Friday, December 5, 2008
Just had 2005 Poggio Belvedere by Ardnaldo Caprai from Umbria (Italy) for the first time - 80% Sangiovese, 20% Ciliegiolo. I picked it up from Alex Bernardo over at Vineyardgate in Millbrae - one of my favorite wine shops in the Bay Area (talking to Alex is always a fun and educational experience, but that's a subject for another post). Normally, I wouldn't pay much attention to yet another Italian red, but this time Alex snuck it into his Saturday tasting line-up. The wine is only $13 (i.e. a type of wine one can afford with an everyday meal), and it was an amazing match to the food. I had it with pasta and prawns in red sauce (with garlic and herbs from my garden). Typically, I would have a Chianti (or maybe a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo) with this type of food. In a Chianti, as in most inexpensive Italian reds I try, one would see a ton of acidity dominating the fruit. But this fresh light-to-medium body wine was singing as a perfect duo of juicy fruit and zingy acidity, and had very soft tannins. The flavor had similar profile to Chianti - combination of red and black berries, dominated by sour cherry, but less earthy. It is made with no oak, so that must have contributed greatly to the purity and freshness of the fruit expression in it. It was delicious and aromatic, and almost seemed like it was enhanced with grape, peach, or orange juice (perhaps the effect of ciliegiolo), which reminded me of the way that the French add viognier to syrah in Northern Rhone, particularly in Cote-Rotie, to enhance the taste of the primary grape - the syrah). Move over, Tuscany. Go Umbria!