This weekend was not spent on the highways and byways of the Rhine or the grand boulevards of gay Paris nor even the Polish enclaves of South West London. This weekend was one of glorious duty with mama and papa Newtonelli, tying up the loose ends of my life in Venezia/Perugia/Roma in preperation for my imminent move to the glamorous beating heart of the wine world, Wimbledon (ok ok Earlsfield, but where's the illiteration in that?). In between the comune, post office and bank runs I made time to drink a boat load of vino and visit the Antonelli San Marco vineyards for a swift tasting sesh.
A beautiful place it is too. You can't really miss it. On the road into Montefalco both sides of the road are dominated for some distance by the vineyards of Antonelli San Marco. One of the largest (possible the, anyone know?) producers in Montefalco, Antonelli are set up for visitors, marking out all their vineyards with the wine for which the grapes make. Oooooh big deal? Believe me, in Italy it really is.
Part of the Strada Sagrantino and close to Paolo Bea this vineyard is worth a visit. I partook in a tasting of 6 of their wines, 4 reds, 2 whites and on this particular day wasn't all that impressed with the reds, excluding the 2004 Sagrantino Passito which is very close to pure raisin juice. I was pleasantly surprised in the quality of the whites especially at the price points. The basic 07 Grechetto was extremely aromatic and easy drinking and at €5 a bargain. The real star was the 100% Grechetto Vigna Tondo, aromatic and with some structure and complexity, for €9 it is something I recommend you seek out.
After my slightly disappointing visit we headed into Montefalco town to get some better Sagrantino at the wine restaurants that mark the main street to the central square of the town. If you are planning to visit Italy on a wine tour probably you are looking to the Piedmont, Veneto or Tuscany but if you've been there and done that, I strongly recommend a trip to Montefalco. The Sagrantino wines are a bit culty, tannic and could be termed inaccessible if you are new to wine but if you are looking for a true taste of Italy, a local grape accompanied by some great restaurants and typical Italian country views then a trip to Montefalco will be very rewarding. If, like me, you have to take a 6 hour train journey to get there, standing on the Intercity, 3 deep, next to the spacious cabins in 40°c heat while the panini trolley runs over your toes, it's a little less rewarding.
In between all this fun I squeezed in 3 bottles of wine to review for y'all here. The Ceretto Barbara d'Alba 2005, the George DuBoeuf Beajoulais Villages 2006 and the Chateau des Tours Cote du Rhone Reserve 2004. Tut Tut, I know, more French wines, but if you saw a bottle of Beaujolais in a small supermarket in Perugia you would also make a grab for it. It called out to me. Plus, there has been a huge spat on Ebob about whether GdB is a hero or villain in Beaujolais, I vote hero. I wanted to see if the 2006 Bojo Villages would change my mind, even if this is a long way from the top bottling! Plus, I'm going through a Bojo phase!
Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais Villages 2006 - BUY - €8
Light purple in the glass, good clarity. A pretty and powerful nose, floral and raspberry notes dominate, a little faux sugar. Mid bodied on the palate, some cherry and violet flavours. Simple and easy to drink. 85 Points
Ceretto Barbera d'Alba 2005 - PASS - €13
Dark purple in the glass quickly giving up notes of vanilla and dark fruits. Nice mineral flavours on the palate, good balance and a strong, long fruity finish. Pleasant, not stunning. In fact, for such a great name as Ceretto, a touch disappointing. 86 Points
Chateau des Tours Cote du Rhone Reserve 2004 - BUY - €20
Garnet red in the glass with faint orange hues this wine was very aromatic and I feel I opened it at the peak of it's evolution. Pretty nose of strawberries and coffee. An opulent and pleasant mouth feel, mid bodied wine but with a snappy finish. 90 Points
I don't strongly recommend any of these wines so wont produce any consumer advice on them.
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I'm sure most of you reading this have tried a GdB Beaujolais of some kind from Moulin-à-Vent to Nouveau. Do you love your Beaujolais? Or would you turn to Valpolicella as a replacement?