Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baglio di Vincenzo Catarratto Lucido

The Biscardo brothers, Maurizio and Martino, are, as best I can determine, operators of a rather low-profile Italian wine empire. Based in the Veneto, where they make Soave, Pinot Grigio, and Valpolicella (including a very popular and well-priced Ripasso), they also have operations in Puglia, where they make Primitivo, and in Sicily where they produce Nero d'Avola, Merlot, and the subject of this review, Catarratto Lucido. I've met Martino twice now, and he's one of these guys who is always “on,” enthusiastic about his wines and everything else that comes into his line of vision. He's the sales/marketing brother; Maurizio, the elder brother, is the winemaker. Baglio di Vincenzo is a new project for them. Back in the  day, I probably sold several hundred bottles of his Ripasso, and somewhat less of his Primitivo and Merlot. The wines were always good, and often excellent values. The Catarratto Lucido is a lot better than good, and it is a seriously good value. It is grown on a 100-acre property, where the fruit is hand-picked and the wine is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel.

Baglio di Vincenzo Catarratto Lucido IGT Sicilia 2011: Opens with aromas of stone fruit and cinammon; on the palate, intense flavors of a whole Bosc pear, skin and flesh, an undertone of citrus, plus an almost cider-like quality (long maceration, I'm guessing—the grape is famously thick-skinned). The texture is rich, almost grainy. The finish is clean, with a bit of almond showing up at the end. We had this with tilefish (it's been really good lately and the price is right) that the Chef fixed up in the Sicilian style, with tomato, capers, and golden currants. We'd opened a $30 Slovenian Ribolla the night before, and the Cattarratto showed more intensity and complexity at less than half the price. It's brought into the U.S. by the estimable Lukas Livas of CHL, and is available at the Asheville Wine Market. I think it is a spectacular value. Run, don't walk, etc.

You can learn many surprising facts about the Catarratto Lucido grape at Rob Tebeau's Fringewine blog.

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