Anyone working in the construction or building material industry probably recognizes the name of Knauf. Gypsum is not my living but I knew I’d seen the name before, in another wine related context. But where? Knauf is the owners of the quite recently (1998) created Campo alla Sughera in Bolgheri, a wine estate build from scratch and until recently, an unknown name to me. Then, when searching the internet, annoyed by the fact I couldn’t remember my previous vinous Knauf connection, I found it – Iphofen!
Funny, my first wine trip was in 1998 and Franconia the target. Entering the village of Iphofen, known for maybe the finest habitats of Silvaner; Kalb and Julius Echter-Berg to mention two, there was one thing you couldn’t avoid noticing. Knauf. Iphofen has been an important one for the family and the village also houses a Knauf museum.
Campo alla Sughera is an excellent example why wine is the most captivating drink. Although I’ve done this for a while by now I had never heard of the producer until recently, nor tasted their wines. But at the same time when the lovely export director Rita Tonino poured the 2009 Arioso I knew this was the beginning of yet a vinous love affaire!
Arioso don’t win your heart by being the best Bolgheri white and nor is that its intentions. No, the blend of mainly Sauvignon blanc and a smaller amount of Viognier is pure drinking pleasure. I have a weak spot when it comes to floral and fruit driven white’s, especially if fizzy in its character.
The 2009 Arioso IGT Toscano Bianco (87 p) is pressed gently. The dregs are removed from the must before the temperature controlled fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is avoided in order to preserve the aromatic scents and give the wine a richer style. The floral notes, white peaches and slightly grass, quite rich fragrance are summer in a glass! The young and vivid fruitiness together with high, yet balanced acidity, is most refreshing. More of this please!
Rita Tonino talks about the property and their relatively short history. Being more and more disappointed over Bordeaux prices I’m looking forward tasting the two reds of Campo alla Sughera, hoping for a find that could compensate for ridiculous Bordeaux prices. And believe me; they don’t put one down.
The 2008 Adèo Bolgheri Rosso DOC (90 p) consists of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. One year in French oak and a further four months on bottle before release. The vinification is quite interesting and shows this is a serious producer with the latest technology in hand. After de-stemming, the steel maceration tanks are fed from a height without using pumps or augers, which can damage the solid part of the grape. Then maceration for 10 days with intense pumping abd punching down is carried out. After de-vatting and first racking, the wine is decanted partly into steel tanks and partly into barrels for malolactic fermentation.
Young, elegant fragrance with black currants, herbs, toasted oak, smoke and a grassy note adding depth. Still a bit unruled. Fine concentration, lovely mature fruitiness and excellent tannin structure on the taste. Plum skins, spices and vanilla makes it a nice Bolgheri/Bordeaux cross. Love this for its uncomplicated style that will please both newcomers and the more demanding.
The last one to taste is the 2006 Arnione, my very own favourite this afternoon together with the 2007 Sapaio, also from Bolgheri. Three glasses in Gambero means expectations. And boy are those fulfilled!
The 2006 Arnione Bolgheri Rosso Superiore DOC (93 p) is the first vintage where Cabernet Franc were included in the blend – 50 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 % Merlot, 20 % Cabernet Franc and the remainder being Petit Verdot.
18 months on new French oak and a year in bottle before release. The bouquet is intense with impressive dark fruit concentration (prunes, dark cherries), spices, lead pencil, saddle leather and fine expensive oak. The taste is most impressive and rich, but also quite forward. Mature tannins, plenty of fruit (cherries, currants), hay, a touch of saddle leather and a wonderful mineral taste which gives me associations of a sandy summer road. Long, almost voluptuous finish. For those searching for a Medoc look-a-like; don’t bother. You will not like this style because Arnione has more in common with the garagiste movement in Saint Emilion.
The Arnione 2006 can be purchased at Vinothek Boller-Weine at a price that is impossible to find for a similar Bordeaux; EUR 33,95.
(2009 Arioso, IGT Toscano Bianco, 87 p)
(2008 Adèo, Bolgheri Rosso, 90 p)
(2006 Arnione, Bolgheri Rosso Superiore, 93 p)