Wandering around Roostock earlier this year, a rather dashing fellow caught my eye. Placed next to the irrepressible Brad Hickey, his stall was poorly attended, so I took the opportunity to taste through the range.
The man turned out to be Olek Bondonio, Piedmontese producer of a small range of reds, some made of the usual suspects (Nebbiolo, Barbera) others showcasing less common varieties (for example, Grignolino). On tasting, what they shared was an honest deliciousness that instantly won me over. I wasted no time in placing an order.
I decanted this the first evening and tasted it over two nights. It has benefited from as much time as I’ve been able to give it. Initially bound up with tannin and the sort of flavour profile that makes one wonder whether there was any fruit used in the making of the wine at all, this has opened up to become a classically proportioned wine, albeit one that exists almost entirely in a savoury dimension. The nose smells more like essential oils than fruit, perfumed in a decorative rather than nutritive way. So much the better as far as I’m concerned; it’s a very pretty aroma, redolent of flowers and spice and undergrowth.
The palate is certainly more yielding than it was when I first opened the bottle, but remains a satisfyingly tannic experience. It’s only light to medium bodied but shows good power and intensity of flavour. There are pure savoury fruits at its core, brown and red in character, while a range of less straightforward notes play at the edges. It’s quite rustic, really, and I don’t use that term as a euphemism for anything faulty, rather as an indication of the transparency and straightforwardness of the wine. A very clean, lingering finish practically begs for another taste.
This isn’t the last word in complexity or sophistication, but what’s here is honest. A delicious wine.