2012 Cantine I Favati, Aglianico “Cretarossa” Irpinia Campi Taurasini DOC, Campania, Italy.
The beautifully integrated and textured I Favati Cretarossa, made from 100% Aglianico, is very Nebbiolo like in character and this vintage is really coming together nicely with layered fruit, spice, earth and soft woody notes. This is medium/full bodied stuff and while tannic by nature, this has a stylish and poised form with lovely mouth feel without losing the slightly raw and rustic charm that comes with this grape, sometime referred to as the Barolo of the south. I love the wines from Cantine I Favati, especially their gorgeous Fiano di Avellino, which along with Marisa Cuomo’s whites are some of my favorites, as well as this value priced Aglianico, these are polished examples, clean and focused, but with a sense of place and without pretense. This pretty and subtly robust Aglianico is from the Irpinia Campi Taurasini zone of Campania set on Hilly terrain with mostly hardened clay and mineral rich soils. The I Favati team is small and is a tightly run ship with Giancarlo Favati, Managing Director, Piersabino Favati, who is Vineyard Manager, Rosanna Petrozziello, wife of Giancarlo, who is a professional sommelier and knows her stuff, I enjoyed learning from her very much on one of her visits to San Francisco, she is also the marketing manager for the I Favati brand worldwide. Carmine Valentino is the winemaker is the winemaker and cellar master for Cantine I Favati and when you taste these wines, you can taste the talent here and the finesse he coaxes out of these grapes.
The I Favati winery is located today in Cesinale, a town and surrounding hilly area in the heart of Irpinia, east of Naples, in the, as mentioned, region of Campania. The wines currently produced at I Favati are, as noted, a fabulous set of Fiano di Avellino D.O.C.G.(s), a very savvy Greco di Tufo D.O.C.G. and this Aglianico d’Irpinia DOC, plus a lighter I.G.T. Aglianico. The Cretarossa, which is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless vat/tank, sees one year of aging in small oak barrels, and after the 12 months in wood it is racked back to tank for another 3 months of aging/settling before bottling. The finished wine comes in at around 14% and punches way above its weight with a studied form and complexity that usually come from wines twice the price. The grapes come Favati’s Cretarossa Vineyard in Venticano, San Mango in the province of Avelllino at between 1,480-1640 feet above sea level, which helps retain fresh detail and acidity. The mouth is layered, in this crimson/garnet and dark brick hued wine, with dried violets, sticky lavender, iron ore, brandied cherry, plum, minty/menthol, anise and tar all wrapped around a core of dusty raspberry and plum fruit that dominates the palate along with a nice mineral streak, saline, cassis and a hint of cedar. The earthy nature and sanguine (blood) events have faded into the background allowing the fruit to shine and while evident, the tannin is ripe and easy to deal with, as with most Italian reds, food is most welcome and this one really turns on the style with robust cuisine, drink over the next 3 to 7 years, it is very impressive, in particular for the price.
($27 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive