Review: Bergamot Wine Co. Italian Wine Club
Tired of wine clubs that just send out mass-produced plonk with a bespoke label? Check out Bergamot Wine Co., a wine club that offers exclusively Italian imports, one of the most complicated wine regions in the world — and a region that’s ripe for exploration and education.
$105 per month gets you four bottles, which may or may not be organized along a theme. For October 2018, the theme was “four corners,” with the four wines hailing from the farthest, most remote corners of Italy, some of which are better known than others. We sampled the mailing to gauge what subscribers could expect from the operation, though — as always with a wine club — shipment composition will of course change every month.
Bergamot says you can cancel any time, and additional bottles purchased ship for free. Prices below are representative of the actual price of the wine. While the rose seems to be overly expensive, at retail prices you’re looking at $90 of wine, shipped to you for $105. Not a bad deal for some generally high quality bottlings.
Let’s take a look.
2016 Giovi Etna Rosato Nerello Mascalese Etna DOP – From the isle of Etna comes this very dry rose made from nerello mascalese, very lightly floral with notes of unripened fruit (strawberries, per the official Bergamot tasting notes). The wine becomes quite salty as it develops on the tongue, a mix of grapefruit and tangerine peel emerging as the palate builds toward a tight, drying finish. B / $39
2016 Ottin Petite Arvine Aosta Valle d’Aoste DOP – This wine, from the originally Swiss petite arvine grape, hails from the northwestern tip of Italy, a remote, mountainous region which seldom sees wines coming to the U.S. Notes of grapefruit and a little bit of sugar syrup offer a strange sense of balance here, with a gripping, acidic, and lightly herbal conclusion. B+ / $20
2015 Ronchi di Cialla Friuli Colli Orientali Ribolla Nera Schioppettino Rosso DOC – This wine is made from the schioppettino grape, grown in Friuli in the far northeast of Italy. Boldly fruity, the notes of cherry and violets are prominent, almost pungent, fading to a light balsamic note as the finish — tart, and lightly spicy — finally arrives. The body is modest in weight, with just a touch of meatiness to it. On the whole, it’s a fresh and vibrant wine with all kinds of drinkability (especially at 12.5% abv). A- / $17
2010 Cosimo Taurino Notarpanaro Negroamaro Salento Rosso IGT – Negro amaro is a “workhorse” varietal from Puglia, the “heel” of Italy. This is a 100% negro amaro wine, which is reportedly quite rare. Initially bold and brooding, this chewy wine has a leathery, lightly meaty core, its cherry-heavy fruit definitely starting to show oxidation. These notes work with one another surprisingly well, bringing an acidity to what could otherwise be a dusty, austere experience. With some time exposed to air, the fruit evolves in glass, offering a certain elegance to the experience. Classic “old” Italian. A- / $15