The search is over.
After years of promise, suggestion, innuendo, perseverance and unendingly positive press coverage, an Australian wine producer has finally produced a great wine from a traditional varietal. It will come as little surprise to find that the producer is Pizzini, and the wine in question is the 2003 Coronamento Nebbiolo.
I had the pleasure of tasting a lineup of Alf & Joel Pizzini’s latest releases with Alf himself this week, and can happily report that the standard releases are even more credibly Italianate than ever before, with the aforementioned Nebbiolo serving as the most convincing wine of its type I’ve tasted from an Australian winery. Ever.
Thank God for that.
Pizzini Il Soffio NV
A sparkling rose produced using the saignee (‘bleeding’) method from Sangiovese and Shiraz grapes. Its quite a curious wine, due to its tannic and meaty Sangiovese backbone and particularly dry palate. An interesting food style.
Brilliant pink in colour, the nose shows the Sangiovese influence with that lovely roasted meat and forest berry aroma that’s pure Sangio. The palate is bone dry & savoury with noticeable high acidity, with some very fine tannins also making their present felt.
To my tastes this was quite an intriguing, if a little affronting, Rose style, the acidity prickly, the palate simple too dry and the tannins a questionable component for what is pitched as an easy drinker. On the flipside, I think this would be a really useful food wine that if matched properly would be simply magic.
So the score then is a little low, but with real potential given the right circumstances.
Pizzini Arneis 2008
Very youthful and probably in need of some time to flesh out. Dry, chalky, red apple nose with a strongly dry, similarly chalky palate thats lean & super crisp. Alf Pizzini is working very hard to bring down alcohol and sugar levels in his wines, the firm acidity here is a testament to that. Another style built for food, not tasting. 17.4+
Pizzini Pinot Grigio 2008
As ‘Grigio’ as it comes. It could come from Northern Italy, not Northern Victoria. Traditional, neutral nose with lightly floral, flowery aromatics. Similarly dry palate, thats lightly phenolic & grippy. At first I was a little blah about this, but its light & sprightly character grew on me. 17.1
Pizzini Sangiovese 2006
Perhaps Pizzini’s most famous wine, but this let me down on the palate. Meaty, motor oil & dried roast beef nose that’s authentic and interesting. The palate though is modern, simple and rounded, with sweet chocolatey oak & drying tannins. Obviously in need of time, it feels bland but embryonic. Leave it for 3-5. 16.5++
Pizzini Nebbiolo 2003
You could put this in amongst a lineup of second string Barolos and it wouldn’t look out of place. The problem is that it also shows all the challenging aspects of Nebbiolo. Volatile, typically Neb nose, the palate is typically dried out with strong, but not breathtaking, tannins and just a trace of vanillan oak influencing the rear end. With cheese this sorted itself out into something quite tasty, but it just wasn’t totally convincing or special for $65. 17+
Pizzini Nebbiolo 2000
This just felt like an old Neb. Leather, pepper, oxidative nose, with a woody, dried out palate. Not quite. 15.0
Pizzini Coronamento Nebbiolo 2003
I never realised that this was a single vineyard wine, which subliminally impressed me even more. Such a step up from the standard! Neb. Immediately fresh on the nose which is such a surprise for a Nebbiolo, let alone an Australian one at 6 years of age. The palate is long and quite rich with beautiful savoury black and red fruit. Bigger, richer, deeper and with real, stick your mouth together Neb tannins. Really brilliant and simply delicious. 18.6
Pizzini Brachetto 2008
For all the awkwardness of the Il Soffio, this was smack on perfect. Lovely, bright red/orange in colour with a real Muscaty juicy sticky richness. Red berries, red licorice, cherry liqueur and heaps of sweet cranberry fruit, finishing surprisingly dry. Really refreshing and good. 17.0