for one year, partly in steel and partly in big wood barrels.

  • Alcohol content: 14,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 6ºC and 8ºC

Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio di Jesi San Sisto 2015
Front and back

Guido Marsella Fiano di Avellino 2015 (2 bottles)

White. Guido Marsella Fiano di Avellino, Italy Fiano

Bottle: £15.06 club members / £17.11 non-members

Guido Marsella was the first producer of Fiano di Avellino to market his wine after a year of aging in the cellar. The normal practice for the Irpinia producers, was to take out the wine just after the harvest, after a minimum stabilization time of the wine in steel. Marsella, with justifiable obstinacy, lays claims to being the first to do so, which has elevated him to inspire many other names that followed. And now, his Fiano comes out not after one, but two years after the harvest.

For those who have had the pleasure of knowing him, Marsella is as fiery as a bull. He reminisces with bitterness the first failures, fuelled by those people who advised him against putting an already “aged” Fiano on the market. And with satisfaction, combined with a maniacal precision in the hygiene and management of the winery, he shows visitors an incredible steel vat, which looks like a brick tower, in which he places the entire product. Why, you may ask? It is aged all together, and it arrives uniformly, either to the taster, the critic or the simple consumer, without the slightest imperfection due to resting in different containers.

The vineyards are located on the Fiano side which, for years now, is proving to be the best-performing for verticality, minerality and longevity. It is the area of ​​Summonte, at the foot of Mount Partenio, at altitudes of more than 600 metres, up to about 800. The terroir is volcanic, with rocky and clayey inserts, steep, rugged, of Vesuvius origin. A natural setting for exceptional wines.

Fiano di Marsella has a fixed acidity of about 7 g/l and a total dry residue of about 20 g/l. Impersonal figures, maybe, but they describe an incredibly vertical white wine for acidity and it is extremely structured: characteristics that, combined, not only give the product a marked personality, but also guarantee a great longevity. The Fiano di Marsella from the first harvest of the 2000s, not by chance, are unusually pleasant, an indication of the fact that they can still surprise for decades.

Delicate straw-coloured, without excesses of gold - Fiano di Marsella has an innate longevity quality, without the aid of oak - it expresses a pleasant consistency to the eye. The bouquet, even when young, expresses a citrus puff that immediately convinces and suggests its future ageing. It's a wine to wait for, as displayed not only by the aromatic fragrance of the Mediterranean scrub, but above all by its typical smoky note, which is markedly mineral and volcanic. Its verticality, which is uncompromisingly territorial, returns upon the palate. What is sensed here is an extraordinary dynamism and a sharp freshness, which however do not hide the authoritative structure of this top-notch wine.

Risotto / cooked pork products

  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 6ºC and 8ºC

Guido Marsella Fiano di Avellino 2015
Front and back

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