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07 October 2005

Il Briccone: The Puzzler

As I stood preparing risotto, utilizing all the mental horsepower I could muster, I took a sip of Primo Estate's Il Briccone (the rogue) 2001.  Everything came to a screeching halt.  I damn near scorched the leeks!  I placed the wine glass out of reach so I wouldn't suffer a second risotto incident.

Once the risotto was conquered and thoroughly taste-tested, I devoted my full attention to Il Briccone (keep in mind, I'm a guy - my brain can't handle two things at once).  I sniffed dried cherry, plum, and a bit of licorice.  I double-checked the label; it was indeed from Oz.  I took a sip.  The wine was tannic but not chewy.  It was incredibly restrained - not fruit-forward, but downright old world-ish.

Finally, I broke down and read the back label (you don't want to be lost with me):

"..then keeping them [the Italian grape varieties] from new oak."

IlbricconeMystery solved.  The 2001 Il Briccone is a Shiraz-Sangiovese blend; peppered with Barbera, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon (the current release, 2003, is a blend of Shiraz and Sangiovese spiced with Nebbiolo & Cabernet).  This is an atypical Aussie blend (and that's saying something) vinified in an atypical manner (no new oak).  Both factors, combined with the wine's maturity, contribute to making Il Briccone seem less big & bold and more rich & layered.
The verdict: ***.5 (3.5 stars out of 5)

By the way, Primo also does a unique white wine.
I'm also interested to know if Cam, of Appellation Australia, has any opinions on Primo Estate.


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Beau - I'm sure Cam will have lots to say but I knew I had a couple of Joseph wines in the cupboard I call the cellar. A Joseph's Angel Gully Shiraz 01 which was a gift I have yet to drink. The other is a Joseph Cab Sav Merlot 99. I bought a couple of bottles at the time. They are made in the Amarone style and I had only tried Italian made Amarone. Joseph is of Italian heritage so I expected it would be good wine. And I knew the distributor in NZ. Always useful when you want a good price! When I opened the first about 2003, it was far too early. I will open the other within the next 6 months before we make the move (home) to Australia. I have a bit of wine to get through over the next 6 months as we don't plan on taking any with us. Call in if you are passing!!

Last weekend I bought a NZ made Amarone style from the cellar door at Vin Alto. Another Italian living in NZ. At $80 I expect it to be good.


Hi Barbara

I have one of those types of cellars also :)
The Joseph's sound interesting, indeed. Actually, I'm looking to come to NZ in early '06 - perhaps I'll drop by and help you with your wine dilemma!



Please do. Just get here before we leave (possibly April '06).

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