FIRST ANNUAL PRIMA STRADA AWARDS!
THE 1st ANNUAL PRIMA STRADA AWARDS
I know you've been waiting a long time for this. So I'll get to it without delay. Note that ALL the Italian wines given awards are made from indigenous grapes, with nary a Chardonnay or a Cabernet among them. Category 1: Exceptional Wines Bought with My Own Money (Usually $20 or Less) Bianco All if these wines are delicious and highly drinkable, some with stunning refinement and subtlety given their excellent price/quality. They (like the wines listed below) are in alphabetical order, by producer. Argiolas Costamolinos. Variety: Vermentino (Sardinia) -- dry, aromatic, subtle, medium long finish Feudi di San Gregorio Sannio. Variety: Falanghina (Campania) -- complex, refined, nervy blend of fruit and acidity, medium long finish, a stunning value Fondo Antico Grillo Parlante. Variety: Grillo (Sicily) -- fruity, honeyed, somewhat aromatic, fine aperitif Petilia Greco di Tufo. Variety: Greco (Campania) -- slightly earthy, lively acidity, a bit more rustic expression of terroir than neighboring Feudi di San Gregorio with very slightly shorter finish, underrated producer All of these wines are infinitely drinkable, refreshing and superb with regional Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines. NB: Little or no oak distorts the varietal character of the wines. Rosso Ceuso Scurati. Variety: Nero d'Avola (Sicily) -- ideal balance of acidity and fruit, rather complex, powerful but fine match with Sicilian dishes, long finish, good price/quality ratio Contini Nieddera. Variety: Cannonau (Sardinia) -- rich, dense-tasting, rather long, completely satisfying with meat dishes and ragu Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato. Variety: Aglianico (Campania) -- brighter with acidity than the Nieddera, similar in richness and full mouthfeel, irresistible Morgante Nero d'Avola. Variety: Nero d'Avola (Sicily) -- earthy notes, subtle aroma, wonderful depth of flavor for a relatively inexpensive wine, great value Category 2: Exceptional Wines That I Did Not Pay for, Nor Could I Hope to Bussola Amarone BG 2001 -- rich, sweet, walnut-tasting, sumptuous, very long finish Foradori Granato Rosso 2002 -- lovely aromatic nose, good fruit, grapey, assertive acidity and tannins, very long, cries out for hearty food Pepe, Emidio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1985-- fruit and not just the ghost of fruit, balanced acidity, long Pieri, Agostina Pieri Brunello di Montalcino 2000 -- deliciously dense, tarry, great acidity, complex, rich long finish Category 3: Nice Surprises from Around the World Boutari Santorini. Variety: Assyrtiko (Greece) -- mineraly, very dry but not austere, pleasingly aromatic, better than a Muscadet for seafoods Miranda Botrytis. Varieties: Semillon, Riesling (Australia) -- noble rot gives depth of honey and floral aromas, long finish, fine balance of sugar and acid Pipers Brook Ninth Island. Variety: Pinot Noir (Tasmania) -- real varietal character, good fruit, some delicacy and a medium finish, tannins just a tad harsh Sakonnet Vineyards Gewurtztraminer (Rhode Island) -- plushly aromatic, longish finish, scent and flavor of ripe peaches, dry enough to serve as an aperitif
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR? Take a good guess--let me know what you thinkI invite you to guess the winner of the Prima Strada Award for 2005. I shall reveal my answer next week. I should have made up my mind by then.
Now the prize of prizes,the one you've been awaiting with bated breath. I have nominated three producers whose wines have pleased me again and again, and whose price/quality ratio is second to none. These estimable wine producers are, in alphabetical order: Argiolas, Sardinia Feudi di San Gregorio, Campania Foradori, Trentino Alto Adige Petilia, Campania