2010 La Crotta di Vegneron, Fumin “Esprit Follet” Vallee d’ Aoste DOC, Italy.
Fumin is now all the rage, this obscure red grape from the Vallee d’ Aoste region of Italy was saved from extinction in the 1980’s and while little is known about it, Fumin is proving to be a hot wine to find these days. Fumin is a dark grape with high tannin and acid levels, and it is very much a fickle grape, as it is very sensitive to soil and climate conditions, but it can make some fantastic wines that flow with energy and elegance here in the high mountain vineyards in the Northern most region of western Italy, close to the French border. In Vallee d’ Aoste there are only a handful of producers, making the wines a rarity, and they produce some intriguing whites and a few reds mostly from Pinot Noir and Gamay, but it is the Fumin that is riding the wine-geek wave at the moment. The 2010 La Crotta di Vegneron Esprit Follet Fumin shows a dark purple and garnet hue in the glass and has a medium body and silky textures, but firm structure with pressing tannins and bright acidity giving vigor and heightening the spicy flavors. There is a burst of licorice and blackberry fruit on the palate while candied cherry and mountain herbs and lavender notes rise in the background along with touches of briar and black currant. With air this wine fills out and becomes more generous, making me think it should develop more depth and complexity with some cellar time, though I must admit it is fun and lovely now and I would have a hard time not drinking up a few bottles earlier than I should, this wine is sheer coolness, find it if you can!
($40 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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