Artisan Does Italy

La Baia Del Sol
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It’s been a while since we visited Artisan Wine Depot. (For a retired couple we seem to be awfully busy.) But then we were invited to a tasting of Italian wines, olive oils and imported foods. How could we say no?

The Sponsors

Casa de Case takes its name from Kris and Howard Case. This couple loves Italian food and wine. In 2000 they started Casa de Case as an importer. Their original focus was Italian olive oil. After a few successful years they quit their day jobs to focus on turning Casa de Case into an importer and distributor of Italian foods. Shortly thereafter, they began importing wines from wineries they had visited and enjoyed.

Kris and Howard Case

Kris and Howard Case (click for larger image)

Our usual practice is to review the wines in the order tasted. But this time we’ll make the primary ordering by winery. That way we can give you some background on each winery before moving on to their wines. All prices quoted are the Artisan single-bottle prices, not including shipping and handling.

Mustilli

Be warned: if you visit the Mustilli website and don’t read Italian, have your dictionary ready (or use a web translation service). Italian only written here. But the site itself is visually spectacular.

The first wine featured a new grape, the Falanghina. Well, it was new to us. Specifically, the wine was “Vigna Segreta” 2015 Falanghina (Sannio, Campania, Italy) ($30). That name sounded too short for a good Italian wine so we visited the winery website. Sure enough, the full name is “Vigna Segreta Falanghina del Sannio Sant’Agata dei Goti DOC 2015.” As for the wine, it’s pleasant enough with very light aromas and flavors of white peaches and minerality. If you’re looking for a wine to beat the summer heat that’s guaranteed not to offend any of your guests, this is a good bet.

Mustilli’s “Artus” 2015 Piedirosso di Sannio (Campania, Italy, $30) was our favorite among the reds. Aroma of plums and red fruits, with a delicate finish of floral notes, herbs, lavender, thyme and sage.

La Baia Del Sole

Lo and behold, La Baio Del Sole‘s first wine was a vermentino. And it was our favorite of the event. We first encountered this grape on our visit to Tessa Marie in Los Olivos. The Italian version features much less vermouth flavor. This one is very nice indeed. The wine is the “Oro d’lsee” 2016 Vermentino Colli di Luni (Liguria, ltaly, $16) Our tasting notes feature aromas of peaches and honeysuckle with more peaches and some minerality on the palate. This one qualifies as a BARGAIN.

A second vermentino, “Sarticola” 2015 Vermentino Colli di Luni _ (Liguria, ltaJy, $20) had been kept on the skins a few days. We found it overpowering.

Vermentino nero? Black vermentino? Apparently. The “Prima Brezza” 2015 Rosato IGT (Liguria di Levante, Italy, $15). Not to our taste, but quaffable.

Conclusion

There were several other wineries and wines at this event.  But the nebbilios were too, well, nebbolio-esque.  As always, we’ve reviewed what we liked.

About the author

Tony Lima has been a California wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California Wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. His day job was Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. (He retired in 2016.) His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA ( Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

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