Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Time Travelling Through Taurasi with Mastroberardino

It is not every day that one gets an opportunity like the one I had yesterday. The privilege to sit in on one of the most exclusive wine tastings at Vitigno Italia 2010. A horizontal wine tasting of Mastroberardino’s Taurasi.

An opportunity to try, side by side, my Aglianico in version Taurasi by one of the biggest names in Campania. The opportunity to listen to moderators such as Dario Pennino and Massimo Di Renzo from Mastroberardino, journalist Luciano Pignataro, and President Ais Campania Antonio Del Franco.

No front row for me this time…I wanted to be in the second row, to the left where I could experience the wine tasting from all sides. Appreciate the opportunity to sit among professional sommeliers, journalist, and restaurateurs. A chance to observe, absorb, reflect, listen, learn. And that I did. I watched how Gambero Rosso’s Paolo De Cristofaro took in the aromas of each glass, slowly, then would set the glass down and think about the wines. Fabrizio Erbaggio, Ciao Vino, was another person who I enjoyed watching. How he would wait patiently until he felt the wine was ready…important due to the age of the wines…then begin his wine tasting. Look at the glass against a white backdrop, smell, put it down, write a note or two, pick it up, smell again…no, not ready…wait…then taste.

The wines in order of service…

1) Taurasi Riserva 1968

2) Taurasi Riserva 1977

3) Taurasi Riserva 1980

4) Taurasi Radici Riserva 1997

5) Taurasi Radici Riserva 1999

6) Taurasi Radici Riserva 1999 (Cento Trenta)

7) Taurasi Radici Riserva 2001

8) Taurasi Radici Riserva 2003

Eight Wines, Eight Stories. Our moderators took us on a journey of each vintage, the challenges of each year, the satisfaction of the final product. Here are a few notes from the tasting…

In 1977, there was a lot of rain around harvest time. The age of this wine transformed the usual cherry aroma to one that was more concentrated as if in a jam.

1980-Once again, a lot of rain, but also an earthquake. In fact during the vinfication process, the winery lost electricity for a few days. Massimo Di Renzo, Mastroberardino’s wine maker, noted that this gave the wine that caramelized aroma. Dario Pennino “Ti vieni la voglia di mangiare” Paraphrased, while you drink this wine, you get the desire to accompany it with a meal. Pennino  said it evolves, then re-evolves, cambia e ricambia…changes and changes again.

This last point was well noted…Taurasi is a wine that transforms in your glass. The 1968 poured at the beginning of the tasting continued to show its diversity, its evolution during the 75 minute tasting. Taurasi is a wine that breathes, that lives.

1997- Luciano Pignataro pointed out that this was a new era in Taurasi, and for Mastroberardino. The Taurasi wine was only a DOCG for 3 years at this point. Massimo Di Renzo noted that the dry year brings out the perfect balance between the acidity and morbidezza (smoothness).

Two wines from 1999, the second released to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the winery. In these ‘younger’ Taurasis words such as ‘elegant, a complete wine, freschezza’ were spoken. These wines spent their period in the little barrique in respect to the earlier wines who spent time in larger barrels. Di Renzo, however , believes that this wine has plenty to share …with time.

2001 and 2003---young Taurasis, great Taurasis that, who knows, may be the stars of a wine tasting 30 years from now. Who will show that they, too have grown up as their older versions and have evolved with time.

That is the beauty of a wine such as Taurasi, a winery such as Mastroberardino. That is the beauty of experiencing a sitting like this.


  1. Quite a selection of wines, isn't it?

  2. Yes...but what I really enjoyed was the company...the total experience. See you next month...