In Monferrato’s famous five, I started to express my excitement about the Grignolino variety – pale, aromatic and tannic. By the way, does that remind you of a famous variety from Piemonte? Today I have tasted some examples from two wineries that are part of the Monferace initiative. This is a group of producers, mostly in Monferrato Casalese, committed to reviving this great variety made in a traditional way with long ageing in barrels, alongside the more common overtly aromatic version that spends a few months in stainless steel before being bottled. And my level of excitement has gone off the scale! Supercharged Grignolino indeed.
Here are my tasting notes:
Tenuta Santa Caterina, Grazzano Badoglio (website)
The estate is just outside the Monferrato Casalese zone and so the wines are bottled as the more generic Grignolino d’Asti DOC.
Arlandino, Grignolino d’Asti DOC, 2018, 15%
In the context of pale Grignolino, a touch deeper in colour, if definitely garnet. An intriguing nose with coffee, dark fresh and dried plum, just over medium in body, well-integrated if high alcohol, fine adhesive tannins, a good length and a very savoury finish, 16.5/20
Monferace, Grignolino d’Asti DOC, 2015, 14%
Selected fruit from the oldest vines, this undergoes long (60 days) maceration with the cap submerged and then is aged for 30 months in oak casks and another 30 in bottle before release. A touch under medium intensity garnet in colour, initially a muted nose with ferrous (yes – Monferrace refers to iron) and dark tobacco notes, dense, a buried treasure of a wine that needed time need time to unfold, 17/20
I love the label and branding too!
Accornero, Vignale Monferrato (website)
Bricco del Bosco, Grignolino Monferrato Casalese DOC, 2019, 14%
As yet I have little information on this wine except that, as with most Grignolino made in the modern way, a short period of 4-7 days on the skins to avoid picking up too many tannins. Pale garnet-tinted ruby wine, lovely aromatic and vinous nose with rose and red cherry aromas. This is followed by very good intensity of fruit on the palate supported by racy acidity and medium intensity, grippy tannins, medium length, highly distinctive, 16+
Monferace, Bricco del Bosco, Vecchie Vigne, Grignolino , Monferrato Casalese, 2016, 14.5%
Made from old vines. Maceration on the skins for 20 days followed by 30 months in oak barrels and 24 months in the bottle. A rich garnet in colour with an assertive and stunning nose with tobacco, coffee, liquorice and red plum notes. Fairly full-bodied, high intensity on the palate, firm rounded tannins and well-integrated acidity. Intensely savoury not overtly fruity in style with a long and superbly layered finish, outstanding, 18
Wine of the evening!