“A bottle of good wine, like a good act, shines ever in the retrospect.”
……… Robert Louis Stevenson
It’s hard to imagine an accident being a good thing, but that’s exactly what developed from a bottle I cellared “too long.” The bottle was a 2007 Greco Di Tufo from the winery Dei Feudi di San Gregorio. It was probably released in 2009, and these wines are generally at their best within three years of bottling. Fortunately, my storage conditions are favorable: dark and with cool, even temperature. If you have an unheated room in your basement, with a door that closes it off, you could duplicate these conditions … but more on that later.
Feudi di San Gregorio is in southern Italy (south of Rome) in the mountainous province of Avellino (a.ka. Irpinia) in the Campania wine region, and only about 25 miles from Mount Vesuvius. Greco di Tufo wines (from the grape of the same name) are refreshingly crisp white wines. Their unique – and I do mean unique – character is thought to be influenced by the volcanic and clay soil of the region. Vines here grow at 1300 – 1600 feet where the cooler temperature allows the grapes to benefit from the sun but without ripening too quickly and losing their acidity. It’s this acidity that makes wines crisp (think Sauvignon Blanc, but oh my, what a difference!).
The first thing I noticed was its color: golden yellow. White wines darken as they age. Red wines lighten. Younger Greco Di Tufo will present a color more like straw. The nose was citrus with pronounced lemon. As the wine aired, it offered tastes of caramel, macadamia nut, vanilla and a marvelous butterscotch finish fitted into all that lemon. Feudi di San Gregoio’s finish is long and multi-layered, full-bodied and truly elegant. The aromas linger and the wine offers a spicy mineral finish. I cannot remember being so excited about a wine at this price level (about $18 in 2009).
It’s risky keeping wines too long, and I don’t recommend it. But this accident was a blessing. I immediately went out and purchased another Greco di Tufo: a 2010 Terredora Dipaolo (currently $18). True to the character of Greco di Tufo wines, this too was spicy with a fruity nose of lemon and cedar, and it offered a taste of buttered lemon. While I prefer Feudi di San Gregorio, it’s a little difficult to find. That’s a shame. These wines are aged in new French barriques (barrels holding 59 gallons). And they are exquisite. To paraphrase Robert Louis Stevenson, Feudi di San Gregorio is a wine that will forever shine in the retrospect. Ask your wine merchant if he can order it.
WineMizer recommends you pick up a Feudi di San Gregorio if you can find it. If not, buy another Greco di Tufo. Buy several. Drink one now (keep notes), then open another perhaps a year later and enjoy the comparison. Enjoy this with homemade, whole wheat macaroni & cheese flavored with fresh thyme leaves and capers (both essential), and a simple salad of arugula and sliced heirloom tomato dressed with a balsamic-extra virgin olive oil.
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