Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tasting at l'armangia

On my recent trip to Piemonte, everything I thought I knew about how long you can hold Moscato d’Asti was challenged at a tasting at l’armangia. The translator for our Grappa group in Asti gave us the option of touring the city or going to her brother's family winery and doing a tasting there. The group voted unanimously for more wine. 

We arrived in the municipality of Canelli for our tasting. We had previously learned that the family has a winemaking history that began in 1850 though they had been grape growers for at least a hundred years before. They now have approximately 25 acres of vineyards in Canelli, Moasca, and San Marzano Oliveto located between Langhe and Monferrato.

Winemaker and owner, Ignazio Giovine, greeted us. He shared that he farms with respect for the environment. He encourages biodiversity in the vineyards with indigenous plants. He explained that he prefers to use low levels of sulfites and minimal intervention in his production. He has wine featured in the upcoming Slow Wine 2019 Guide as well. 

What we weren't expecting was a vertical tasting of Moscato d’Asti wines from several vintages ranging from 2017-1995 but first, we started with a dry red. 

Vignali Nizza DOCG Riserva 2015 - This Barbera wine is sourced from old vineyards in Nizza and aged in new oak barrels for 12 months followed by additional aging for 10 months in large oak casks. Full bodied with great depth and freshness with fruity aromas and flavors of red berries and plum with notes of tobacco and coffee and a hint of almond in the lingering finish.

Moscato d'Asti DOCG Canelli 2017 - Classic aromas and flavors of citrus blossom, lemon zest, peach, sage, and honey, fresh and effervescent.Moscato d'Asti DOCG Canelli 2015 - Still fresh and sparkling with aromas and flavors of citrus blossom, pear, kumquat, sage, and honey.
Moscato d'Asti DOCG Canelli 2008 - Alive and well, but lighter, with hints of lemongrass and ginger with a tropical fruit flavor, and a fresh, sweet citrus finish.
Moscato d'Asti DOCG Canelli 2007 - Cork issue. Slightly flat with light notes of peach and lemongrass. 
Moscato d'Asti DOCG Canelli 1997 - Baked peach aromas and flavors but the bubbles and floral aromas had disappeared over its 21 years. This was the last bottle left of this vintage.
Moscato d'Asti DOCG Canelli 1995 - Caramelized pineapple aromas and flavors but also lacking any spritz or floral notes, very similar to the '97. This vintage was a cool year and the first that he had bottled under the L'Armangia label.

Mesicaseu Vendemmia Tardiva 2016 - This wine is a blend of 75% Moscato Bianco Canelli and 25% Chardonnay. Very floral with perfumed aromas and sweet tropical fruit flavors.

This was a very interesting tasting for me. In wine classes, I had always been told to drink Moscato d'Asti wines when they are young and I had never deviated from that advice. I assumed the wines would either fall apart or have off-flavors if aged. This was not true in this retrospective line up. Before we started the tasting, Giovine confirmed the wines do change after two and a half to three years and may not display typical Moscato aromas and flavors, but, as time goes on, the wines will evolve again into the more pleasant profiles that we enjoyed here.
All the wines are highly recommended.