We tried last week (1/15/20) Some Italian Varietals:
1. Idlewild Arneis WildRuthRanch/YorkvilleHighlands (12.2%; www.IdlewildWines.com) Geyserville 2018: Pale gold color;
lovely very fragrant floral/Arneis/gardenias light perfumed talc/chalky/bit mineral quite attractive Arneis nose;
fairly tart strong floral/Arneis/gardenias light chalky/mineral/tangy lovely flavor; very long/lingering lightly
tart strong gardenias/Arneia/floral/spicy light perfumed talc/mineral finish; more floral/gardenias character
than the '17; a really lovely expression of Arneis as good as any from Piemonte. $30.00
2. Idlewild Arneis FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (11.9%; www.IdlewildWines.com) 2017: Med.light gold color; less lush strong
floral/Arneis/gardenias bit more chalky/mineral/perfumed talc slight vanilla/oak bit more complex quite aromatic
nose; lightly tart bit softer bit lighter floral/Arneis/gardenias bit more chalky/mineral lovely flavor; very long/
lingering strong Arneis/floral/gardenias bit mineral/perfumed finish; a bit more interesting and showing some
evolution than the '18. $30.00
3. Castelli PinotNoir Estate GreenVlly of RRV/SonomaCnty (Dry farmed; 13.7%; 107 cs) 2014: Med.color; light pencilly/
oak very strong floral/violets strong PN/cherry/black cherry/bright light earthy/dusty almost Burgundy-like slight
volatile/perfumey quite fragrant nose; lightly tart lovely/PN/cherry/black cherry/floral/violets bit dusty/earthy
some pencilly/oak flavor w/ light firm tannins; very long/lingering strong cherry/PN/black cherry/floral/violets
light pencilly/oak bit earthy finish w/ light brisk tannins; a lovely balanced very perfumed PN w/ a Burgundian
sensibility to it w/o excessive oak; needs 2-5 yrs yet; great price at $30.00
4. Castelli Sangiovese RRV/SonomaCnty (13.9%; 30 cs) 2013: Dark color; slightly volatile strong cherry/Sangio/spicy
bit earthy/dusty light pencilly/oak quite attractive nose; quite tart/tangy bright/cherry/Sangio/slight herbal
light pencilly/oak balanced quite pretty Sangio flavor w/ light gentle tannins; very long/lingering rather tart
cherry/Sangio/bit herbal light pencilly/oak finish w/ light tannins; quite a pretty Sangio & not overloaded w/
oak like many Calif Sangios; not Chianti but quite a pretty balanced/drinkable red that speaks of Sangio. $26.00
5. Castelli RossoValverde Estate Red Blend RRV/SonomaCnty (14.2%; Cabernet/Sangiovese; www.CastelliVineyards.com;
30 cs) 2014
: Very dark color; strong toasty/pencilly/oak some herbal/Cab rather Sangio/cherry light earthy bit
volatile quite aromatic bit complex lovely nose; fairly tart/tangy some herbal/earthy/Cab rather cherry/spicy/Sangio
strong pencilly/oak bit earthy/dusty/bit loamy slight rustic flavor w/ modest tangy tannins; very long/lingering
somewhat tart strong pencilly/oak strong cherry/Sangio/spicy bit herbal/earthy/Cab balanced bit complex finish w/
some gentle tannins; quite a pretty blend that speaks mostly of Sangio w/ a bit of herbal character; very fairly
priced at $24.00
6. Castelli CabernetSauvignon GreenVlly of RRV/SonomaCnty (13.5%) 2013: Very dark color; very strong herbal/Cab/slight
ripe blackcurranty some pencilly/oak quite old-timey Calif Cab nose; very tart/tangy strong Cab/herbal/light
blackcurranty some earthy/dusty some pencilly/oak fairly balanced flavor w/ modest tangy tannins; very long rather
herbal/Cab/slight blackcurranty light pencilly/oak finish w/ modest brisk tannins; can use 2-5 yrs; quite an
interesting old-timey Calif Cab that reminded me some of the Veedercrest or Ventana Cabs. $nc (EC)
7. Idlewild Barbera FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (14.4%) 2017: Dark color; very strong very spicy/Barbera/fennel seed/bit
Italian sausage some complex beautiful nose; fairly tart very spicy/Barbera/fennel seed/Italian sausage complex flavor
w/ modest smooth tannins; very long/lingering quite tart very strong very spicy/Barbera/fennel seed slight earthy/dusty
balanced/polished bit complex finish w/ some smooth/polished tannins; loads of very spicy Barbera fruit on a
well-structured framework; one of Sam's best Barberas yet; can use 3-6 yrs of age yet. $40.00
8. Idlewild Dolcetto FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (12.4%) 2017: Dark color; strong grapey/Dolcetto/bit licorice/pungent some
earthy/dusty bit complex nose; bit softer slightly tangy strong grapey/Dolcetto/licorice/bit chocolaty slight earthy/
dusty/rustic slight bretty quite attractive flavor w/ modest tangy tannins; very long quite grapey/Dolcetto/licorice/
plummy/bit chocolaty slight earthy/dusty finish w/ modest brisk tannins; speaks strongly of Dolcetto but somewhat lighter
than Piemonte Dolcetto; can use several yrs of age. $30.00
9. Castelli Nebbiolo Estate GreenVlly of RRV/SonomaCnty (Dry farmed; 13.6%; 62 cs) 2014: Med.color; slight volatile very
fragrant floral/violets/rose petal/lilacs very light pencilly/oak beautiful aromatic almost Pinotish nose; quite tart/
tangy very strong floral/Nebb/lilacs/violets/dried rose petal bit pencilly/oak light earthy balanced complex flavor w/
modest tangy tannins; very long/lingering very aromatic/Nebb/floral/violets/rose petal light pencilly/oak bit earthy/dusty
balanced finish w/ modest tannins; a beautiful floral Nebb w/ wonderful aromatics yet not the hard tannins that the
Barolo tannin pigs worship; should age well for 4-8 yrs and start to develop some pungent/tarry character; great price
at $34.00.
10. Idlewild Nebbiolo FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (13.9%) 2016: Rather light/almost rose color; unusual strawberry some floral/
Nebb/violets very slight pungent/tarry bit toasty/oak slight earthy almost Grenache-like nose; fairly tart/tangy light
floral/Nebb/violets bit strawberry/Grenache-like slight pungent/tarry bt complex flavor w/ modest tangy tannins; very
long somee strawberry rather floral/Nebb/violets slight pungent/tarry slight toasty/oak bit earthy/dusty finish w/
modest tannins; fairly Nebb in character but w/ an interesting strawberry almost Grenache-like component; not the
usual Nebb acids & tannins; quite an attractive is unusual expression of Nebb on the lighter side. $50.00
11. LaVrille Cornalin DOC: Valle d'Aoste (13.5%; EB; ToscoWines; www.LaVrille.It) LaVrille de Herve Deguillame/Verrayes
: Med.dark color; rather earthy/dusty strong grapey/licorice bit funky/home perm some Alpine/floral light toasty/oak
bit Dolcetto-like rather complex nose; fairly tart strong grapey/licorice bit funky/home perm/perfumey rather Alpine/
floral/lilacs complex flavor w/ modest round tannins; very long/lingering rather grapey/licorice fairly Alpine floral/
lilacs/violets light earthy finish w/ some smooth tannins; a slight funkiness that blows off but quite an interesting
Dolcetto di Dogliani-like red. $56.00 (EVN)/$26.00 (EVN)
12. LaVrille Vuillermin DOC: Valle d'Aoste (13.5%; EB) 2016: Med.dark color; rather earthy/dusty/bit loamy quite grapey/
licorice/plummy/blackberry some smokey/pungent rather charred/oak slight burning metal/burning steel wool/welding shop
quite complex beautiful nose; rather tart some Alpine red/floral/lilacs/violets strong grapey/licorice/pungent some
earthy/dusty complex flavor w/ modest brisk tannins; very long/lingering strong grapey/licorice/bit Dolcetto-like some
floral/lilacs/Alpine red some earthy/dusty fairly complex finish w/ some brisk tannins; quite an impressive Vd'A red.
$88.00 (EVN)/$50.00 (EVN)
More droolfossy from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. Castelli: Followed Emilio from the very start, way back when I found out he was growing Nebbiolo in the GreenVlly area,
well before he was making wine. Originally, he was making only Nebb; both from his estate and from purchased Nebb. His
original Estate Nebb was only from the vnyd around his home. This silver-tongued devil then managed to persuade a
nearby friend, BrentWalker, to plant Nebb on his property. Emilio now farms that nearby vnyd as well and includes it in
his Estate Nebb. He farms by the Fukuoka method, making his vnyd one of the ugliest in the GreenVlly area, where there
are a lot of conventional/pristine-farmed vnyds. He also farms several other nearby vnyds.
He hasw a tiny amout of Cab planted on his property. This is a pretty cold area to grow Cab and it only ripens every
few yrs. When I tasted it last Fall at Emilio's, I was quite taken by it. It has a herbal character that most Cab producers
eschew. Reminds me a lot of a Loire Cab than anything.
Emilio has gradually expanded the line of wines he produces beyond Nebb. This is the largest lineup of his wines we
have yet tasted. I've always found his Nebb to be one of the best Nebbs made in Calif. But I wasn't prepared to realize
just how good his other varietals were. They show great balance, distinct varietal character, plenty of fruit but not
overtly so. They have sort of Old World sensibility to them that I find very attractive. Good stuff.
2. Idlewild: This is about the strongest Idlewild release that I can recall, across the board. As their WildRuth vnyd/
YorkvilleHighlands comes into more production, it will be interesting to see what its potential is vis a vis FoxHill.
And, in a few yrs, we can welcome the first release of a Calif Timorasso. It's exciting.
The Nebb seemed a bit different from previous yrs. Sam's Nebb has always been a big hit at the NEB gatherings. This
'16 version seemd somewhat lighter in color from previous one, which is hardly to be considered a fault. It had somewhat
of a strawberry/Grenache-like character which I've not encountered in his Nebbs. Nonetheless, it's an absolutely first-rate
expression of Nebb.
3. LaVrille: This is a new producer from the Val d'Aosta that Parissima at EnotecaVinoNostro urged me to try. I was pretty
impressed by these two wines. Cornalin, also known as HumagneRouge, is termed Cornalin d'Aoste to distinguish it from the
Cornalin du Valais in Suisse. Vuillermin was a grape variety that was once thought extinct in the Val d'Aosta until it was
discovered in a few old vnyds and now being propagated more widely. It is a late-ripener which makes it difficult to grow
in the Val d'Aosta. Clearly a grape variety they should be planting all up&down the coast in Calif. I was mightly impressed
by these two wines. They also have at EVN a MuscatChambave from this producer. I must try it. Both of these reds showed
lots of grapey/almost Dolcetto-like character and only slightly that lilting/Alpine floral character of many Alpine reds.