Pizzini King Valley Arneis 2005 $20, Verduzzo 2005 $18
The 2005s, due for release in February, taste even better than the lovely 2004s. Arneis, a Piedmontese variety, can be neutral but this one’s full of character with nashi-pear-like flavour and the extraordinarily zesty, pleasantly tart bite to make a mouth-watering aperitif or refreshing, all-purpose summer food wine. Verduzzo, originally from north-eastern Italy, delivers voluptuous, apricot-like aromas and flavours and rich, silky-textured palate – partly derived from the variety and partly from fermentation and maturation of a very small component of the blend in oak barrels. The 2004 displayed more oak influence but this lighter touch works better, in my view.
Pizzini King Valley Sangiovese 2004 $24, Sangiovese Rosetta $14.50
The full-bore, red sangiovese is bright and clean and kicks off with the variety’s delicious ‘bitter black cherry’ flavour. However, a wave of savoury, fine tannins soon ripples across the palate, drying out the finish and giving the grip necessary to accompany food. This is heaps better than most of the basic Chianti’s kicking around bottle shops – although you might find it interesting to serve it alongside a decent Chianti Classico to compare the style difference. The rosé is a fresh, light, crisp and dry style, still offering some cherry-like varietal flavour – a wine to chill and quaff any time. Cellar door phone 03 5729 8030.
Pizzini King Valley Nebbiolo 2000 $45
Nebbiolo, the noble red grape of Piedmont’s Barolo region, all too often disappoints, even on its native soil. But the great examples deliver incomparable perfume and an elegance, combined with power, that belies the often light colour. In the Pizzini vineyard, wallabies love the vine shoots, often decimating a crop that’s hard to set and ripen even under ideal conditions and, even then, difficult to turn into great wine. This 2000 has the variety’s lighter colour but captures some of the aromatic magic, savoury flavours and elegant, very firm structure. I was completely happy drinking it until Fred showed me the Reserve 2003 due for release in a few years at $80 to $100.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007