The Wine Curmudgeon does not often quote back label wine descriptions, but this is one of those times that it is warranted. Bressan, a producer in northeast Italy -- where most of the wines that anyone has ever heard of are white -- has this to say about its red Pignol: “The flavour is almost hidden, as though it is fearful of being discovered.”
I can’t do better than that.
The Pignol (about $80) is one of the most interesting and unique wines I have ever tasted. How, at this age, it can still be almost too young to drink is amazing. I decanted the wine for an hour, and it wasn’t enough. It kept changing over the next 90 minutes as we drank it, getting darker and more Italian over time. It was a completely different wine when we finished -- less fruity, more acidic and more earthy. Pignol, incidentally, is the grape, one of those dozens of Italian varieties that are little known even in Italy.
Was it worth $80? Not if you're looking for something that you feel comfortable with, because it doesn't in any way resemble a Super Tuscan (or a Bordeaux or a Napa, for that matter). But if you want to try something that doesn't taste like what you’d expect, something that is an example of old-fashioned regional Italian winemaking and Parker be damned, then take the chance. And it does need food -- top-quality cooked sausages and the best hard cheese you can find, plus real European-style bread.