Another day, another region, another variety. This time we’re heading northwest from Abruzzo clear on over to Liguria. The grape, completely new to me, is Ormeasco. It’s a local variant on Dolcetto, which hails from Piedmont, inland and north of the Ligurian coast. And the wine is the 2005 “Le Braje” from Lupi ($19.99) a family-owned operation in western Liguria that has earned my gratitude by creating a comprehensive Web site in English. (Granted, I’ve been drinking some fairly obscure wines, but it has been tough to find good information about my Italian Wine Week selections on the Webs so far.)
I’m of two minds about this wine. The nose was incredibly compelling–earthy, dark, with a little leather and black cherry too. It bears no resemblance to any Dolcetto I’ve ever had, which usually feature more accessible, bright aromas. There’s a slight barnyard thing as well. (That means manure, for those who aren’t familiar with this tasting euphemism.) But on the palate, well, there just wasn’t enough “there” there for me. There were some bitter notes up front, which I actually really enjoyed, but then the mid-palate and finish just fell away. I wondered if the fruit had just dried up, as Dolcetto usually produces wines that are meant to be drunk young. But Ormeasco can apparently give more robust and longer-lived wines than its Piedmontese sibling, and the 2005 is, as far as I can tell, the most release. I’m assuming then that this is just the style. Sadly, it’s not the style for me.