Saturday, February 08, 2014

Pecchenino – Quiet Power from Piemonte

I really enjoy it when I get the opportunity to taste wine with the people who make it. You always get the benefit of information that a local rep simply will not have access to or know.  I was a rep for a long time and no matter how much I tried to learn about a wine or winery, there was always some disconnect as I was not from the place it was made.  I find this aspect of wine tasting fulfilling in a very circular way the concept of terroir, which says that wine can only be made in a certain way from a certain place, which holds the keys to the unique variables of circumstance that place has and no other can have.  Many variables including, weather, soil, elevation, and cultural impacts on winemaking are always going to be more or less unique with every winery and even every wine, especially the smaller production wines.  Having the personal connection to help bring forward the social aspects of terroir is much more of what I like to experience.

This week I had the pleasure to taste with Orlando Pecchenino, from Az. Ag. Pecchenino located in Piemonte, Italy.  Typically soft spoken and sincere with wide hands used to work, Orlando’s wines are definitely worth the search and are tremendous examples of a style that I really care for.  Mainly a style that bridges the gap of traditional winemaking, which I like to find more in the texture of the wine, and the modern fruit tones that carry across your palate above the tannins and acids.  Fortunately these fruit tones are not overblown, but rather just enough to fill the palate, create a rich mouth-filling feel, and youthful enough to balance against earthy, meaty flavors.

As these are all reds coming to my market, it is really great to see the progression of styles, with the lesser wines exhibiting the lovely fruit on top and the more serious expressions showing tremendous style, particularly through the long finish on all of these wines.

Four generations of Peccheninos have worked the land, which is primarily in Dogliani (abour 54 acres), with an additional 7 acres in the Monforte area of Barolo.  Focusing primarily in Dolcetto and Nebbiolo, there is no apparent reason to muddle the field (or winery as it would be) with other varietals; really these would only be a distraction to the output of current selection, which is great.
I tasted four wines this week, although I have tasted several others in the past, being equally impressed with the general overall serious quality of these wines on all occasions. 

To start, I had the Siri d’Jermu Dogliani Superiore, 2011 DOCG (single vineyard expression).  Somewhat limited in production size, they only make about 25,000 bottles of this wine, which is actually a shame as it is quite good and we could only benefit from having more of it in the world.  Typical of the other wines in the range, this had a dark but balanced fruit component that hung in the front.  The wine also has a lovely smooth texture and very youthful and delicious flavor profile.  I liked this wine a lot and think that it represents a very good value in Italian wines, and wine in general.  Find it in retail for about $25 / bottle. Buy and drink anytime.

Next up was the Bricco Botti Dogliani Superiore 2010, DOCG (single vineyard expression).  It should be noted that the wines called Dogliani are all made from Dolcetto and do not need to carry the varietal designation as it is considered a superior region and is known by its region, rather than by the varietal combo – similar to Barolo, which is made from Nebbiolo.  These are simply referred to now as Dogliani.  This wine is also juicy smooth and fruit driven, but has an extra dimension with darker, more complex fruits as well as a very good dry, firm finish.  Find it for about $30 in the retail word. Bu and drink as much as you can.

The final two wines tasted were Baroli, one from 2009 (San Guiseppe ) and one from 2008 (Le Coste).  Both wines showed impeccable style and aromatics, which literally jumped out of the glass when the bottles were opened. 

In the San Giuseppe Barolo 2009, which I tasted first, I was impressed by the floral, earthy feel of the wine and the texture of this vintage, which showed more youthful and up front fruits in its expression, but still retained a good degree of texture and deliciousness.  Very good Barolo; buy and drink or hold recommendation.

The 2008 Le Coste (a single vineyard expression), was better, though.  This wine was just a bit more complete and complex.  The texture was more serious” for a drinker that might have high expectations for Barolo.  This wine was a knock out and will be added to our list, shortly.  Loads of earthy complexity without being tired or washed out.  Very high attention to detail with the making of this wine.  I loved the white pepper and the smooth but firm tannins wrapped around generous red fruits throughout the wine.  Definitely a quality wine that shows tons of heritage behind it.  About $65-70, retail price, if you can find this - it is just about sold through in the US market.  Buy and Hold recommendation.

All together these wines are a fabulous selection from a winery that really should be getting more attention.  There was another wine not tasted on this day which I have had in the past and thought was a great value – the San Luigi Dogliani.  All reds and simply a great list, with offerings for those looking for value and those looking for something completely special.

Imported by VIAS

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