Falesco Tellus Syrah Lazio IGT (2009)
For a while now, Italy’s vintners have been embracing “international” varietals, and – to be perfectly honest – it’s not a trend I particularly care for. Though there is no doubt Super Tuscans have generated quite a bit of buzz, they are the main source of my consternation. It’s not that there is anything wrong with Super Tuscans – some of them are very good, but for me the ones that only contain Bordeaux varietals have me wondering “what’s the point?” Why not just drink a Bordeaux? Of course there are some that feature Sangiovese alongside the French grapes, which I find more appealing, but even then tend to prefer wines that focus on and feature natively (or longtime) Italian varietals more prominently.
As an Italian-American cook, who was raised eating and cooking Italian food, I guess I gravitated towards the “if it grows together it goes together” mentality when I started to get into wine. Varietals like Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Aglianico and all the other Italians are great examples of this, as they often pair wonderfully with food indigenous to the region where they thrive. Cabernet and Merlot, on the other hand, don’t often come to mind when pairing with Italian cuisine.
All that said, I freaking love Syrah. It smells like bacon! So, when I saw that Italy was starting to bring in Syrah in the southern areas, I was intrigued, despite my general distaste for internationals on Italian soil. This Falesco, it turns out, is the first one I’ve had. Though it is certainly done in an international style, and lacks much “Italian-ness”, it was a rather enjoyable wine and a great deal at $14. I paired it with Pork Tenderloin and Romesco sauce, which, if you are keeping score, is not Italian cuisine. Mediterranean maybe.
By the way, for some reason Pennsylvania is calling this a “red blend”, even though it is 100% Syrah.
Also, weird bottle, huh?
Decanted about an hour. Nose features smoky bacon plus something vegetal – broccoli? Palate offers ripe, dark fruits like cherries and blackberries. Decent amount of vanilla on the finish, which is a little harsh. At times, it is almost like licking the inside of the oak barrel. (Almost – not quite.) I only bought one of these, but it’d be interesting to see if the oak and chalky tannins would integrate better in a year or two. At $14, I’ll probably pick up a few more if I see it again (though I’m not going to go out of my way).