Thursday, 21 October 2010

Enoteca Costantini, Roma

Passing through Roma, we had to make a pilgrimage again to Enoteca Costantini whose Aladdin's cave held such promise and where we had first encountered our beloved Vernaccia Nera. Again we were not disappointed, despite a false start in the form of a retainer with only fitful understanding or interest in what we were after.

As in Parma, both he and the more collaborative colleague we subsequently buttonholed pointed us to a Piemontese blend which they swore was an indiginous grape variety. A misunderstanding which was clarified by reading the minute print on the back label.

Nevertheless, we exited like Max Bialystock coming out of the bushes waving an old lady's check with the following two treasures:

1. A Nero Buono from Lazio. The only known facts about Nero Buono seem to be that it is rarely found, that it comes from the area around a place called Cori and that it is "used as a blending-component in the red Cori DOC. The grape is said to add good colour, concentration and tannins to the blend. With this grape added the wines ability to age increases." The London merchant Slurp has a version from Poggio le Volpi. Their website says "The Poggio le Volpi estate was established in the 1990s by Felice Mergé. The vineyards are situated in Frascati (Lazio). This is an elegant and velvety wine with a lingering finish showing aromas of berries, chocolate, liquorice and coffee in the background." £21.60. Our version was considerably cheaper quite understandably. It seems a pattern is emerging in our discoveries of worthwhile new grapes. So many have been used to add colour or body to blends. We only have to think of Alicante Bouschet, Persan, Ancelotta etc. We have similar hopes for Nero Buono.

2. Cagnulari - a grape from Sardegna.

Here's another fine mess. According to Wikipedia, this is both Graciano and Morrastel (which we thought was Mouvedre) from Spain - understandable considering Sardegna's centuries under Spanish rule. However, Wikipedia warns us severely that Morrastel (with one 'l') is not Mourvedre: Il ne faut surtout pas le confondre avec le morastell ou monastrell (with 2 'l's) des pays catalans qui est en réalité le mourvèdre, il est vrai que ce dernier ressemble de beaucoup au Morrastel.

On another ampelographic website, synonyms also include Bastardo Nero which we thought we had heard in connection with Trousseau but all the lists of synonyms equate Bastardo (without the Nero) with Trousseau Noir (i.e. with the Nero). Could Bastardo be different from Bastardo Nero? That would really be too much to swallow (joke). NB also our friend Tintilla making an appearance here;

Bastardo Nero, Bois Dur, Bordelais, Cagliunari, Cagnonale, Cagnovali Nero, Cagnulari, Cagnulari Bastardo, Cagnulari Sardo, Cagnulatu, Caldareddu, Caldarello, Cargo Muol, Courouillade, Courouillade, Couthurier, Drug, Graciana, Graciano Tinto, Grosse Negrette, Jerusano, Karis, Marastel, Matarou, Minostello, Minustello, Monastel, Monestaou, Morastel, Morestel, Morrastel, Mourastel, Perpignan, Perpignanou Bois Dur, Plant De Ledenon, Tinta Do Padre Antonio, Tinta Miuda, Tintilla, Uva Cagnelata, Xeres, Xerez, Zinzillosa, Cendrón, Juan Ibáñez, Tanat Gris, Tintilla de Rota.

the ever informative and eclectic Caves de Pyrene has its own list of synonyms for Cagnulari;

(a.ka. Cagnorali nero, also a.k.a. Cagnonale)also a.k.a. cagliunari in Alghero, also a.k.a. cagnulari Sardo, also a.k.a. Tinta Miuda also a.k.a. caldareddu( in Gallura) recommended in the provinces of Cagliari, Oristano and Sassari.

They go on to say;

It is said to have come from France( in the second half of the 19th century) under the incorrect name of Mourvedre, but it is in fact very different from Mourvedre, and it is also said to come from Spain( during the Aragonese occupation of the island between 1322 and 1713. It is in particular found in the province of Sassari. it is very rarely vinified alone. there are 250 ha of Cagnulari planted in Sardinia.

Whatever. We love Graciano so an Italian version promises a great deal. We are looking forward to tasting this bottle, again thanks to Enoteca Costantini.

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