Category Archives: Piedmont

Mergozzesi 2011 Barolo DOCG

100% Nebbiolo; 14% ABV; Piedmont, Italy
Imported by 8Vini
$12.99 at the San Diego (Downtown), CA store on 3 June

Mergozzesi Barolo 2011Curiosity got the better of me since I rarely drink Barolo and I missed out on the sub-$10 Barolo last year. I had to try this out after seeing it on a recent trip to the Bay Area where I couldn’t carry anything back so I sought it out while stocking up in San Diego (Downtown, though Pt. Loma has it).

Popped and poured through a Vinturi. Though very closed, the nose showed dark red cherry, licorice, and anise. At first taste, like many Barolos, it was clear that this wine required time to open up, and its inherent dryness and chewy tannins took over most flavors completely (not necessarily surprising from what I little I know of the varietal). I don’t drink a lot of (enough) red Italian varietals, but I did not expect any hidden deal of a Barolo from this bottle nor are you going to get it. 8Vini’s website describes its “great elegance, harmony and balance,” none of which was available at any time I tasted the wine. I would think this is almost what Barolo would taste like from the barrel or on the very, very young side and only one made from inferior fruit at that.

On Days 2 and 3, the berry flavors were more pronounced in the nose with riper fruit up front and on the mid palate and the wine had softened a touch. However, this is still a tannic, dry, fairly disjointed wine with off, vinegar-like flavors, thin mouthfeel and tannins (rather than flavor) dominating the finish. It just never came together regardless of its varietal or price point.

8Vini’s page is here:

There is also a 2009 Barbaresco from the same Producer that I skipped out on but was sold out, for what that is worth.


Bosio 2014 Barbera D’Asti

Barbera D’Asti DOCG, Piedmont, Italy; 13% ABV
(pretty sure it was) $6 at the Richmond, CA, store

Bosio_2014_BarbaraDAstiThis wine’s back label touts “rich plum and blackberry flavors,” and  I agree with this description.  However, except for a slight liqueur character, I don’t have much else to add.  Although the fruit is somewhat rich and quite ripe for an Italian Barbera, it’s a fairly simple wine although pleasant enough.  The acid is perhaps less than typical of Italian wines, and not showing much of the usually more tart Barbera acid.  After being decanted about 2 hours, the wine lightens to a ripe red cherry, with a little more complexity of wood, but it is still not especially interesting.

I liked the second half (stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air) better.  The plum and blackberry flavors are nicely integrated with the cherry, with a smoothly polished, mild liqueur character, and a little woody / almondy bitterness.  The acid is still less than usual for Barbera, but not bad.  Overall, this is a quite enjoyable wine for the price.

Castello del Poggio non-vintage Riesling

Provincia del Pavia IGT, Lombardy close to Piedmont, Italy; 10.5% ABV
imported by Zonin USA
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 22 March

CastelloDelPoggio_NV_RieslingI recalled previously liking another white from Provincia de Pavia, northern Italy, so I was quite interested in this wine, since I think of Riesling generally doing better at more northern climes.  This wine has some of the delicate yellow fruit I associate with Piemontese whites, and while not quite what I was expecting, on the second day I thought it was really very good.

In the first couple pours, I thought this wine showed similar, slightly floral delicateness in the fruit as the previous Piemontese whites I’ve tasted, but without enough acid to balance the wine’s sweetness.  After a bit of air, the wine shows rich yellow apple with maybe some ripe pineapple, with slight acid of green apple and pineapple, and perhaps a slight oxidized character.  Although I thought the Waugh Riesling had good fruit / acid balance, a couple regualars thought there wasn’t enough acid.  In this wine, I thought there wasn’t enough acid to balance the fruit and sweetness.  However…  Seedboy, who usually loves tart wine, wrote, “The Castello del Poggio Riesling, Provincia di Pavia, Piemonte, is delicious. Dry, minerally, balanced, no petrol. I am buying some more.”  When I queried him, he replied, “I don’t even think it is sweet. It is fruity.”  That was not my perception at all, but maybe, in a possible Grocery Outlet situation, multiple incarnations of this non-vintage wine are being sold at once?

Trying it again the next day, I still think the wine is a little sweet, but the fruit / acid balance seems better and, wow, is it delicious.  The flavors have integrated into a very elegant wine.  This wine, although with a more aged character, is really lovely.

ottoVini 2013 Rosso

Piemonte, Italy; 13.5% ABV
68% Dolcetto, 8% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon,  6% Barbera, 4% Freisa, 4% Bonarda, 1% Albarossa, 1% Syrah
From Dezzani and imported by 8Vini
$7 at the Point Loma (San Diego) store on 10/1/15

ottoVini_Rosso_PiemonteDOCPopped and poured through a Vinturi and tasted right after being poured into a decanter, this wine opens on the tight side but with some nice, smooth ripe fruit (definitely the Dolcetto) and acid coming through. It was very closed on opening and certainly needed some time for its flavors to emerge.

Returning to it 30 minutes in, the wine began to open up pretty nicely revealing a pleasant underlying, if soft, tone of the Dolcetto with a touch of that ripeness I associate with Rossos, which I don’t tend to hold in that high of regard having just finished a two week trip in Italy. I find them on the simpler end of the spectrum but it seems that they are certainly created (and priced) for every day drinking. To that end, I would say this is a pretty successful little bottle. The wine really showed best about 2 hours in when some of the alcohol blew off. I’m very sensitive to heat and it really came together well for me then.

What complexity the wine lacks is made up for by a pretty nice overall balance of sweet (but not saccharin) fruit, the smooth mouthfeel that I associate with Rossos, soft tannins and a touch of acidity to bring things all together. I found this best on day one since the only other day I opened it (to finish) was on Day 3 (after being stoppered in the original bottle). Tasting it now, it has come apart mostly and could potentially be mistaken for any California designated (likely Central Valley) red wine, so don’t wait as long as I did. Even now, however, there is something very much Italian about it. I think it is in the finish with the tannins holding on as the wine fades even as it has sat untouched for 2 days.

If you’re unfamiliar with Italian reds or have someone to enjoy the wine with who might, say, normally find themselves attracted to middle of the road softer, sweeter Merlots, I would recommend this bottle. It sits well with me for what it is, a relatively simple, transparent wine that is enjoyable without any major flaws. Drinkable.

After some sleuthing, I found a fact sheet here for what is essentially the same wine:


Risorgimento non-vintage Brachetto D’Acqui

Brachetto D’Acqui DOCG, Piedmont, Italy; 7% ABV
$8 at the Richmond, CA, store on 10 Aug

BrachettoDAcqiI had been curious about this wine since looking up the Brachetto grape, described as a lighter, aromatic red.  This wine fits that description.  The fruity and floral nose is immediately noticeable, with much more of the same on the palate: sweet red cherry / strawberry with a very slightly bitter edge, and fragrant red / pink roses, as though it contained rose water, maybe a little geranium flower.  The carbonation is moderate and the sweetness is definitely there but not overpowering.  I had guessed a sweet red would be good with Indian take-out, but the food actually overpowered the wine.  It’s probably better paired with something like a lighter ham.  I quite enjoyed the novelty of a sweet, rose-tasting red, but it struck me as an otherwise fairly simple wine, so I’ll go with Drinkable.

The label was awkward to photograph.  The “Brachetto d’Acqui” was in shiny red, while the background label was in matte black.  The photo I wound up using was at oblique angle to the light, using reflected light from nearby, and still it’s not great.  I hope it’s good enough to recognize the bottle if you’re interested in the wine.

Lodali 2011 Dolcetto D’Alba “Sant’ Ambrogio”

Dolcetto D’Alba DOC, northwestern Italy; 13.5% ABV
imported by Global Wine Co., San Rafael, CA
$5 at the Oakland, CA, store on 7 July

Lodali_2011_DolcettoDAlbaWeinish commented a while ago that I needed to “spend a weekend with this wine.”  I finally got around to this wine and there’s no weekend needed, IMO, just a while in a decanter.  After decanting it off some fine sediment, I thought it seemed promising, and not bad to drink, from first pour.  It showed nice fruit (ripe and tart) of red / lighter purple plum, medium red roses, maybe a little strawberry.  It slowly improved until it was fully aired after about 2.5 hours, when it showed ripe, liqueur-like fruit of black cherry, purple plum, a little cherry pit and dark aromatic spice, and a hint of vanilla.  From my limited experience with Dolcetto, I had thought of it as a full-fruited but coarse and acid wine, making a red that’s solid and serviceable, but not very exciting.  Pleasantly confounding my expectations, I found this wine really delicious.

The next day, the second half (stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air) was more rough and acid, never coming together the way the first half did.  So, I guess I’d highly recommend this wine if you’ll finish it in one evening (or morning, I guess 🙂 ), but not if you would drink it over more than one day.

Elio Filippino 2011 Gavi

Gavi DOCG, made from the Cortese grape in Nieve, Piemonte, Italy; 12.5% ABV
imported by Global Wine Co., San Rafael, CA
$3 at the Oakland, CA, store on 7 July.  (I had thought the price on the box was $5 or $6, but my receipt unambiguously said “Filippino Gavi   $3.”)

IMG_1620About this wine, Seedboy wrote, “I thought the Gavi that I opened last night was drinkable but not better than that. Nicely balanced, just seemed to be lacking the flavors I expect from Cortese.”  Weinish replied, “I felt the same, hence why I didn’t take any home. I so wanted it to be good.”  Well, my only thought is that my bottle must have been completely different, because it is delicious!

On the first night, I thought this wine was at first a little rough, especially on the finish.  However, after it had been open for a few hours (left stopped with the cork in the fridge), and especially a little warmer than fridge temperature, it smoothed out wonderfully.  It is intensely flavored of ripe yellow apple with a somewhat tropical fruit character, ripe lemon and a hint of lime, fairly full-bodied for a white, with a smooth yellow / white melony finish, and gently supporting oak.  Maybe I’m not critical enough since I don’t know Cortese from Chardonnay, but I think this is an amazing bargain.  Indeed, I thought it was surprisingly close to California Chardonnay, which may well be a flaw for those more familiar with the grape and region.

The next evening, this wine is as delicious, if not more so, than it was on the first.

Two Moscatos D’Asti

piccole gioie 2011 Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Italy
Azienda Agricola Anna Ghione; 5.5% ABV
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 4 May

PiccoleGioie_2011_MoscatoDAstiThis wine is quite yummy, with yellow flowers, ripe yellow apple and pear, strongly Muscat-perfumed, with gentle carbonation.  However, it is perhaps a little too sweet and heavy.  We drank these with spicy Indian take-out, and I preferred this wine with it.






Ruffino 2012 Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Italy; 6% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 4 May

Ruffino_2012_MoscatoDAstiMildly sweet light yellow pear and some of the Muscat perfumed flowers, I found this wine relatively bland compared to the 2011 Ghione above, and compared to the spicy Indian food.  OTOH, on of our guests preferred this wine as less sweet and more balanced.  I also thought this wine was less carbonated.  Tasting some the next day on its own, I thought this tasted just fine, although still not especially exciting.

Risorgimento 2013 Barbera D’Asti

Barbera D’Asti DOCG, Piedmont, Italy; 13% ABV
$10 at the Oakland, CA, store on 13 Jan

IMG_1378Lim13 and I liked the Risorgimento 2010 Barbaresco reasonably well, and this was a Barbera d’Asti, a designation I’ve liked a lot before, so I went for this bottle despite the higher price for the GO.  Seedboy wrote that this wine “tastes sweet and simple to me.”  I don’t completely agree, but I’m not super thrilled with it, either.

I thought the wine needed two hours in a decanter to get past the “sweet and simple” aspect.  Then, it showed medium-bodied tangy, ripe / tart fruit of purple cherry / maybe plum, red cherry, and cherry pit / wood, in a nicely delineated taste.  It was reasonably tasty, but never all that complex or substantial.  I would price this at about $12 at a good wine store, making it a bit overpriced for the GO.

The next day, the saved single-glass screw cap bottle was much the same.

Risorgimento 2010 Barbaresco

Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont, (northwest) Italy; 14% ABV
$12 at the Oakland, CA, store on 7 Nov

Risorgimento_2010_BarbarescoThe 2010 and 2011 Risorgimento Barbarescos have been around for a good while now, and I believe Seedboy recommended the 2010.  (Robert Parker’s vintage chart, linked to in the right margin, gives 2010 a “95T” and 2011 a “90T,” where “T” is for “tannic, youthful, or slow to mature.”)  I finally picked one up during the recent sale.  It struck me as a bit young, but quite tasty once it finally aired.

I opened this on Thanksgiving, thinking to substitute this lighter-bodied, aromatic red (made from the Nebbiolo grape) for the more traditional lighter-bodied, aromatic, Pinot Noir.  It didn’t work because, even after sitting in a decanter for about four hours, the wine had not really opened.  I put the rest, about 40% of it, back in the bottle and put the cork back in.

The next day, that remainder still had not opened.  I poured it back into a decanter and tried it a few hours later.  It had finally opened and was really quite good!  It showed delicious flavors of ripe, dark red cherries, tangy tart cherries, leather, earth, a little orange, all nicely integrated and elegant.  If I were going to open another soon, I’d probably put it in a covered decanter for a day, and then open the decanter a few hours before drinking it.  However, I’d most likely instead put it in cool storage for at least a few years.

Egads!  Lim13 has already reviewed this wine here.