Mosaic artists of infinite patience have long decorated interiors and architectural spaces throughout Italy. Piecing together small bits of stone, “smalti” in Italian, mosaics tell of their ancient stories and perhaps envision future ones. A mosaic of Piedmont varietal and terrior, the wines of Icardi reveal to us the past and remind us of the present with impeccable flavor and style.
Early during the 1960’s, while Beatles’ fans screamed and the space race heated up, Cav. Pierino reached a decision to vinify his grapes instead of selling them. Here was laid the first stone, the first “smalti”, of a family philosophy that would build upon the idea of consistent research and a commitment to quality.
The Icardi enterprise is centered around Castiglione Tinella, a town located where the borderlands of two infamous Piemonte terriors, Langhe and Monferrato, coincide. Within these municipalities 75 hectares of Icardi vineyards are spread out over different sites. Organic and biodynamic farming practices are employed demonstrating a remarkable conscience for sustaining healthy land. Quality, both in the vineyard and in the glass, remains the cornerstone of the Icardi mentality.
Today, Icardi heirs Claudio and Mariagrazia are the driving force behind Icardi wines. Their working relationship shows the same harmony and balance as do their wines: Claudio, an oenologist, concentrates on vineyard & cellar operations; Mariagrazia focuses attention upon trade and also works in the cellar.
Cortese l’Aurora 2007
The color of summer hay, this wine has enough body to balance cortese grapes’ crisp acidity. Delicate hints of apples and flowers on the nose, satisfyingly dry with a twist of lemon on the finish. Made of 100% manually harvested, guyot trained cortese from 35 year old vines at 280 meters altitude. Fermentation carried out over 3 weeks in stainless steel. The 2007 should be drinking well all the way through 2010. Food pairing suggestions: The perfect wine for assorted appetizers and first plates of pasta with butter and sage; chicken, turkey, or seafood salads; grilled vegetables.
Dolcetto D’alba Rousori 2004
A kaleidoscope of reflective color in the glass, reddend glints of garnet and flecks of pomegranate. Aromas of blackberry jam on toast, cherry pie. Ripe tannins, moderate acidity, with a rich, velvety mouthfeel. Almond and spice on the finish. 100% dolcetto, manually harvested, from 45 year old Guyot trained vines in calcareous soil at 300 meters altitude. Fermentation carried out over 20 days in stainless steel. Should be drinking well to 2010. Food pairing suggestions: this is one of those incredibly flexible wines that marry well with almost everything on the table, but especially with risotto, bagna cauda, pasta with meat sauce, soft cheeses, stewed or grilled meats.
Barbera D’alba “Suri di Mu” 2005
A finely crafted nose of berry and spice wafts up from gorgeously ruby red molecules of goodness. The fullness of the wine’s body immediately fills the mouth with a wave of balanced fruit and tannins. Round, firmly structured with lots of character and style and an impeccably clean, fruity finish. 100% barbera from 50 year old vines hand harvested from the “Suri di Mu” vineyard. Vinified with soft pressing and a long fermentation / maceration in contact with skins. An 18 month rest in new barrique follows. Should be drinking well till 2015-2018. Food pairing suggestions: this very versatile wine works well with pasta, cheese, hearty soups, but also try this wine with game birds, meat stuffed onions, hearty risotto, polenta casserole with pork & vegetable.
SURISJVAN Nebbiolo Langhe 2003
This wine is to Barolo what Rosso di Montalcino is to Brunello. But closer. Expressive impressions of tar, cherries, pressed roses, and violets and that somewhat mysterious, elegant, soulful, melancholy perfume of good nebbiolo. Traditional vinification of 100 % guyot trained nebbiolo grapes from south/southwest facing vineyards at 300 meters altitude. Frequent pinch-downs and pump-ups. Matured in new barrique for 18 months. Named after Claudio’s son, SURISJVAN means “Evan’s Smile”. SURISJVAN should drink well till 2012-2014. Food pairing suggestions: meat stews, braised beef, cheese fondu, roast lamb, pasta.
Barbaresco “Montubert” 2004
For me, Barbarseco plays the seductive role to Barolo’s ethereal mystery. Here is an excellent expression of a vivid, seductive Barbaresco with bright raspberry and blackberry fruit, jammy and rich, with an earthy, complex finish. Fresh, floral perfume on the nose. Firm tannins. Maturation in new barrique for 30 months after having started life facing south/southwest at 280 meters in calcareous marn. Guyot trained, manually harvested from 40 year old vines located in vineyards @ Montubert – Nieve. Drinking well till 2012-2013. Food pairing suggestions: Slow cooked red meats and game, hearty stews and casseroles, veal cutlets with stuffed with melted cheese, middle ripe cheeses.
Barolo “Parej” 1997
Permit me a digression in order to make a point: We must begin in an unusual place – a 120 year old tobacco shop still in the original storefront across from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, where I sometimes stop to uncover large glass jars of pipe tobaccos and enjoy the rich aromas of cherry, wood, smoke, blackberry, to name a few.
The Point: Barolo “Parej” is an impressionistic synonym for that heady experience. Aromas of cherried tobacco, blackberry jam and spice wind their way out of the glass, following through to a palate full of clean and pure friut. Tannins are so big and round you’d think they were wrapped around the autumn moon for shaping. A long, soft, comtemplative finish that slowly, hauntingly fades away. Enjoy till 2015 give or take a year. 100% nebbiolo grown in the calcareous marn of south facing vineyards at 380 meters. Up to 36 months in new barrique.
Food pairing suggestions: Roasted meats and game, Beef “Brasato al Barolo”, truffled risotto, mature cheeses