Category Archives: Italy

Le Macchiole

Le Macchiole located in Bolgheri, Tuscany has got to be one of the finest wine producers in Italy. They make a total of five different wines, ranging from the simplest Bolgheri Rosso to the super-exquisite Messorio. Although Tuscany typically is Sangiovese country, Bolgheri shines with classic Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet franc. Le Macchiole is represented at the Systembolaget, although anything but the Bolgheri Rosso is very steeply priced, which it in fact is everywhere due to the top-notch quality of the wines.

Starting with the 2008 Bolgheri Rosso, which is a blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet franc, 15% Sangiovese and 5% Syrah, and was aired for about one hour; this is a wonderful wine oozing of black currant jelly, herbs, grass, chocolate and licorice. A perfect mix of old-school Bordeaux and new-school Bolgheri. I gave one away to my wine-conservative, Francophile friend Lars this evening, and even he will appreciate this one (although his middle name is “Medoc”). This has seen quite some oak giving it a slightly sweet sensation, but the sweetness is beautifully balanced by just enough cherry seed bitterness. There’s some bottles left at the SB, but you’d better be fast if you are going to beat me to this one. First thing Monday. 90p.

Lars btw treated me to some 2004 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut, which I wrote about last week. Again very nice. It really manages to balance the crispness and citrus notes of Chardonnay with the red fruit and weight of Pinot noir. Best of both worlds. He also poured me a great Gigondas from Chapoutier. I’ll refrain from reviewing it since I took no tasting notes, but it certainly is one of the finest Gigondas I have had.

Now, back to Le Macchiole. A couple of months ago, I had a bottle of 1998 Paleo Rosso, which frankly is one of the best wines I’ve ever had a chance to drink. Just amazing. I bought it at the Enoteca della Valpolicella for roughly 600 SEK. A blend of 85% Cabernet sauvignon, 10% Cabernet franc and 5% Sangiovese. Licorice, blackberries, tar, leather. Very herbacous. An extremely complex wine which kept changing from one sip to another. Amazing texture. 94p.

That time around, I was twofoldly fortunate since Lars, whom I’d invited for lunch, actually brought a bottle of Fleur de Passion from Diebolt-Vallois, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I had the 2006 Paleo Rosso at VinItaly last year, and a funny thing about the 2006 as compared to the 1998 is that the grape composition had changed almost altogether. The wine was now all Cabernet franc! And what a wine. It certainly was fabulous. Probably the best one I had at the fair along with a couple of Barolos from Paolo Scavino. I have no tasting notes, but as I recall, it outshone the 1998. Unbelievably as it may sound, the 06 did not achieve Tre Biccheri in last year’s edition of Gambero Rosso’s Italian Wines. High demands, anyone?!  The 2006 Paleo Rosso can be ordered at the SB. Luckily, I have one bottella left of the 98.


Villa Monteleone

When visiting VinItaly this year with my good friends who run Club Amarone, I got a chance to spend the weekend at long-time collaborator of Club Amarone: Villa Montelone run by sincerely hospitable Lucia Raimondi and located in the village of Gargagnago. She carries on a pension which is highly recommended (http://www.villamonteleone.com), should you be traveling to Veneto, the province of Italy where the beautiful city of Verona is situated. Needless to say, we tasted her wines and in particular, I enjoy her Amarone della Valpolicella. “Well of course you do”, you say. However, for many of the Venetian producers, my first drink of choice is not the Amarone, but the Valpolicella Superiore (Roccolo Grassi would be a decent option. I’ll write about that one at another occasion). Not to mention the Cabernet Sauvignon IGT of Marion…great wine. Stefano Campedelli of Marion was by the way the first encounter we had at VinItaly, and what an encounter! This guy is truly and seriously devoted to making outstanding wines. I simply think that Amarone sometimes tend to be too overwhelming, and at an ABV of 16 %+ they are occasionally difficult to pair with food. But of course, for a ripe piece of Parmigiano Reggiano, the mighty Amarone would be my weapon of choice.

The 2005 Villa Monteleone Amarone della Valpolicella is matured on French oak for 28 months before being tamed in bottle for another 18 months. Maturing a wine for a total of 46 months is certainly not good cash management, but man do you achieve a fine result. For the first time, it achieved Three Glasses (“Tre Bicchieri”) in the Vini d’Italia guide 2010. Congratulations.

At 15 % ABV, it’s certainly not packing punches by Amarone standards. Maybe it is even slightly atypical for this type of wine. Nevertheless, it is very elegant on the nose: chocolate, cherries, lavender and leather. Quite round and balanced on the palate. I’m not the expert here, but this is usually not your typical Amarone. For instance, there’s no raisiny sensation, a fact I surely welcome. Further, even though it is not that common in Venetian fine wines anymore, there are no signs of botrytis-affected grapes. I’d give this wine 90p, but I think it will evolve further with a couple of years in the cellar.