Richard Klein established Artigiano Imports in 2002 to bring into New Zealand artisan foods and wines at affordable prices. The business has been an astounding success and now he brings in refrigerated containers of wines, 9,000 bottles in each shipment. Most of the wines are what Richard calls “work horses”, which are high turnover, value bottlings. With the volume of wine he is importing comes the freedom to experiment with smaller quantities of more ‘interesting’ wines, including organic, biodynamic and even ‘natural’ wines, some of which extend the pricing envelope into the top shelf. The wines come from all over Italy, and I’d imagine few people could match Richard’s strong eclectic range of true artisan wines. www.artigianoimports.co.nz
An Overview Tasting
Richard invited a number of Wellington hospitality and wine trade, as well as media, to attend a tasting of a selection of his new wine arrivals at Lorretta, the new eatery on Cuba Street. The aim was to show the breadth and variety of wines in the portfolio. There were over 20 wines opened for tasting.
My overall impression was of the incredible diversity of the wines in their style and flavours. Secondly, the European trait of textures over fruit expression cam through very strongly, and the whites looked remarkably refreshing and thirst-quenching, clearly designed to freshen the palate, whereas the reds invariably demanded food to make them accessible and understandable. And thirdly, the alienness of the wines to what the New World can offer, in terms of variety, stood out
I didn’t have the opportunity of making full notes, but only the gaining the briefest of impressions. Richard will be sending a selection of the wines for ‘Feature Review’ in the near future, so keep an eye out for them. Here are my thoughts on what I tasted. The wines are in approximate geographical progression from north to south:
White and Orange Wines
From Veneto, were the Gino Fasoli ‘Borgoletto’ Soave 2013, with positive white stonefruits, herbs and firm crispness, plus the Gino Fasoli ‘Perantonie’ Chardonnay delle Venezie 2013, very light, flinty and minerally, and a little lean.
Le Marche was represented by the Fattoria San Lorenzo ‘Il Gino’ Vedicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2013, refined and lifted with exotic herbs and flowers and an acid bite. Neighbouring from Abruzzo was the Jasci & Marchesani Pecorino 2013, musky and peppery with a savoury notes from the phenolics.
A fascinating Toscana comparison was between the Montenidoli ‘Tradizione’ Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2011, textured with considerable depth and breadth of savoury herb and nutty flavours, and the Montenidoli ‘Fiore’ Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2011, much more refined and steely, withpurity and linearity.
An Ocone ‘Flora’ Falanghina 2013 from Campania had intense herbal flavours and crisp, zingy acidity. while the Arianna Occhipinti ‘Terre Sicilliane’ ‘SP 68’ Bianco 2013 from Sicily had lovely muskiness and some soapy textures, similar to good Gewurztraminer.
Rounding out the white wines was an ‘Orange’ wine from Emilia Romagna, the Podere Pradarolo ‘Vej 270’ 2007, distinctly orange in colour with citrus and hoppy characters and a substantially textured, grippy mouthfeel.
Red and Rosé Wines
Two wines from Piemonte were the Anna Maria Abbona Lnghe Nebbiolo 2011, ethereal, slender, but with intense fruit sweetness. One of the stars was the Punset Barbera d’Alba 2012, with its fulsome body and primary plum and tar fruit flavours.
From Emilia Romagna was the Paltrinieri ‘Greto’ Lambrusco 2013, deeply purple coloured, brisk and fizzy with sweet jam and herb flavours. Le Marche was represented by two wines. The Azienda Fiorano ‘Terre di Giobbe’ Marche Sangiovese 2012, tarry, leathery then releasing sweet dark cherry fruit with a slippery line and a bitter finish, and the Giovanni Giusti Lacrima di Morro d’Alba 2012, packed with savoury herbs and rustic with a tough, textured grippy palate that demands game meat.
A natural wine from Calabria, the L’Acino ‘Chora’ Rosso Calabria 2012 was tough, extracted and sinewy, but full of character. A rosé wine from Puglia, the Azienda Monaci ‘Girofle’ Salento Rosata 2013 had fresh strawberries and lifted florals and an oily, slippery texture and flow. Then a wine from Sardegna, the Cantine Gallura Cannonau del Sardegna 2009, akin to a savoury Pinot Noir with earthy strawberry flavours, quite a delight.
I tasted five wines from Sicily, all natural. The Arianna Occhipinti ‘SP68’ Rosso Terre Siciliane 2012 was rich, sweet, lush and plummy with boysenberry opulence, underlined by good tannin and acidity. Then a pairing, the Azienda Agr. COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2011, elegant, refined, perfumed with tightness and great vitality of red fruit. This with the Azienda Agr. COS Pithos Rosso Amphora2012, with intensely spicy fruit and firm dry tannin extraction and fine cutting acidity. The last were a pairing from Etna, the Girolamo Russo ‘A Rina’ Etna Rosso 2012, pale and slim, with a tight, sinewy texture and acid cut, the finale being the Girolamo ‘San Lorenzo’ Etna Rosso 2011, a wine of density, depth and a firm, substantial palate with packed-in flavours.
Richard Klein – Artigiano Imports
Richard Klein – Artigiano Imports