This week we look at two very different reds from Italy, and a beautiful Vouvray from France.
Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2008
Despite the untimely death of Gianni Masciarelli in 2008, the winery continues to put out a strong portfolio of wines, with his daughter Miriam and wife Marina Cvetic involved in running the winery. In addition to the 'classic' range, Gianni, a passionate advocate for Abruzzo wines, introduced some benchmark wines over the years, including the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Villa Gemma and Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Castello di Semivicoli. While these acclaimed wines are certainly worth trying if the occasion presents, the base level Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is well worth having on hand for everyday drinking. Providing a surprising amount of earthy complexity in a quaffer, the wine can be had for close to $10 - cheaper than the pizza with which it pairs so well. Made for early drinking, the 2009 is starting to show up now and is again worth buying.
Eugenio Bocchino Langhe Nebbiolo Roccabella 2009
A new winery by the standards of Piemonte, Eugenio Bocchino is making some very good reds, and this another fine effort. Although it could probably do with another year or two in the bottle to soften the tannins, it's very approachable now and all the better if it can sit in the decanter for a while before drinking. The wine has some good aromatics, with some typical tar and violet on the nose, while there's some good acidity keeping the wine fresh in the mouth. Excellent drinking for around $20.
Domaine d'Orfeuilles Vouvray Les Coudraies 2009
The Les Coudraies is made from old vines on an east-south aspect hill north of Chancay in the Loire Valley. Some lovely perfumed aromatics on this demi-sec white set the stage for an initially quite sweet wine, which manages to finish closer to dry thanks to some very lively acidity. Not one for those who don't like sweetness in wines, this would make a great aperitif for those of us who do. Might be even better with a not-too-sweet dessert. And don't be in a hurry to drink it - with this much acidity, it will last a long time.