THE VERTICAL TASTING
A spectacular wine tasting of the sixteen years of Regaleali white, from 1988 to 2009, for the label’s twenty-five years, organized for Cronache di Gusto. Pleasure which challenges time with marks and comments. Alberto and Giuseppe Tasca: “ A tribute to our grandparents.”
Nozze d’Oro, a record wine
By Francesco Pensovecchio
The vigour and ingenuity of an idea can never be torn from the concept of time. On the contrary, for wine time is its ring, the test of a ferocious and merciless judge. To understand the question better, two possible tests can be suggested: the first is simple and quite effective, it consists in leaving the wine in a glass for a couple of days.
After only a few hours you are able to assess any eventual precipitation, the speed of oxidization and the loss of aromatic persistence in both its bouquet and taste. The second is decidedly more difficult and rare, to offer a distillation of the wine’s existence, an identity card portraying its profile, education, soul, excellence. This is the so called vertical which examines several years of the same wine: the longer it is, the more precise the assessment will be and the greater its merit.
In other words, the capacity of a wine to propose over time various expressions of itself is an important factor of quality, a factor which is not infrequently connected to a territory’s uniqueness. It should be said immediately that very few remain in Sicily. Most of the islands vineyards provide a comparative assessment, taking into consideration the last 4 to 5 consecutive years, temporal fragments when compared to other parts of Italy and Europe.
However examples do exist. In truth, vineyards with a history, experience and knowledge of their past preserve on the racks in their canteens some authentic pearls. This is the case of Tasca d’Almerita which within the vinculum of its wide production, hide labels of great oenological worth. Hidden from the consumer fury of the market and supported by a personal choice made right from the star, Tasca has been producing Nozze d’Oro* since 1984. It was Count Giuseppe Tasca in wanting to celebrate the propitious event of fifty years of marriage to his wife Franca who ideated the label.
(*Nozze d’Oro means golden wedding anniversary)
Count Giuseppe decided on a blend of Inzolia, a vine which today’s wine producers shamelessly snob, and Sauvignon Tasca, a variety which originated in Sauvignon Blanc and at Regaleali has been radically modified.
The vinification and refinement is carried out in steel, left to ferment for several months, without wood. The cru is amongst the best available in the vineyard: Barbabietole, produced since 1972, Santa Luisa and Santa Tea. Twenty-five years on, we celebrate the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Nozze d’Oro and with our noses in our glasses, we can only congratulate Count Giuseppe for his fine choice.
Alberto and Giuseppe Tasca d’Almerita demonstrate this with a spectacular Vertical Tasting dated from 1988 to 2009 saying, “this Vertical Tasting is a tribute to our grandparents.”
What strikes the most, besides its unexpected longevity in the face of a medium body leaning towards slight, is its constant productivity and ability to resist even the 90s which were taken by a storm of trends, still going on today to a certain extent; a storm which has been strong enough to change the minds of even the strongest minded business man. Yet wine is not only a business. On the label on the back of the bottle of the first year of the vertical which we will be talking about shortly, can be read, “It is with joy that Nozze d’Oro continues to be produced, I created it for our propitious anniversary and dedicated it to my wife, with immense love, Regaleali, 1988 harvest. Giuseppe Tasca d’Almerita.”
The vertical tasting
Nozze d’Oro 1988
Clear, deep golden yellow. Intense, elegant, distinctive oxidative note mingling with the sensorial aroma of rosemary, juniper, chestnut honey and sage. The primary perfume wanes to leave space to the perfume of time. Vital on the palate, thanks to oxidization, pungent and acidic notes. Finally yielding to a slight taste of almonds. “Arancine con carne”* come to mind as the perfect accompaniment.
(*balls of rice with meat in the centre)
Nozze d’Oro 1989
Clear, bright golden yellow. The wine’s oxidative profile is clearly inferior to the previous wine despite the year of drought. During the three-year period 1989 to 1991 only 600 mm of rain fell - emergency conditions pushing everything to its limits. The bouquet is fresh and variegated, like dried apples and yellow flowers mingling with a hint of ginger and rosemary. Dry to the palate, alive, kicking, a dense elegant conspiracy. An extraordinary, exciting, powerful wine.
Nozze d’Oro 1990
Clear, bright, golden yellow. 1990 was also a difficult year due to drought, however the nose senses a wine of considerable depth. The wine presents itself as fresh and variegated, like dried apples with a mature perfume of yellow flowers, mingling with a hint of ginger and rosemary. Dry to the palate, as alive and kicking as the 1989. Here too the weft is dense and elegant. Great character and force. 1990 and 1989 are the sons of similar years, where the selection and renunciation at the expense of production, due to drought, were fundamental so as to bring a just few bunches of grapes into the cellars.
Nozze d’Oro 1993
The three-year period 1993 to1995 is characterized by a slightly different formulation for Nozze d’Oro; a quest for excellence by slightly over-maturing the grape. A trend that will distinguish Italian wines during the 90s. Nozze d’Oro has certainly gained during its first years of life, loosing little ground over a medium to long period due to its lower acidic content. The wine is clear, golden yellow. Slight hint of vegetables and the sea to the nose. Warm and pungent to the palate.
Nozze d’Oro 1994
The wine is the yellow of straw, intense with gold reflections, clear. Renewed hints of vegetables and the sea enriched with a spray of sweet fruit. Warm and pungent to the palate. Finale, bitterish and pleasing.
Nozze d’Oro 1995
Clear, deep golden yellow. A concentrated vegetable bouquet with hints of wax, flint and hay; underlying sensorial aromas of matured yellow pulp. Pungent, dense and warm to the palate. A good aromatic persistence backed by a finale which has a bitter and pleasant note.
Nozze d’Oro 1998
This wine though part of a programmed trend for over-maturing the grape, has benefited from a so called small, cold vintage. It is clear, golden yellow. A clean bouquet, dry, fresh, distinguished by candied fruits and herbs. Pungent, unusually dense and full to the palate. An intense aromatic persistence.
Nozze d’Oro 1999
Deep clear, the colour of straw. Clean bouquet, distinguished by a hint of green herbs, flowers and black truffle. Smooth to the palate, slightly lacking in some of its acidic vigour, warm.
Nozze d’Oro 2001
Yellow straw hue with reflections of copper. The bouquet is rounded centring on sensations of the Mediterranean vegetation, medium intensity. Medium bodied and good acidity in relation to smoothness.
Nozze d’Oro 2002
Yellow straw with reflections of copper. A vegetable and balsamic bouquet, mingling with a note of lime tisane and camomile. Medium bodied. Perhaps a vintage that has been subjected to stress.
Nozze d’Oro 2004
Aware of Nozze d’Oro’s natural predisposition to ageing and starting from the harvest of 2004, Regaleali’s zoning project was put into action which had begun at the end of the 90s.
The colour of straw, unusually clear for a six-year-old wine. The bouquet is elegant and complex. There are hints of flowers and fruit, among them hawthorn, orange blossom and loquat. A masterpiece of harmony to the palate. A perfect balance between acidity, pungency and smoothness. The finale goes by the book.
Nozze d’Oro 2005
The colour of straw with verdigris reflections. A complex and fascinating bouquet. Directly hitting the meeting point between fruity primordial aromas and the sense of the beginnings of a slow evolution. Acacia and pear blossom unite with a flavour of something between pepper and paprika, even a mature hint of vanilla. A good creaminess and balance to the palate. Closing with in pungency.
Nozze d’Oro 2006
The colour of straw with tenuous reflections of green. An elegant and terse bouquet: citron, lime, pear and apple blossom. Intense, lingering, pungent on the palate. Harmonious. The fine balance of minerals awakens the desire to drink. The finale is lingering and pleasant.
Nozze d’Oro 2007
The grape harvests that follow are really young, from 2007 to 2009. In the light of the preceding year’s characteristics, it would seem simple, almost disarming. The colour of 2007 is the yellow of straw, tenuous. The fresh bouquet of white pulped fruit fills the nose. Fine note of loquat. Hints of citrus. The flavour is complex and well contrasted by its acidity.
Nozze d’Oro 2008
Tenuous straw yellow with intense green reflections. The nose picks up an intense variety of aromas amongst which are white melon, pineapple and exotic fruits. The taste is full, intense, embracing. Its mineral and acid content are well dosed conferring freshness and a lingering finale.
Nozze d’Oro 2009
Pale straw yellow, tending towards the colour of paper, intense green reflections. The bouquet explodes with a variety of fruits and floral notes. The sunny character of inzolia can be distinctly noted, followed by mint and herbs typical of Sauvignon, of citronella and grapefruit. It will be on sale at the beginning of next autumn.
(Alberto and Giuseppe Tasca d’Almerita, Gaetano Maccarrone, the company’s technical director and Ivo Basile, head of area marketing took part in the Wine Tasting at Telemar, in Palermo on 29th May, 2010. Fabrizio Carrera and Manuela Laiacona and Francesco Pensovecchio for Cronache di Gusto).
Photo by Igor Petyx
(Translate by Deborah Halliday)
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