Paolo e Noemia d’Amico
Hailing from a corner of Lazio that overlaps Umbria – almost smack in the center of Italy, the family-run estate Paolo e Noemia d'Amico makes wines primarily from international grape varieties. Whereas most Italian wines made from “outsider” grapes tend to be rich and boisterous, these are all incredibly graceful.
Orvieto Noe dei Calanchi 2015
This is classic, central Italian white wine composed of Grechetto, Trebbiano and Pinot Grigio. It is vaguely but pleasantly aromatic with a lightly viscous and yeasty-briochey character on the mid-palate. The tricky part is the finish, which has a pleasing astringency that is quintessentially old school Italian. This quality coupled with almost biting acidic relief makes this wine incredibly refreshing. It pretty much tastes of summer with its flavors of white peach skin, yellow plums and anise seed. Moreover, at its gentle price point, you’d expect it to be simpler than it is; however, it punches above its weight in QPR.
Chardonnay Calanci di Vaiano 2014
This wine has a lovely, almost carefree character between its pale yellow color dotted with green highlights and exuberantly citrusy nose. It turns richer on the palate thanks to its generous – though well-integrated - alcoholic strength. Through and through, there is excellent apricot and peach fruit purity. This varietal Chardonnay says that, at last, Italy can make excellent whites, weven its its warmer terroirs.
Chardonnay Falesia 2014
Wow – this “white” wine has a deep gold color accompanied by a rich nose replete with roasted hazelnuts and honeysuckle. Its enormously juicy core and weighty center palate is delightfully lifted by solid acidity. For a central Italian Chardonnay – which can be quite flabby, this is surprisingly well-defined. It shows a lovely nuttiness, mouthfilling richness and an impressively layered flavor profile. There is almost a “Meursault-ness” to this wine.
Pinot Noir Notturno dei Calanchi 2012
With a small brickish tone to the rim, this wine would look to be advancing already. However, its primary fruits on the palate suggest it still has a youthful glow. There are plentiful notes of mulberries and red cherries as well as a delightful earthiness that never lets you forget you are tasting Pinot Nero. This is a bright and fresh cuvée with solid structure. Even for Pinot, the finish can be so crisp as to be almost biting. This young wine could use some additional bottle aging to flesh out its layers of flavors.
Cabernet Franc Atlante 2012
This Cabernet Franc sits perfectly on the fence between gorgeously ripe and pungently refreshing. This razor-sharp balance makes it an excellent choice for the table. Its grippy tannins and full-throttle acidity come off as a bit tart initially, then blackberries, black cherries and licorice fill in the palate. Like in all the d’Amico wines, there is lovely fruit purity here and almost zero hint of oak. The wines are truly graceful.