2009- Shaping up to be a great year

January 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm 4 comments

Cutizzi Vineyard of Feudi di San Gregorio (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

It’s early of course, but it appears that 2009 may be judged a great year for Italian wines throughout the country. I’ve written earlier posts about the white wines and now that I’ve tasted a few dozen reds from this vintage, I’m beginning to think that you really can’t go wrong with just about any 2009 Italian wine type.

The Italian whites from 2009 are first-rate, offering the depth of fruit of the 2007s with the structure and acidity of the 2008s. I’ve tasted several dozen of these wines, predominantly from the regions of Friuli and Campania and many of the top examples show the potential to drink well for 3-5 years. Among the top 2009 whites I’ve tasted so far are the following:

FRIULI

  • Edi Keber Biano (Collio)
  • Gradis’ciutta Sauvignon (Collio)
  • Livio Felluga Sauvignon (Colli Orientali)
  • Isidoro Polencic Ribolla Gialla (Collio)
  • La Tunella “Biancosesto” (Colli Orientali)
  • Zuani “Vigne” (Collio)

CAMPANIA

  • Feudi di San Gregorio “Cutizzi”
  • Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo “Nova Serra”
  • Colli di Lapio Fiano di Avellino
  • San Paolo Greco di Tufo “Montefusco”
  • Marisa Cuomo “Fiorduva”

OTHER WHITES

  • Coffele Soave Classico “Ca’Visco”
  • Guado al Tasso Vermentino (Bolgheri)
  • Lunae Bosoni Vermentino Lunae “Etichetta Nera” (Liguria)
  • Malvira Roero Arneis “Trinita”(Piemonte)
  • Planeta Fiano “Cometa” (Sicilia)

Of course, many of the top whites, especially the blended whites and selezioni from Friuli, Campania and Alto Adige are yet to be released, so the list should dramatically expand.

Paolo Veglio, Cascina Roccalini (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

As for the reds, a few 2009s have been released, ranging from Dolcetto and Barbera in Piemonte to Valpolicella from Veneto and Chiantis of all types and Morellino di Scansano in Toscana. I love the purity of fruit, concentration and acidity of these wines. It was a warm year, especially in Piemonte, so there is an explosion of fruit in these wines. Yet as there were several cool spells during the growing season, there is beautifully defined acidity, as the grapes experienced a long hang time. Among my favorites so far are these:

  • Cascina Roccalini Dolcetto d’Alba
  • Cascina Roccalini Barbera d’Alba (arriving in the US market in a few months)
  • Pio Cesare Dolcetto d’Alba
  • Fontanabianca Langhe Nebbiolo
  • Motta Morellino di Scansano

Of course, most Italian reds from 2009 have not been released and in some instances, such as Barbaresco, Barolo, Amarone, Taurasi and Brunello di Montalcino, we will not see them in the market for at least another 1-5 years. But based on what I’ve tasted so far, Italian wine lovers should be in for several years of finds from the 2009 vintage – white and red.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gary "Iron" Chevsky  |  January 30, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Tom, thanks for the info. Seems the quality of Italian wine is consistently good in the past decade. I tend to focus on Nebbiolo a lot. Now that you started praising the 2009, what’s your take in terms of stocking up on Barolo/Barbaresco for 2005-2010 vintages?

    Obviously 2001 and 2004 were great. 2005 is nice and more approachable. 2006 looks solid but needs time. But for those who don’t necessarily need to buy every year, and have a rather full cellar already, after 2004, which vintages would you really try to stock up on?

    Reply
    • 2. tom hyland  |  January 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      Gary:

      Yes, from reading your blog, I know how you love Nebbiolo and the red wines of Piemonte in general. You have exquisite taste!

      There’s really been a great streak of vintages from 2004-2009. You know the ’04s and yes, the ’05s are lighter, but are beautifully balanced. Your assessment of ’06 is spot on. I tasted my first two 2007 Barolos the other day at an event in NY. Nice forward punch, excellent ripeness. I’ve already had dozens of ’07 Barbarescos and they are lovely wines – not as big as ’06, but more aromatic and approachable with excellent harmony- a vintage that should please everyone.

      I’ve had some ’08 Nebbiolos – excellent vintage – somewhat like ’98 – rich, but not powerhouse, with excellent balance. ’09 was a warmer vintage- explosive fruit, but still nice acidity, so this could be a great vintage. Several producers in Barolo and Barbaresco have told me that ’09 could be on the best vintages of the last twenty years.

      Reply
      • 3. Gary "Iron" Chevsky  |  January 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm

        Tom, thanks, to cut to the chase – if you have $1200 to spend on Barolo/Barbaresco and you generally already have enough to drink for now, because you’d bought a ton of 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2004, what are you going to buy? What would be your strategy?

    • 4. tom hyland  |  January 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      Gary:

      Hard to say – definitely some 2007 Barbaresco, especially the normale from Produttori. I’ll know more about the 2007 Barolos in a few months. Looks like the 2009 Langhe Nebbiolo could be worth your time as well, while you’re waiting for the 2006s to come around.

      Reply

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