Rivera Il Falcone Castel del Monte Riserva

This was a tough one to call – funky and unique. Not for everyone, that’s for sure. But also something that’s off the beaten path, from a region – Puglia, and a grape – Nero di Troia, that one doesn’t typically find on the bargain shelves.

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Here’s my experience with Rivera Il Falcone Castel del Monte Riserva 2008, quickly summarized: I initially tried a couple ounces at a wine tasting, and my first thought was that it was weird and wild. It featured that brambly herbal flavor some call macchia (or garrigue in France) that’s typical for this area of the world, plus tobacco, and fading cherry fruit.

rivera-il-falconeBut the thing about these mass tastings, where you’re drinking wine after wine that is essentially the same, is that unique really stands out. I couldn’t help but wonder if this would hold up to a full bottle, over the course of a night. Would the oddness grate on me, after a full glass or two?

For $18, I figured it was worth a shot to find out. After decanting, the wine did open some: the sour cherry fruit became fuller, and overall it was more balanced.  In the end, I’m glad I went for the full bottle, and enjoyed it to the end.

Will I buy more? Dunno. It’s still somewhat odd, and doesn’t hit my particular sweet spot. Might be a good gift though, a conversation starter, or something to feature at a dinner party.

All that said, I think you should buy a bottle too. In all likelihood, you’ll have a similar experience – and maybe, just maybe, it’ll hit your sweet spot. Of course, there’s also the chance you’ll hate it. For $18, however, it’s not that much of a gamble.