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 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 217, May 2022   
Contrasts of Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia PassitoContrasts of Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia Passito Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 216, April 2022 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 218, June 2022

Contrasts of Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia Passito

Wines produced with dried grapes express much more than just sweetness. Concentrates of substances and flavors, extraordinary treasures of complex and persuasive aromas, always represent a sensorial exercise of considerable value.

 The wine market of every wine-growing country in the world is strongly dominated by the so-called “dry” table wines – white, red and rosé – followed by sparkling wines. In some territories, this condition is exactly the opposite, with bubbles representing the prevalent production, frequently the only one. In the last place, with very rare exceptions, we always find sweet wines from dried grapes, whether they are “natural sweet” (that is without adding any wine spirit) or fortified (to which, instead, wine spirit is added). The current situation is clearly opposite to that of the past, when the majority of wines belonged to the category that today we call sweet from dried grapes. This kind of wines, in fact, had the favor of consumption in past times, not least, it was the result of common wine making practices of the past, as well as a fermentation not completely carried out due to environmental and technological conditions, including the taste of out ancestors.

 Sweet wines from dried grapes of the past and “modern” ones still share two qualities: they are very expensive to make and are characterized by complex and very rich organoleptic profiles. The production of a sweet wine from high quality dried grapes is a decidedly expensive process, if compared with other styles of wines, both because it requires very high qualitative factors, and because of the very low yield of the grapes. It must be noticed, in fact, the yield in must of dried grapes – depending on the type of wine to be produced and quality – can be as little as 30%. The drying process obviously involves a conspicuous loss of water inside the berries, with a consequent concentration of other substances, in particular, sugars. The two wines we will examine in the tasting by contrast of this month are no exception to this, which differ, not only for the geographical origin, but also for the color of the grapes. Moscato di Sardegna Passito, in fact, is produced with Muscat Blanc, while Aleatico di Puglia Passito with the homonymous grape, notoriously red berried.

 

Moscato di Sardegna Passito


 

 Muscat Blanc is one of the oldest known varieties, always appreciated both as a table grape and for the production of wines. Variety that has always fascinated men, both for the marked sweetness and for the finesse of its aromas, a heritage – the latter – that is always expressed in its wines. Muscat Blanc is virtually found in every wine-growing country in the world, often used for the production of “late harvest” wines and, above all, sweet wines from dried grapes. The latter style seems to be very appropriate for Muscat Blanc, a quality testified not only by the history of this grape, but above all by the finesse and balance of its wines. Muscat Blanc was widely known and appreciated since the times of the ancient Romans, often identified with the name of uva apiana, because of the strong predilection of bees (ape is Italian for bee) for the sweetness of its berries. The charm of wines produced with this grape, not only in the sweet style from dried grapes, is still alive today, enjoying the favor of consumers everywhere.

 The presence of Muscat Blanc in Sardinia boasts a long and widely documented history, its spreading on the island mainly started during the period of Piedmontese administration in the 1700s. Muscat Blanc is now used in some appellation wines of Sardinia, among them Cagliari Moscato, Moscato di Sorso-Sennori and Moscato di Sardegna. The latter is produced in the entire territory of the island and includes the sub-denominations “Tempio Pausania” or “Tempio” and “Gallura”, provided for the sparkling wine style only. Moscato di Sardegna – the wine we are considering for our tasting – involves the production of the white, passito, overripe and sparkling wine styles, all produced with at least 90% Muscat Blanc and any 10% of white grapes allowed for cultivation in Sardinia. The production of Moscato di Sardegna Passito is often carried out through the use of inert containers, in particular the steel tank, with the aim of preserving both the aromatic finesse of the grapes and the acidity, this latter quality essential for getting a perfect sensorial balance. In this regard, it should in fact be noted Moscato di Sardegna must have a minimum natural alcohol content of 16%, a characteristic which, coupled to the marked sweetness of the sugars, requires adequate acidity in order to get balance.

 

Aleatico di Puglia Passito

 Aleatico is a red berried variety of considerable interest, widespread in many regions of Italy and with a long history. For this grape, in fact, we can speak about history but not exactly of origins, as – still today – these are unclear and subject of many hypotheses. Pier De 'Crescenzi, at the beginning of the 1300s, claimed the origin of Aleatico was Tuscany, reporting that, at that time, it was already widespread in the region and known as Livatica. Cosimo Trinci had a totally different opinion, who – in 1726 – claimed Aleatico had been introduced in Apulia by the Greeks. To support this hypothesis, the famous agronomist claimed that it was in fact the Liatiko grape, grown in Crete. Over time, other hypotheses have been formulated, however, none of them has a proven foundation, including the alleged kinship with the Liatiko variety, which turned out to be totally different. However, Aleatico boasts numerous historical testimonies of appreciation for its wines, reporting its presence in various Italian regions, including Apulia.

 More recent studies conducted by Manna Crespan and Nicoletta Milani have shown that Aleatico is closely related to Muscat Blanc, a characteristic that would justify its intense aroma. Furthermore, this study would seem to support the hypothesis of the famous botanist Giorgio Gallesio, who supported the idea Liatica or Livatica grape – name with which Aleatico was known at his time – derived from Muscats by seed propagation. Giuseppe Di Rovasenda also claimed that in certain areas of Italy, Aleatico was known as Moscatello Nero and Moscato Nero, thus associating its origin with the famous family of aromatic grapes. The presence of Aleatico in Apulia is rooted in the entire regional territory and for almost fifty years it has been recognized as a wine with a Denomination of Controlled Origin (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata, DOC). The production disciplinary provides for the natural sweet, fortified natural sweet and reserve styles, in which the presence of Aleatico must be at least 85%, while the remaining part can be completed by Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera and Primitivo.

 

The Tasting

 Before proceeding with this month's tasting by contrast, let's find the two bottles that we will pour into the glasses. In this regard, it should be noted these are two wines with relatively low production, therefore not very widespread, a characteristic often distinguishing all sweet wines from dried grapes. When choosing Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia Passito we will pay attention to their composition, making sure that they are exclusively produced with the two reference varieties. It must in fact be noticed that, in both cases and according to the respective production disciplinary, both Moscato Bianco and Aleatico can be present for a quota of less than 100%, in any case for a minimum of 85%. As far as production and vinification are concerned, with the aim of allowing the maximum expression of the two varieties – characterized by appreciable aromaticity – we will choose two wines fermented and aged in inert containers, such as the steel tank. Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia Passito are poured into their respective tasting glasses: the Sardinian wine at a temperature of 14 °C (58 °F), the Apulian wine at 16 °C. (61 °F)


The
color of Aleatico di Puglia Passito
The color of Aleatico di Puglia Passito

 Let's pour Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia Passito into their respective tasting glasses and start the comparison, starting with the evaluation of the appearance of the Sardinian wine. Let's tilt the glass of Moscato di Sardegna Passito over a white surface and observe the base. The color is bright and intense amber yellow, while the transparency – evaluated by placing an object between the glass and the white surface – is quite high, allowing a good vision. Let's now evaluate the nuance and observe the wine towards the opening of the glass, at the point where it becomes thinnest. We will note a bright amber yellow color, therefore confirming the base hue. Let's now pass to the evaluation of Aleatico di Puglia Passito and tilt the glass over the white surface. The color is clearly very different from the previous wine: we note an intense and brilliant ruby red, with a moderate transparency, sometimes even low. The nuance of Aleatico di Puglia Passito – observed at the edge of the glass, near its opening – reveals an intense ruby red, sometimes tending to garnet red.

 Wines produced with Muscat Blanc and Aleatico express pleasing aromas to the nose that directly recall grape juice, and this is the only characteristic these two grapes have in common. Moscato di Sardegna Passito expresses to the nose, in addition to the intense scent of dried grapes, aromas of dried apricot, candied fruit, peach and quince jam, date, dried fig, almond, citrus peel and pleasing hints of exotic fruit, in particular lychee. There is, of course, a good expression of fragrances that can be associated to the world of flowers, including lavender and yellow rose. The olfactory profile of Aleatico di Puglia Passito is clearly no less exciting and, as already mentioned, it expresses to the nose an intense aroma of dried grapes. Wines produced with this grape can be recognized for the rich expression of aromas associated to red and black fruit, in particular, cherry, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry and plum. The world of flowers is also richly represented in wines produced with Aleatico passito, in particular rose, violet and cyclamen. Furthermore, it is often possible to perceive aromas of cinnamon, pink pepper and anise.

 Let's resume our tasting by contrast and proceed with the analysis of the olfactory profiles of Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia Passito, starting –  as for the previous phase – with the Sardinian wine. Let's proceed with the first smell in order to evaluate the opening of this wine, that is the identifying aromas emerging from the glass, held in a vertical position and without swirling. To the nose can be perceived intense, clean and pleasing aromas of raisins, dried apricot and quince jam, as well as dried rose and lavender. Let's now swirl the glass – an operation favoring the development of the remaining aromas – and do the second smell. The olfactory profile of Moscato di Sardegna Passito is completed with candied fruit, dried fig, citrus peel, peach jam, date, honey, almond, caramel, sage and thyme. Let's pass to the evaluation of the opening of Aleatico di Puglia Passito and – by holding the glass in vertical position – let's do the first smell. From the glass can be perceived intense, clean and refined aromas of raisins, cherry, raspberry and strawberry, as well as floral notes of rose and violet. After having swirled the glass and carried out the second smell, the olfactory profile of the Apulian wine is completed with blueberry, blackberry, plum, cinnamon, anise and a pleasing hint of pink pepper.

 Let's now pass to the evaluation of the gustatory profiles of the two wines of our tasting by contrast, taking into consideration Moscato di Sardegna Passito. The first gustatory characteristic we will evaluate is the attack, that is the primary sensations perceived in the mouth at the initial sip. The first quality perceived in the Sardinian wine is a marked sweetness, in addition to the pleasing roundness, immediately followed by the pseudo-caloric sensation of alcohol. The balance of the wine is readily reached with the effect of acidity, essential to reduce the excessive impact of sweetness in the mouth. We also perceive the flavors of raisins, dried apricots, peach jam, dates and honey, confirming the excellent correspondence to the nose. Let's now take a sip of Aleatico di Puglia Passito and evaluate the attack. Also in this case the initial sensation perceived in the mouth is sweetness, followed by the appreciable roundness and the effect of alcohol. These qualities find perfect balance both in the acidity and in the astringency of the wine, the latter decidedly moderate, however pleasing and well integrated with the gustatory profile of the wine. In the mouth, moreover, we perceive the flavors of grape, raspberry, cherry, strawberry and blackberry.

 Let's conclude this month's tasting by contrast by evaluating the final sensations the two wines leave in the mouth, among them, the taste-olfactory persistence. The finish of Moscato di Sardegna Passito is very persistent, leaving in the mouth pleasing sensations of sweetness that still find their balance in the effect of the crispness given by the acidity. You can also perceive flavors of raisins, dried apricots, dried figs and honey. The sensation of structure is also still well perceptible. The finish of Aleatico di Puglia Passito is equally persistent and in the mouth we continue to perceive both sweetness and roundness, as well as the acidity and the gentle astringency contributed by tannins. The wine also leaves in the mouth pleasing and intense flavors of grape, cherry, raspberry, strawberry and blackberry. The sensations of structure of the two wines should be carefully evaluated: although Moscato di Sardegna Passito expresses good body, the one of Aleatico di Puglia Passito is decidedly fuller, also thanks to the effect of tannins.

 



 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 217, May 2022   
Contrasts of Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia PassitoContrasts of Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia Passito Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 216, April 2022 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 218, June 2022

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




Etna Bianco Enrico IV Contrada Santo Spirito 2018, Valenti (Sicily, Italy)
Etna Bianco Enrico IV Contrada Santo Spirito 2018
Valenti (Sicily, Italy)
Carricante
Price: € 19.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, plum and grapefruit followed by aromas of hawthorn, broom, pear, mango, pineapple, peach, mint, vanilla and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and grapefruit.
6 months in barrique, 3 months in bottle.
Pasta with fish, Mushroom soups, Stewed fish with mushrooms, Stewed white meat, Dairy products



Etna Rosso Puritani 2014, Valenti (Sicily, Italy)
Etna Rosso Puritani 2014
Valenti (Sicily, Italy)
Nerello Mascalese
Price: € 19.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of brick red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of cherry, raspberry and plum followed by aromas of dried violet, dried rose, strawberry, cinnamon, cocoa, tobacco, leather, licorice, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, raspberry and plum.
20 months in cask, 12 months in bottle.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Verdicchio di Matelica Meridia 2018, Belisario (Marches, Italy)
Verdicchio di Matelica Meridia 2018
Belisario (Marches, Italy)
Verdicchio
Price: € 17.00 Score:

Intense straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and hawthorn followed by aromas of broom, peach, pear, medlar, citrus fruits, anise, almond and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and peach.
24 months in cement tanks.
Stuffed pasta, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Broiled fish



Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva Cambrugiano 2018, Belisario (Marches, Italy)
Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva Cambrugiano 2018
Belisario (Marches, Italy)
Verdicchio
Price: € 19.00 Score:

Intense straw yellow and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, plum and hawthorn followed by aromas of broom, chamomile, pear, peach, pineapple, medlar, grapefruit, honey, rosemary, vanilla and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of apple, plum and almond.
12 months in steel tanks, a small part 12 months in barrique.
Stuffed pasta, Roasted fish, Roasted white meat, Mushroom soups



Titolo Pink Edition 2020, Elena Fucci (Basilicata, Italy)
Titolo Pink Edition 2020
Elena Fucci (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico
Price: € 25.00 Score:

Intense cherry pink and nuances of cherry pink, transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of cherry, strawberry and raspberry followed by aromas of rose, cyclamen, blueberry, tangerine, apple, peach and plum.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry.
3 months in steel tanks, 2 months in bottle.
Pasta with meat and mushrooms, Mushroom and legume soups, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish



Aglianico del Vulture Titolo 2019, Elena Fucci (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico del Vulture Titolo 2019
Elena Fucci (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico
Price: € 32.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, blackberry and black cherry followed by aromas of violet, geranium, blueberry, raspberry, tobacco, chocolate, carob, rosemary, graphite, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of plum, blackberry and black cherry.
12 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Barbischio 2018, Maurizio Alongi (Tuscany, Italy)
Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Barbischio 2018
Maurizio Alongi (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese (94%), Malvasia Nera (4%), Canaiolo Nero (2%)
Price: € 25.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and violet followed by aromas of rose, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, chocolate, cinnamon, tobacco, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and raspberry.
At least 12 months in cask, at least 18 months in bottle.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Carmignano Riserva Trefiano 2016, Tenuta di Capezzana (Tuscany, Italy)
Carmignano Riserva Trefiano 2016
Tenuta di Capezzana (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Canaiolo Nero (10%)
Price: € 41.00 Score:

Intense 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 black currant, blueberry, blackberry, carob, tobacco, cocoa, licorice, leather, thyme, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of plum, black cherry and black currant.
18 months in cask, at least 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Ugo Contini Bonacossi 2016, Tenuta di Capezzana (Tuscany, Italy)
Ugo Contini Bonacossi 2016
Tenuta di Capezzana (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 50.00 Score:

Intense 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 dried rose, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, cocoa, licorice, tobacco, cinnamon, leather, cigar box, mace, vanilla and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of plum, black cherry and blackberry.
18 months in barrique, at least 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Salco 2016, Salcheto (Tuscany, Italy)
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Salco 2016
Salcheto (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 38.50 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of dried rose, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, cinnamon, tobacco, cocoa, licorice, leather, mace, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of black cherry, plum and blackberry.
24 months in cask, 26 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Vecchie Viti del Salco 2017, Salcheto (Tuscany, Italy)
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Vecchie Viti del Salco 2017
Salcheto (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 65.00 Score:

Intense 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 dried rose, blackberry, blueberry, tobacco, cocoa, cinnamon, leather, mace, licorice, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with flavors of plum, black cherry and blackberry.
2 years in cask, 2 years in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Cheese






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 217, May 2022   
Contrasts of Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia PassitoContrasts of Moscato di Sardegna Passito and Aleatico di Puglia Passito Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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