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Cantine Cipressi: wines from Molise

We've had on the list for some time now a selection of Italian red wines from Contarini (beware: musical website), which are tasty and affordable, and my favourite of which is the Molise, chocolate-y and smooth beyond what you'd expect from its generic 'good with red meat'-type back label. Contarini is based in the Veneto, but offers wines from around the country. It's a biggish company by the standards of our suppliers generally.

Any road up, it's always been in the back of my mind to see what a Molise from a specialist vineyard in the region would be like, and I couldn't refuse when Aurora from Cantine Cipressi wrote to see if we were interested in trying some authentic DO Molise wines, including one made from Tintilia, the autochthonous (just couldn't hold that word back any longer) grape instead of the more common Montepulciano.

Here's a link to an interview with Claudio Cipressi at Winelibrary.com.

As with the Tintoralba wines, and many another sample we receive, it's

    important to give the wines due respect and the best chance to shine, and
    very hard to find the time even for a disrespectful tasting, had we a mind for such a thing.

Finally we got around to sampling the range. I'm afraid I didn't take pictures - I've scanned the technical sheets that accompanied the bottles - and this is not the original order of tasting.

Macchiarossa DOC Molise Tintilia

This is the wine made from the indigenous grape, and we liked it very much. Its presentation in a tapered bottle makes it look top of the range,cantinecipressi-molisetintiliamacchiarossa.jpg and it's softly spicy, with acidity to balance its tannins making it refreshing now, and promising good drinking for a few years yet. OK! I wrote. Solid, and interesting because of the varietal. A speciality to be proud of.

Mekan DOC Molise Rosso

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The names of the other wines are all taken from the regional dialect, and as long as you've never been a reader of pop science fiction along the lines of Dan Dare or The Trigan Empire &c., they are readily pronounceable, otherwise meaningless neutral names.

Mekan is made from Montepulciano and spends a year in new barrels. The name means "smooth", and this is a soft, full, harmonious, again slightly spicy wine that found favour with us all as something we should all enjoy drinking, and which would sell away nicely.

Rumen DOC Molise Rosso

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You can't win 'em all: this is the unoaked Montepulciano, and we were expecting a very clean, brightly fruity wine, but somehow the Rumen didn't do it for us. There seemed to be a bit more grippy tannin and rather less smoothness about this one. Perhaps it was the excellence of the other bottles; perhaps there was some very low-level fault.

Elkon DOC Aglianico del Molise

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I was fairly excited to be trying this wine, too. A customer had asked for an Aglianico a while back, but the sample or two that we received following that request hadn't really cut the mustard. The Cantine Cipressi Aglianico suggests its robustness with a good ripe-fruit nose, and like its stable-mates is soft, warm, round drinking with a pleasantly coating tannic finish. This is another one that will keep for a while.

There was a white wine, too:Voira IGT Terra degli Osci

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This is a confident and very untypical Chardonnay, blended with a little Trebbiano. It made a powerful impact on first sniff, with all kinds of suggestions from the tasters: fruity, floral, and more besides, but in all cases most un-Chardonnay like: too bright, just unusual. In the mouth the fullness and roundness was closer to type, with some ever-so-slightly confected tropical flavours, but this is a wine that it's a pleasure to drink, though I'm fairly sure it would be a slow seller just because it's on a byway less travelled of the increasingly less travelled road of Chardonnay.

So that's the tasting. We liked the wines and their presentation. They would form an interesting niche, and give us a grape or two that we currently don't represent. We have to decide if we can sell them in practical quantities when we already have an action-packed list to promote. Aurora has been very patient and friendly. Watch this space.

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