Bill Riccitelli aka Dr. Vino has been on so many of our Wine Lovers Tours that neither he nor I can remember how many. Definitely over 20!
And invariably Bill conducts a tasting of wines from wineries we’ve visited during the tour. Only he doesn’t bring the wines back with him; he buys them on line when he’s back in the States. Many of the wines we taste are rarely found in the American market but Bill has learned how to surf the internet and is able to duplicate many of the wines
I was fortunate to be invited to a recent tasting he conducted for his local chapter of the American Wine Society which he held in his backyard. It was a gorgeous sunny Sunday afternoon for an alfresco tasting. Everyone brought appetizers to share and Bill came prepared with a chart and handouts: a AWS Wine Evaluation Chart, map of the regions and a description of the wines to be tasted.
Participants voted using the 20 point system and results were tabulated by 2 members of the club.
The #1 wine of the tasting was the 2016 Librando Le Passule Val di Neto Passito from Calabria. Librandi is arguably the best producer in Calabria with many 3 Bicchieri under his belt. This unctuous wine was entirely from the Mantonico Bianco with the aroma of apricots, almonds and figs.
The #2 wine was also from Librandi: the 2014 Magno Megonio Val di Neto. This is 100% Magliocco, fermented in stainless steel, then aged 12 months in oak with an additional 6 months bottle aging. This wine will age very well but has smooth tannins and red fruit flavors.
#3 was also from Calabria: the 2015 Statti Arvino, a delicious blend of 60% Gaglioppo and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 12 months in oak and an additional 6 months of bottle aging.
#4 was a tie between the 2014 Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva from 100% Negro Amaro
#4 and the 2016 Librandi Critone Val di Neto, a delightful white made from 90% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc.
#5 was the 2013 Statti Battassarro Lamezia Riserva, 100% Galioppo, with 18 months oak aging, followed by 12 months bottle aging.
#6 was a tie between the 2015 Leone di Castris Villa Santerra Primitivo, full bodied, velvety and very well-balanced
#6 and the 2017 Leone di Castris Salento 5 Roses Rosé, made entirely from the Negro Amaro.
The surprising result of this tasting was how well the wines from Calabria performed next to their better known rivals from Puglia.
One winery that was missing from the tasting was Robert Ceraudo. I think if Bill had added any of his wines, Calabria would have placed even more in the top rankings.
Many thanks to Bill for inviting me; he is a true wine lover.