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5218 Lawton Avenue
Oakland, CA 94114


Oliver McCrum Wines has been importing small production Italian wine and distributing to fine retail and restaurant establishes throughout California since 1994. Over time, our portfolio of producers has steadily grown to over 45 producers from 15 different regions of Italy. We look for typical Italian wines with clarity and freshness, usually made from indigenous Italian grape varieties using clean, transparent winemaking techniques and no obvious use of oak. 


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Filtering by Tag: Southern Italy

Galloni Producer Profile: Contrade di Taurasi

Michele Boscia

Antonio Galloni wrote a very nice review of Contrade di Taurasi, also known as Cantine Lonardo, and the wines on his site, Vinous. Taurasi is one of the most important red wines appellations in all of Italy, and we are quite pleased that Cantine Londardo/Contrade di Taurasi is being recognized as one of the top producers. Read the producer profile below and click on the 'show all the wines' link to see the individual wine reviews. 

Taurasi Rising - Cantine Lonardo

Last week I had a superb bottle of Mastroberardino’s 1985 Taurasi, which was a poignant reminder of just how gorgeous these wines can be. That bottle brought back memories of the Mastroberardino vertical I did back to 1928 a few years ago, a tasting that remains vividly etched in my mind, even today. I had a badly sprained ankle, and had to travel down to Baltimore the following day for a meeting with my colleagues, but none of that mattered at all. The wines were transcendental.

Ian D’Agata is our man on the ground in Campania now, but I recently saw an offer on a Lonardo Taurasi that floored me when I tasted it a few months ago, so I thought I would share these notes. Needless to say, if you can find the wines – especially the vineyard designates – don’t hesitate. There are only a handful of wines in the world that are so deeply evocative of a grape, a place and a vintage. Readers will find all of that - and so much more - here.

Cantine Lonardo is a small estate located in Irpinia, in the heart of the Aglianico production zone. A few weeks ago, we featured the 2010 Irpinia Aglianico, which is a superb value. The current Taurasi releases are even better. Lonardo makes four Taurasis, including a Riserva (which was not in my most recent tasting) and two vineyard designates; the Coste which emerges from 40 year-old vines on American rootstock on clay-limestone soils and the Vigne d’Alto, which is sourced from a parcel of 70-100 year-old vines on a combination of American rootstock and own-rooted vines planted on volcanic ash soils. Late harvests (typical of Aglianico), and long macerations lasting two-plus months are the rule. The vineyard designates are aged in 5HL casks, while, the straight Taurasi is done in a combination of cask and stainless steel. These are big, powerful wines built on concentration, structure and intense aromatics that capture the essence of what Aglianico and Taurasi are all about. The 2009s are a bit more open today than the 2008s, but both vintages will drink well for many, many years. Simply put, these are some of the most compelling wines being made in Italy today.

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-- Antonio Galloni

Read the article on his site:

More 2014 mid-vintage reports: Southern Italy

Michele Boscia

We bring you more mid-vintage reports for 2014, this time from Southern Italy. The news is bleak with more reports of cool rainy weather through the summer months with the exception of Sicily where they seem to have had more warm weather and less rain than other parts of Italy. Additionally Villa Dora reports that the rainy weather was not a problem in their area as the sandy volcanic soils dry up minutes after the rain ends. The best wines of 2014 will likely be the white wines and rosés as we saw in 2013. The final news about the reds remains to be seen and will depend greatly on how hard the producers work in the vineyards as well as some amount of luck. 

Ciro Biondi, Mount Etna, Sicily, September 23rd

"Here we are starting the 2014 harvest, at the moment the grapes look better  than I can ever remember ! However, the weather has been rather strange, it's been extremely hot for September and was 35c yesterday. There has been a little rain but not too much. We think we will probably start picking the white next week and then go on to pick the red after that."

Grifalco, Mount Vulture, Basilicata, September 23rd

"It is since 1992 that I didn’t see a kind of season like that. And 1992 was been much better.

After a spring quite warm, we didn’t have a really winter, in June the vines were in early on time. The temperature in April and May were around 25°.

Then, it started a crazy weather. Cold, raining and cold again. We have had just four weeks of summer, sparse during three months.

At the beginning we started to fight against Peronospera,  and a lot of grass who was growing day after day. Rain, hailstorm and rain again. It rains at least two times per week. As organic producer, we had more trouble than usual, but also the conventional producers were in the same mess. ( casini..)  

Now, at the moment what I can say is that we need at least three weeks before to start the harvest. We have now quite low temperature, around 13 ° in the night, and this is a good news, but we need sun and dry weather. We have lost at least 30% of the production, and the percentage of the sugar in the grape is still quite low. During the last two weeks, we went in the vineyards taking off leaves and a 20% of the grape, intending in this way to let the grape more ventilate and less attacked by mold. IF WE DO the harvest, we will produce only Gricos and I hope also Grifalco.  

It is a very difficult season, Michele and Oliver! But we still believe that at the end something good will be collected and brought to the cellar." 

Villa Dora, Mount Vesuvius, Campania, September 17th

"We had a normal bud break, as usual in April. On the slopes of the mount Vesuvius we had only a soft rain, of course more than other years, but without problems because of the really dry lavic soil. We think it is most similar to Vintage 2002. We think that the harvest will be, as usual, in the second half of September." 

Contrade di Taurasi, Campania, September 13th

"The temperatures of this year in the months of May, June, July, and September were below the average of the last 10 years but last year as well we had a spring/summer similar to this one rather rainy and with temperatures rarely reaching 30 degrees celsius. We don't know yet if the harvest will be early or late. At the moment all the summer fruits were slow to ripen so it is probable that we will have a delayed ripening also for the grapes but the harvest will depend on so many factors such as the rain, the sun, and eventually the mildew attacks that could break out in October and November."

Terranima, Puglia, September 12th

"Budbreak was some 2 weeks later than usual this year due to cooler late winter/early spring. May, June and July were cooler than usual (in July there were also no heat waves as sometimes happens) with above average rainfall. August was average, again with no heat waves that normally tend to speed ripening up. Result was the latest harvest I can remember: we started harvesting Chardonnay and Sauvignon in 1st week of September vs the usual 2nd/3rd week of August. (Similar to)  Maybe 2006."

Casale Marchese, Frascati, Lazio, September 12th

"Bud break happened around the end of April (around April 20th), this is the average in our area. This year we had excessive rainfall, especially in June / July, with some hail in June. Temperatures were rather cool. August was better, nearly no rain and warm weather (28-30°C). This has been a very particular year due to the heavy rainfalls, so it has not been similar to any other recent year, except for last year that has been rather rainy too. Usually here it rains until June and then we have lots of sun and rather dry summer weather. This year we will start harvesting a little later, about 10 days later than normal, because the grapes need to mature a little more. Usually we start at the end of August / beginning of September, this year the grapes (at least great part of the varieties) will be ready around mid September."