It is Saturday at VinItaly in Verona and I finally have a break and can jot down some initial thoughts. I have been tasting the new 2009 whites from several regions, including Friuli, Alto Adige and Campania. This is a very fine vintage that was cool for most of the growing season with some needed warmth of the sun in September and October, especially in Friuli. The whites are richer than those from 2008 ( a vintage I loved), yet the wines display very good acidity. Most of the wines were just put in bottle, as is usual for this fair, so some wines are a bit disjointed, yet most display excellent depth of fruit and varietal character. Amog the finest so far are the regular Sylvaner from Abbazia di Novacella (Alto Adige), the Ribolla Gialla from Isidoro Polencic as well as from I Clivi (both Friuli) and the regular Greco di Tufo from Feudi di San Gregorio. I have been running around from pavilion to pavilion, trying to get a feel for the newly released wines, so I will try more whites from each of these regions over the next few days.
I will try some 2007 Barbaresco and 2006 Barolo tomorrow; so far I have tried some lovely bottlings of Brunello di Montalcino from 2005. I tried a few dozen in Chicago and New York in February, so I caught up on some other offerings here in Verona. Among the finest are those from Pian dell’Orino, Ciacci Picolomini and Il Palazzone (a stellar bottling).
One other standout red so far is the 2005 Taurasi from Contrade di Taurasi, a tribute to the tradition of this wine, This is a Taurasi aged solely in large oak casks, a departure from too many bottlings that are subject to barrique aging these days. Things used to be this way in this district, but modern thinking has changed things in this lovely Campanian district. This is a gorgeous rendition of Taurasi with red plum and black cherry fruit with very gentle tannins. 2005 was not the biggest vintage for Taurasi, but it was certainly one of the most well-rounded and this excellent producer has delivered an outstanding wine.