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 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 146, December 2015   
Contrasts of Grignolino and GaglioppoContrasts of Grignolino and Gaglioppo Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 145, November 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 147, January 2016

Contrasts of Grignolino and Gaglioppo

Two red berried varieties so different in many regards, including the lands in which are cultivated and give wines from them: the former in Piedmont, the latter in Calabria

 The richness of grapes cultivated in Italy has no equals in any other place of the world. From North to South, every region has its own indigenous varieties, sometimes found in other regions as well, sometimes even spread in large areas of the country. To these grapes should also be counted the so called international varieties, that is spread in many wine countries of the world and usually having a French origin. A huge heritage capable of making a countless number of wines, each being the expression of its land and the men who make them. If we then consider the wines produced by assembling different grapes, the combinations are virtually endless, in particular if we consider the many territories, men and wine making techniques. In order to understand the richness of the Italian land, the Italian Directory of Wine Grapes currently counts more than five hundred different varieties.


 

 This month we are going to examine two varieties very different one from each other, even distant, geographically speaking. Grignolino, a red berried variety of Piedmont, and Gaglioppo, the queen red grape of Calabria, will be compared in our glasses in order to reveal their respective differences. Grapes different one from each other, make different wines as well, with organoleptic qualities such to give both a remarkable personality and identity. Thanks to their respective characteristics, absolutely unique and such to put them - like to say - in quite opposed sides, our tasting by contrast will not be so difficult. Also the techniques used for the making of wines are frequently different, in particular to keep their integrity, that is aiming to keep their respective expression of organoleptic personality. Grignolino is mainly vinified in inert tanks, Galgioppo is usually produced in wood containers, and there are also cases in which it is made in steel or cement tanks.

 Grignolino is a red berried variety mainly found in the areas of Asti and Monferrato in Piedmont, Italy. This variety is also marginally found in the territory of Langhe, while it is virtually absent in the other areas of Piedmont and Italy. In past times, Grignolino was quite common in Piedmont and its progressive reduction was caused by phylloxera, a fate this grape shared with many other varieties. Because of the effects of this aphid, vintners preferred cultivating - for obvious reasons and for need - other resistant varieties, therefore scarifying Grignolino. Information found in old documents support the theory this grape originated from Piedmont, in particular in the territory of Asti and Monferrato. It should also be noticed that, according to what can be read in documents of the past, Grignolino, although in marginal terms, was also present in Oltrepo Pavese and Veneto.

 The name probably comes from the dialectal term of Asti area grignòle, a word used to call grape pips which are found in great quantity in this variety. Grignolino is used for the production of three Denominazione d'Origine e Controllata wines of Piedmont: Grignolino d'Asti, Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese and Piemonte Grignolino. Wines produced with this grape usually have olfactory characteristics recalling spices, as well as red fruits and sensations of flowers. Grignolino is mainly used alone and makes pleasing and direct wines expressing their best character in their youth. In general terms, in order to keep the specific qualities of the grape, Grignolino is vinified and aged in inert containers, however are known cases in which it is aged in cask. In this latter case, the wine gets a more complex character, by accentuating spicy aromas, typical of this variety, in particular white and black pepper as well as clove.

 The characteristics of Gaglioppo are very different, it is the wine making glory of Calabria, its homeland. Variety considered indigenous to this region, Gaglioppo is the grape from which are made the red wines of Cirò area, the most famous wine area of Calabria. It is a variety having a strong resistance and it has adapted itself to the difficult conditions of Calabria, in particular drought and a basically arid soil. Gaglioppo is a variety having very ancient origins, which wines were famous and appreciated since the times of Magna Graecia. It is believed that, in ancient times, Gaglioppo was spread in a wider area than today, along the Adriatic coast and it is believed it was even found in the lands where today is found the Marches region. The current spreading of Gaglioppo is virtually limited to Calabria, its homeland, and it is the most famous and common grape of this region, absolutely protagonist of the red wines made in this land.


This is how you
would see Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese in a glass: it should be noticed
the transparency and the ruby red color
This is how you would see Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese in a glass: it should be noticed the transparency and the ruby red color

 In Calabria Gaglioppo is used for the production of both red and rose wines. It is particularly known for the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata wines of Cirò, this variety is however used for the production of countless red and rose wines of the region. Gaglioppo is particularly suited for the vinification in inert containers as well as in wood, a technique useful, among the many things, to mitigate the strength of astringency. Wines produced with this variety have very interesting organoleptic characteristics, not only sensations recalling red and black fruits, but also flowers and spicy aromas. Wines produced with Gaglioppo, depending on the production technique, can be appreciated during their youth - a period in which is mainly perceived its severe character - as well as after some years, when the wine gets a more austere profile. The spicy character of Gaglioppo is sometimes perceptible in its rose wines as well, in particular the aroma of black pepper.

 For our tasting we will examine a Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese and a Cirò Rosso. In choosing our wines, we need to pay attention to the respective production laws. Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese provides for the use of this grape for a minimum amount of 90% and the remaining part being Freisa grape. We will therefore make sure our wine is produced with 100% Grignolino. The same consideration is true for Cirò Rosso, in which Gaglioppo grape can be present for a minimum of 80%. Also in this case we will make sure the wine to be actually made with 100% Gaglioppo. We will also pay attention to the production method, by choosing wines fermented and aged in inert containers. Finally, it is preferable both wines belonging to the same vintage, possibly having not more than two years of age. The wines will be tasted at the temperature of 18 °C (64 °F) and poured in their respective tasting glasses.

 As usual, let's start the tasting by contrast from the appearance analysis of the wines in order to evaluate color and transparency. Let's pour Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese in its glass and let's tilt it over a white surface, such as sheet of paper. By observing the wine at the base of the glass, it will be noticed a brilliant ruby red color and a pretty high transparency, something allowing the vision of the object put behind the glass. The observation of nuances, towards the opening of the glass, reveals a ruby red color, sometimes tending to garnet red, therefore confirming the modest coloring property of Grignolino. Let's now pass to the observation of Cirò Rosso. At the base of the glass it will be noticed an intense ruby red color, with a lower transparency than Grignolino. Nuances show the same color and, in this case, Gaglioppo confirms its good coloring property. Let's now observe both glasses in order to understand the differences of the two wines.

 The olfactory profiles of Grignolino and Gaglioppo are quite different one from each other, having - as a common characteristic - a certain spicy hint recalling black and white pepper. As for the rest, in wines produced with these grapes can be perceived other common olfactory elements, however with a very different overall profile. In Grignolino can be in fact perceived aromas of red fruits and flowers, whereas in Gaglioppo are mainly perceived black fruits, as well as sensations recalling flowers. The aging potentials is different in each variety. Grignolino is generally considered a grape making wines not so suitable for aging. Indeed, Grignolino - depending on how it is cultivated and used for making wine - can give wines of good longevity and developing a pretty interesting olfactory profile. Gaglioppo certainly has a more significant aging potential than Grignolino, developing with time organoleptic sensations of good complexity.

 Let's now proceed with the evaluation of opening aromas of Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese. By holding the glass in vertical position and without swirling, let's do the first smell. The opening of Grignolino is characterized by aromas recalling red fruits, in particular cherry, raspberry and plum to which is added strawberry. It will be also perceived the typical hint of black pepper, a frequent sensation in wines produced with Grignolino. After having swirled the glass, the wine completes its olfactory profile with blueberry and flower sensations of geranium, cyclamen and rose. The olfactory profile of Gaglioppo is quite different. The opening of Cirò Rosso is in fact characterized by plum, black cherry and blueberry. After having swirled the glass, the sequence of aromas is completed by sensations of blackberry and strawberry, as well as flowery perceptions of cyclamen and rose. It will be perceived, also in this case, the spicy aroma of black pepper, a typical characteristic of Gaglioppo.

 The differences between Grignolino and Gaglioppo become more evident during the evaluation of taste. The attack of Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese is characterized by a pleasing crispness to which is added a moderate astringency. These two organoleptic sensations are balanced thanks to the contribution of alcohol, despite its burning effect is not excessively strong. In the mouth are perceived flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry, sensations already perceived to the nose. The attack of Cirò Rosso, made from Gaglioppo, is characterized by a more robust structure than Grignolino. It is also perceived a stronger roundness, supported by alcohol, and a lower sensation of crispness. Astringency in Gaglioppo is more intense than Grignolino, however having a remarkable agreeableness. In the mouth are perceived flavors of plum, black cherry, blueberry and strawberry, therefore confirming the good correspondence to the nose.

 The differences between the two wines are also perceived in the final part of the tasting, the one done after having swallowed the wine. The finish of Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese has generally a good persistence, leaving in the mouth the flavors of the main perceptions: cherry, raspberry and strawberry. After having swallowed the wine, the sensation of crispness in Grignolino is still perceived in the mouth, very agreeable and certainly inviting taking a new sip. The finish of Cirò Rosso has a good persistence, leaving in the mouth the sensation already perceived during tasting and in which can be recognized plum, black cherry and raspberry. The final sensation is more robust than Grignolino, rounder and warmer, nevertheless pleasing and however inviting taking a new sip. Two different grapes, not only for the distance of the respective homelands, capable of giving distinct wine making interpretations and however recognizable in their own personalities.

 






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 146, December 2015   
Contrasts of Grignolino and GaglioppoContrasts of Grignolino and Gaglioppo Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 145, November 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 147, January 2016

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Jeval 2012, Tenuta Fulcera (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Jeval 2012
Tenuta Fulcera (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 7.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and violet followed by aromas of raspberry, blueberry, cyclamen and cinnamon.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and blueberry.
8 months in steel tanks, 4 months in bottle.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Stuffed pasta with meat, Roasted white meat, Cheese



Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva Nero 2009, Tenuta Fulcera (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva Nero 2009
Tenuta Fulcera (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 14.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and dried violet followed by aromas of blueberry, chocolate, tobacco, mace, vanilla, cinnamon, leather and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and blueberry.
24 months in barrique and cask, 12 months in bottle.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Fiorfiore 2013, Roccafiore (Umbria, Italy)
Fiorfiore 2013
Roccafiore (Umbria, Italy)
Grechetto
Price: € 16.00 Score:

Brilliant golden yellow and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, hazelnut and plum followed by aromas of pear, citrus fruits, hawthorn, broom, pineapple and vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and hazelnut.
12 months in cask, 4 months in bottle.
Stuffed pasta, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish



Montefalco Sagrantino 2010, Roccafiore (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino 2010
Roccafiore (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 25.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and violet followed by aromas of plum, blueberry, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, mace, licorice and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors blackberry, black cherry and blueberry.
18 months in barrique and cask, 6 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Franciacorta Rosé Extra Brut Millesimato 2009, La Montina (Lombardy, Italy)
Franciacorta Rosé Extra Brut Millesimato 2009
La Montina (Lombardy, Italy)
Pinot Nero (85%), Chardonnay (15%)
Price: € 25.00 Score:

Brilliant cherry pink and nuances of cherry pink, transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of cherry, raspberry and bread crust followed by aromas of apple, tangerine, strawberry, cyclamen, yeast, hazelnut and plum.
Effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, raspberry and plum.
Refermented in bottle on its lees for at least 30 months.
Stuffed pasta with meat, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Mushroom soups



Franciacorta Pas Dosé Riserva Baiana 2007, La Montina (Lombardy, Italy)
Franciacorta Pas Dosé Riserva Baiana 2007
La Montina (Lombardy, Italy)
Chardonnay (55%), Pinot Nero (45%)
Price: € 33.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of bread crust, plum and ripe banana followed by aromas of praline, honey, apple, yeast, citrus fruits, hawthorn, brioche, raspberry, butter and vanilla.
Effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol,good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, apple and praline.
The base wine is aged in cask. Refermented in bottle on its lees for at least 60 months.
Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Stuffed pasta, Stewed meat



Conero Riserva Grosso Agontano 2011, Garofoli (Marches, Italy)
Conero Riserva Grosso Agontano 2011
Garofoli (Marches, Italy)
Montepulciano
Price: € 21.50 Score:

Deep ruby red and nuances of garnet red, impenetrable to light.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black cherry, blackberry and violet followed by aromas of plum, blueberry, black currant, vanilla, face powder, tobacco, leather, licorice, chocolate, made and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum.
18 months in barrique, 24 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Riserva Serra Fiorese 2010, Garofoli (Marches, Italy)
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Riserva Serra Fiorese 2010
Garofoli (Marches, Italy)
Verdicchio
Price: € 17.50 Score:

Intense golden yellow and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, plum and almond followed by aromas of pear, citrus fruits, hawthorn, pineapple, broom, anise, honey, ripe peach, mineral and vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of apple, plum, pear and almond.
Fermented in barrique, aged for 12 months in barrique, at least 2 years in bottle.
Stuffed pasta with mushrooms, Roasted fish, Roasted white meat, Stewed fish






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 146, December 2015   
Contrasts of Grignolino and GaglioppoContrasts of Grignolino and Gaglioppo Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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