Saturday, October 06, 2012

Tasted at Vinitaly: Michele Castellani

There are many ways to meet people at Vinitaly. One is to run into someone you know, and be introduced to who he is talking with, and that's what happened here: I had just left a stand when I met up with Lorenzo Begali, who was talking with a gentleman he introduced as Michele Castellani, and suggested I taste the wines. I had another appointment, and when I got back he was gone, so his daughter poured.

 It was the last day and I was too rushed to converse, but they are located in Marano della Valpolicella, where they have 40 hectares of vineyards planted to the three classic varietals of the Valpolicella, Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara.

Castellani Campo del Biotto  Calpolicella Classioc 2011
Lot 12/53
Lively cherry ruby with violet reflections and cherry rum. The bouquet is fresh, with a slight pungency that is due to recent bottling and will fade, while there is also berry fruit supported by some greenish accents and slight sandalwood. Fresh. On the palate it's ample and fresh, with moderately intense berry fruit supported by warm smooth light tannins and moderate acidity that has a slight greenish overlay and flows into a warm slightly peppery finish with slight tannic underpinning. Pleasant, in a slightly softer key, and this is attributable to the heat in August and September. It will drink quite well with foods, supporting rather than taking center stage, and you may need a second bottle.
2 stars

Castellani Valpolicella Classico Superore Ripasso 2010
 Lot 12/16
This ages in large wood for about 18 months. Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is quite young, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by mentholated accents and some balsamic notes, and also sea salt and some deft jammy notes. Pleasant, and still coming together. On the palate it's bright, with lively fresh wild cherry fruit supported by tannins that have a slight flinty bitterness, and by deft sour berry fruit acidity that flows into a clean berry plum finish supported by lasting acidity. Pleasant, and very fresh; it needs another year for the nose to come together, and will be quite versatile, working well with a wide variety of red meats and also roasts; I might be tempted to serve it with stuffed turkey too.
2 stars

Castellani Campo Casalin Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 2008
Lot 12/41
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, with considerable cedar that at present blankets the fruit, which manages to peek out from underneath its coating, revealing some red berry fruit. On the palate it's full, with rich sandalwood laced cherry fruit supported by moderate peppery acidity and tannins that are very smooth and flow into a fairly long cedar laced finish. It's quite international in style, and well made in this style though very young, and needs at least a couple of years to digest the oak. I wouldn't think of opening it before 2016. If you like the international style you will enjoy it, but do be patient.
2 stars (barely)

Castellani Cinque Stelle Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2008
Lot 12/41
This is from vineyards at higher elevations, and is aged in a mix of large and small wood. It's deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is intense, with berry fruit supported by cedar that is quite apparent but not completely predominant, and by sandalwood and some underlying vegetal notes. On the palate it's ample, with powerful spicy cherry fruit laced with sandalwood and supported by some sweetness, and by tannins that have a dusky cedar laced burr, and flow into a fairly long dusky finish with berry fruit and some sweetness, and underlying savory cocoa accents, and sandalwood laced sweetness as the other things fade. It's more approachable that the Campo Casalin, and also more graceful, a powerful wine in a fairly international key that has the fruit and intensity necessary to stand up to the wood, and will with time be quite pleasant. If you are not an absolute traditionalist you will enjoy it.

Castellani Monte Fasenara Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2008
Lot 11/328
Deep pyrope with pyrope rim; it's close to poured ink. The bouquet is fairly intense and fairly sweet, with prune cherry fruit supported by some cedar and fairly bright spice, and also some greenish vegetal notes. On the palate it's full, sweet, and quite smooth, with elegant prune cherry fruit supported by moderate acidity and slight bitter accents, and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a fairly long soft finish with some underlying bitter accents. It's fairly modern in style, and very smooth, with relatively less acidity than some, and is as a result a little simpler; I would sip it far from the table with friends.
1 star

Enjoyable in a middle-of-the-road to modern key, and if you would like more information, check their site.

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