Italian wine weekend

Italian Wine Weekend

This weekend I went all to town for you peeps tasting through six different Italian wines and I have some QPR bargains for ya and some bottles that would be better used as some form of torture against an opposing army. On a weekend of the worst weather I have encountered in Mestre thus far we were forced indoors with little else to do but watch Italian TV or raid through my wine collection, we chose the vino.


On Friday night the weather held long enough for me to take what will probably be my last trip to the Lupo Nero restaurant in Mestre old town. Choosing from their decent wine list we ordered up an Alsatian Riesling (corked) and a GD Vajra Barolo 2001 which was exquisite, notes to follow.

Saturday was a wash out. I had meant to go to Lake Garda and sample some Soave and Amarones, instead we made it as far as McDonalds at Mestre station before being driven home by the wild weather. This weekend I had a friend from London visiting me who is keen to learn more about wine, so for educational reasons only we took a Pinot Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and Syrah to talk about the different characteristics of the grapes. All these wines were Italian in origin apart from the Zinfandel (natch), which was Gallo and dearly appealed to my pal’s pal.

Nothing turned out how you’d expect. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots bombed, the nose of the Cabernet Franc was fruity and interesting, the Pinot from Italy was the wine of the night and my friend didn’t go for the Planeta Syrah which has novice appeal written all over it. I was provided with my worst Italian wine of 2008, became a real fan of the Barolos of Varja and this morning walked in to find 6 bottle of Poggio Argentieras finest awaiting review this week. Instead of an Italian wine hangover I am pumped and ready for the trials and tribulations of another weeks strenuous wine blogging.

GD Varja Barolo 2001BUY – €30
Garnet red in the glass with lighter hues I feel I got this bottle at a nice stage of its evolution. The nose is beautiful with sweet spices and a gentle oak couples with a profile of definite almond characteristics. Still somewhat tannic but with good structure and fine length, very opulent and enjoyable. 92 Points

Le Due Terre Pinot Nero 2005BUY – €27
Garnet red with floral notes on the nose, lots of strawberry present and a slight butter biscuit whiff on the end. Smooth, mid bodied with a gentle mouth feel and well balanced tannins. Good effort. 90 Points

Planeta Syrah 2005BUY – €18
Dark ruby red in the glass. Huge nose of prunes, a little leather and animal notes too. Huge mouth feel, very tannic but pleasantly so, fruit on the mid palate and a big finish. 89-90 Points

Paesaggi Merlot 2005PASS – €6
Garnet red with a meaty, plum-esque nose, unbalanced wine, thin, acidic, bitter and extremely hollow on the mid palate with a watery unsatisfactory finish. Abysmal – 62 Points

Angoris Cabernet Sauvignon 2006PASS – €5
Deep ruby red in the glass, wildly balsamic and vinegar like on the nose, no fruit here. Better on the palate, mid bodied with some length, still a weird experience. 76 Points

Santa Margherita Cabernet Franc 2007PASS – €5
Lovely colour, deep ruby red. The nose is vegetal but more fruit here than you’d expect plus a little fake sugar. Mid bodied with some rounded tannins and a decent balance, good length on the finish. A “just” pass for the price. Liveable. 82 Points

The Santa Margherita was a close call, I personally wouldn’t buy it again but for the money it’s a drinkable wine.

Where can I buy this wine? (the Barolo)
Europeans - le vitel etonne – €30
Americans - Primo Vino – $36
Brits – Cellar Brokers - £18
Australians - Cellar Brokers - AU$40

Leave a Comment
What did you drink at the weekend? Or anything at all. Did it rain, did you go shopping, see any friendly pigeons?

Italian Wine Blog – Wine90

8 thoughts on “Italian wine weekend

  1. Busy weekend. It has been shocking weather across the ne states. Of these wines I’ve tried to Gallo Zinfandel but you didn’t review it.

    Even Gallo wines need love.

  2. The SM Cabernet Franc is all over Italy and I have yet to be impressed by any vintage. I am not a fan of the Planeta Syrah I find it too much, too heavy.

  3. Le Due Terre Pinot Nero has long held a top reputation in the US. It’s the best Pinot Nero from Italy at least typically as all other Pinot Noirs I’ve tried from all over the country have displayed traits uncommon to true Pinot.

    Have you tried Hofstatter? The Hofstatter and the Le Due Terre really make up the best of Italian Pinot. The south has a couple of good wines, especially Fontodi but other than that it seems fashionable to try to grow Pinot in areas where it has no right to be.

  4. Agree about the GD Varja Barolo, even if I am rather difficult when it comes to red, this particular wine is very enjoyable and well worth the 30 euro price tag. Busy weekend for me also, visited a friend, watched Sideways (funny!), and taught French to a delinquent 13-year-old.

  5. Where did you find those last 3 wines! These are the wines you choose to impart on a friend? What did he do to you?

    Im a fan of Varja too but wouldn’t open anything before ’97

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