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 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 175, Summer 2018   
Contrasts of Passerina and TorbatoContrasts of Passerina and Torbato Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 174, June 2018 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 176, September 2018

Contrasts of Passerina and Torbato

A contrast made of elegant finesse, the grapes of this month's tasting by contrast surprise for their personality

 The panorama of white wines is vast and very rich, especially in Italy, a country boasting a huge number of grapes for making wine like no other place in the world. This allows Italy to have a richness in styles that can be poured into the glasses, from light and thin ones, up to powerful and robust wines. This is also true for white wines: each region can boast at least one indigenous white variety and each of them capable of creating different wines, often very different. Some varieties are mainly appreciated for the elegance of aromas and style, others for their power which, in some cases, can be compared to certain red wines. These qualities, of course, can vary according to different factors that may affect the production cycle of wine, from vineyard to bottle. A grape which, for example, typically makes light-bodied wines, can be transformed by man – in practical terms and in any case within certain extents – into a decidedly more robust wine.

 The result, of course, is not always interesting both from a wine making and organoleptic point of view. Indeed, in most of the cases, the distortion is such that the variety used for the production can be barely recognized. They are certainly useful as a tasting exercise, a little less when you simply want to have the pleasure of a good glass of wine. The tasting by contrast of this month compares two white berried varieties which are not known to make robust and powerful wines: Passerina and Torbato. Grapes making of finesse and elegance the primary characteristic in their wines and typical of distant territories. Marches and Abruzzo for Passerina, Sardinia for Torbato. Two varieties cultivated in rather limited areas, in particular Torbato, today mainly present in the area of Alghero only, but certainly deserving more attention from consumers.

 

Passerina


 

 Passerina – which probably owes its name to the fact sparrows (passeri in Italian) particularly like its berries – is a variety which is experiencing a new and good success thanks to the renewed interest of producers. Typical of the territory of Piceno – in the Marches region – and in particular in Offida, where its wines are ranked as DOCG (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita), Passerina is a versatile grape capable of making wines of good personality and elegance. It is also found in Abruzzo, in particular in the territory of Controguerra, in Latium, in the area of Frosinone, as well as in other regions of central Italy, although marginally. Today the territory in which Passerina gets the highest interest, with interesting and significant results, is Offida, in the province of Ascoli Piceno, where this variety has been rediscovered and properly revalued, giving birth to different styles wines, from sparkling to sweet wines made from dried grapes.

 The origin of Passerina is uncertain, however it is believed it originates from the territory in the border between Marches and Abruzzo, places where it is still today found and cultivated. For a long time confused with Trebbiano Giallo grape, research carried out on the genetic profile of Passerina have finally found out no connection existing between the two varieties. In the past it gained the favor of farmers thanks to its good resistance to major diseases, because of its thick skin and good vigor, ensured copious harvests and therefore a better profit. Passerina, because of this characteristic, was then known by many names, including Pagadebiti, Cacciadebiti and Scacciadebiti, all having the same Italian meaning, literally debt- payer. The high yields did not clearly allow to get the best quality out of Passerina, something achieved in recent times thanks to the adoption of modern quality viticultural and wine making methods. Wines produced with Passerina are characterized by a good olfactory profile mainly recalling flowers and, to the taste, having a good crispness and a body of medium structure.

 

Torbato

 The origin of Torbato is uncertain and, despite of the many theories about its origin, none of them is today considered as certain. The most recurrent one believes Torbato was introduced into Sardinia from Spain, in particular Catalonia, presumably between 1300 and 1400. Another hypothesis wants this grape native to Asia Minor and introduced by the Phoenicians who imported it from the Aegean area. The hypothesis of Spanish origin is also supported by the names used in the past to identify this grape, including vitis Iberica and, more often and particularly in Sardinia, uva Catalana and turbat. However, everyone agrees to classify Torbato in the family of malvasie grapes, notoriously originating from the Aegean Sea area, therefore strengthening the theory Phoenicians introduced this variety to Sardinia. It should also be noted this variety is also found in the southern part of France and here known as Malvoisie de Roussillon, Tourbat or Malvoisie des Pyrénées Orientales.

 In Italy, Torbato is practically cultivated only in the territory of Alghero – in province of Sassari – where it has found its ideal environment. In France, it can be used for the production of wines belonging to Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée Côtes du Roussillon AOC, despite the fact it is today not much cultivated and common as it was in the past. It should also be noted Alghero DOC denomination is the only one in Italy to include Torbato, used both for the production of dry wines and sparkling wines. Having a straw yellow color with evident greenish nuances, wines from Torbato grapes are characterized by a fineness of aromas recalling fruits with white pulp, of good acidity and moderate body, to the taste they are appreciated for the characteristic bitterish finish. The cultivation of Torbato is not easy. Sensitive to the typical diseases affecting the vine, also because of the thickness of the skin of its berries, Torbato is a late ripening variety, characterized by an inconstant production. Because of this, Torbato is now considered a niche wine.

 

The Tasting


The color
of Offida Passerina
The color of Offida Passerina

 Passerina and Torbato make – as already mentioned – wines with a light and elegant character, reason that forces us, particularly this time, to choose wines strictly produced in inert containers. As for Passerina, our choice is in favor of a wine belonging to Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita Offida, the only DOCG in which this variety is allowed. The choice of Torbato is made in favor of a wine produced in Denominazione d'Origine Controllata Alghero, also in this case vinified in inert containers. In both cases we need to carefully consider production, as the disciplinary for the two wines provide for a minimum of 85% of the variety declared on the label, therefore we will make sure the wines are made of 100% Passerina and Torbato. Wines belong to the latest vintage – therefore very young – and served in tasting glasses at a temperature of 10 °C (50 °F).

 Let's pour the two wines into their respective glasses and start our tasting by contrast of Passerina and Torbato by evaluating their appearance. The first wine we will examine is Offida Passerina. Tilt the glass over of a white surface and observe the wine at the base: we can see an intense greenish yellow color and high transparency; the object put on contrast behind the glass is perfectly visible. Let's now assess nuances by observing the wine towards the opening of the glass, where the thickness becomes thin: the wine confirms a greenish yellow color. Let's now pass to the evaluation of the appearance of Alghero Torbato, by tilting – also in this one case – the glass over the white surface. At the base of the glass can be observed an intense straw yellow color and high transparency, a darker hue when compared to Passerina. The nuances of Torbato are generally greenish yellow, confirming, in our case, its young age.

 Passerina and Torbato have different olfactory profiles, however both having in common aromas of good elegance although of moderate intensity. The profiles of wines produced with these varieties are in fact expressed in terms of finesse rather than power, with different characters. In wines produced with Passerina, we can mainly perceive aromas reminiscent of flowers, while in those produced with Torbato it can be perceived both flowery and fruit aromas. The aromas that can be associated to fruits are of course found also in wines produced with Passerina, however in its wines it will be those of flowers to mainly play the role of protagonist. These olfactory characteristics suggest the consumption of wines produced with Passerina and Torbato during their youth, therefore ensuring a better appreciation of their typical finesse.

 Let's now proceed with the evaluation of the olfactory profiles of the wines of our tasting, starting from Offida Passerina. By keeping the glass in vertical position and without swirling it, proceed with the first smell in order to evaluate the opening of the wine. From the glass can be appreciated the characteristic aromas recalling flowers, in particular hawthorn and broom. Moreover, still in the opening of wine, can be perceived aromas of apple and plum. After having swirled the glass, the profile of Offida Passerina is completed with pear and chamomile, peach, wisteria and sometimes a hint of exotic fruit in which can be recognized pineapple. Let's now move on to the evaluation of the opening aromas of Alghero Torbato, keeping the glass in a vertical position and without swirling it. To the nose we can perceive aromas of apple, peach and plum. After having swirled the glass, the olfactory profile of Alghero Torbato is completed with pear, almond, citrus fruits – in particular cedar – as well as a hint of exotic fruit and reminiscent of mango.

 After having evaluated the aromas, let's move on to the gustatory profiles of the wines of our tasting by contrast. Let's start with the Offida Passerina: let's take the first sip and evaluate the attack, that is the initial sensations the wine produces in the mouth. It is perceived a pleasant crispness – given by acidity – an average structure and the alcohol strength is moderate, however enough to make the wine balanced. In the mouth we perceive flavors of apple, pear and plum, therefore confirming the good correspondence to the nose. Let's now pass to the glass of Alghero Torbato and take the first sip in order to evaluate its attack. In this wine we will perceive in the mouth an appreciable crispness, the body is of medium structure and, as for the previous wine, the contribution of alcohol is moderate however enough to reach a proper balance. It can be perceived flavors of apple, peach and plum, confirming – also in this case – a good correspondence to the nose.

 The last phase of our tasting by contrast is about the evaluation of the final sensations left in the mouth by the wines after having swallowed them. The finish of Offida Passerina is persistent and leaves in the mouth a pleasing sensation of acidity and the perception of a moderate structure. In the mouth can also be perceived flavors of apple, pear and plum as well as a good agreeableness and refined elegance. The finish of Alghero Torbato is equally persistent, in the mouth is perceived a pleasing crispness and the sensation of structure is moderate, however fuller than Passerina. In the mouth can be perceived flavors of apple, peach and plum as well as the characteristic slightly bitter taste reminiscent of almond. In both wines can be perceived a pleasing elegance, of good finesse, far from the concept of power sometimes found in certain wines, including white wines. A characteristic being decidedly agreeable especially in their youth, delighting the tasting with refined sensations recalling flowers and fruits.

 



 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 175, Summer 2018   
Contrasts of Passerina and TorbatoContrasts of Passerina and Torbato Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 174, June 2018 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 176, September 2018

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




Orvieto Classico Superiore Vendemmia Tardiva 2016, Tenuta di Salviano (Umbria, Italy)
Orvieto Classico Superiore Vendemmia Tardiva 2016
Tenuta di Salviano (Umbria, Italy)
Grechetto (45%), Sauvignon Blanc (30%), Procanico (15%), Sémillon (10%)
Price: € 15.00 - 375ml Score:

Brilliant amber yellow and nuances of amber yellow, transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of raisin, walnut and honey followed by aromas of apricot jam, resin, quince jam, candied fruits, pear jam, citrus fruit peel and almond.
Sweet and round attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of raisin, apricot jam and honey.
6 months in steel tanks.
Confectionery, Dried fruit tarts, Hard cheese



Lago di Corbara Rosso Solideo 2014, Tenuta di Salviano (Umbria, Italy)
Lago di Corbara Rosso Solideo 2014
Tenuta di Salviano (Umbria, Italy)
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Price: € 12.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of plum, black currant and black cherry followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, peony, chocolate, tobacco, vanilla, mace and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black currant and black cherry.
Aged in barrique.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat, Cheese



Colli del Trasimeno Rosso Riserva Sant'Anna 2014, Pucciarella (Umbria, Italy)
Colli del Trasimeno Rosso Riserva Sant'Anna 2014
Pucciarella (Umbria, Italy)
Sngiovese (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Merlot (20%), Petit Verdot (10%)
Price: € 6.00 Score:   Good value wine

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and black currant followed by aromas of dried violet, blueberry, chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black cherry and black currant.
12 months in barrique, 6 months in bottle.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Empireo 2014, Pucciarella (Umbria, Italy)
Empireo 2014
Pucciarella (Umbria, Italy)
Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (40%)
Price: € 8.50 Score:   Good value wine

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, vanilla, tobacco, face powder, chocolate and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and plum.
12 months in barrique, 6 months in bottle.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Monteviggiano, L'Arcera (Basilicata, Italy)
Monteviggiano
L'Arcera (Basilicata, Italy)
Montepulciano
Price: € 15.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean and pleasing, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and blueberry followed by aromas of violet, blackberry, raspberry and geranium.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black cherry and blueberry.
Aged in steel tanks.
Stuffed pasta, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Broiled meat and barbecue, Cheese



Terre dell'Alta Val d'Agri Lucanico 2012, L'Arcera (Basilicata, Italy)
Terre dell'Alta Val d'Agri Lucanico 2012
L'Arcera (Basilicata, Italy)
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aglianico
Price: € 15.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, blackberry and plum followed by aromas of dried violet, black cherry, blueberry, carob and pink pepper.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, blackberry and plum.
Aged in steel tanks.
Stuffed pasta, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat, Hard cheese



Montefalco Sagrantino Etnico 2013, Di Filippo (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino Etnico 2013
Di Filippo (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 16.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of blackberry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of black cherry, blueberry, carob, vanilla, tobacco, leather and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry.
12 months in cask.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Montefalco Sagrantino 2013, Di Filippo (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino 2013
Di Filippo (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 23.00 Score:

Deep ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of dried violet, carob, chocolate, tobacco, cinnamon, mace, vanilla and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry.
24 months in cask and barrique.
Game, Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat, Hard cheese



Montefalco Rosso 2015, Montioni (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Rosso 2015
Montioni (Umbria, Italy)
Sangiovese (65%), Merlot (20%), Sagrantino (15%)
Price: € 14.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of plum, blackberry and black cherry followed by aromas of violet, black currant, carob and vanilla.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, blackberry and black cherry.
12 months in barrique, 4 months in bottle.
Stuffed pasta, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Montefalco Sagrantino 2014, Montioni (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino 2014
Montioni (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 31.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of blackberry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of black cherry, blueberry, carob, tobacco, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry.
24 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Braised and stewed meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Trebbiano Spoletino 2017, Bocale (Umbria, Italy)
Trebbiano Spoletino 2017
Bocale (Umbria, Italy)
Trebbiano Spoletino
Price: € 14.00 Score:

Brilliant golden yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of medlar, apple and citrus fruits followed by aromas of peach, pear, pineapple, melon, hawthorn and broom.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of medlar, apple and peach.
6 months in steel tanks.
Stuffed pasta, Broiled crustaceans, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Mushroom soups



Montefalco Sagrantino 2013, Bocale (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino 2013
Bocale (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 29.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Deep ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and dried violet followed by aromas of plum, blueberry, tobacco, cocoa, pink pepper, mace, vanilla, leather and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum.
24 months in cask, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Braised and stewed meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 175, Summer 2018   
Contrasts of Passerina and TorbatoContrasts of Passerina and Torbato Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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