Wednesday, 18 May 2011


At the London International Wine Fair (LWIF) there were acres, (hectares?) devoted to the wines of Italy and Sicily in a kind of village at the right hand end of the exhibition hall. here Cmpanalismo reigned. Asking for Tocai Rosso under 'veneto' one was referred perhaps to Lombardia, then to Friuli with the vaguest of waves (actually no one had this interesting variety to offer) and on asking a Western Sicilian producer if he had any Nerello Cappuccio, we were told that this was an eastern Sicilian variety and they were somewhere 'over there' with a gesture which might have indicated Bongo-Bongo land. Operatically we have heard of the division between Palermo and Catania so this is not limited to the wine world.

So to the Monferrato (Piemonte) stand where we idly asked them if they had any unfamiliar grape varieties. Might we have heard of Albarossa? Huh? ALBAROSSA!!! No we had not. And so, dear Slotovino reader we were introduced to a crossing of Nebbiolo and Barbera made by Prof. Dalmasso in 1938 and propagated by him for 30 years at the Tenuta Cannona (Centro Sperimentale Vitivinicolo della Regione Piemonte).

The taste was good - more than the sum of the parts. In other words a symbiosis rather than a combining of two tastes - just what differentiates a crossing from a blend perhaps. Albarossa may not have caught on the way Rebo (Merlot x Teroldego) has caught on. Indeed we tasted our first Rebo at the LIWF. We think we might hav preferred the Albarossa.

Whether there will be any takers in the British market for either is a point that is truly moot. Peccato.

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