WSDC Event - High End Italian Tasting

What: High End Italian Tasting  
When: 17 Sep 09 ,18:30 -20:30
Where: The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining SW1Y 5AF map
See summary here

 

 

There are some excellent Italian wines to be tried at this tasting.

Sebastian Payne has been buying some expensive (perhaps ‘high end’) red Italian wines, and when we look at the price of some of these wines, we think that we might pay that for a French wine, but an Italian…? So, by sharing the costs among the members of the Dining Club we can all find out what is so good about these bottles. Many wine writers wax lyrical about some of these wines, so this could be a very interesting couple of hours while we find out if they are worth the hype and money. We’ll be in the Institute’s Library, which is a very attractive room for an un-hurried tasting.

We will start with a Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Frizzante, a pale gold sparkling wine with a refreshing bouquet and a very pleasant aperitif for the coming summer. The following wine is a Grechetto, 2006, the finest white grape in Umbria. The Barberani estate has made a full-bodied equivalent to white burgundy and is very well priced. Then a better Soave, Coffele Ca’Visco, 2006, worth trying, as this is a step up from the normal, with not only fruit and vitality but has ‘extra dimension and length’. We then move on to Le Giuncare Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva 2004, bit of a mouthful, but so is the wine. Monte Schiavo have produced a wonderful example of a late-picked verdicchio, luscious yet dry with long lasting flavour. The penultimate white wine from this country this evening is Chardonnay Collezione de Marche 2004, which will rival some of your better burgundies. Look for complexity, length and finesse. This is followed by a different grape, a Gewurztraminer from Hoffstatter in 2006 from the Alps near Austria, full of fruit and body.

This wraps up the whites, and now we go onto the reds, where there is some serious wine to be tried. A lot of these wines are for the long term, and those presented here are just becoming accessible, with modern wine-makers producing wine for drinking earlier but with a view to a 20 year cellaring.

Ferraris are traditionally red. Surely no coincidence that although Italian wine-makers produce some delightful and interesting white wines, it is the red wines that have power, finesse and length, and grab our attention. Bearing this in mind, our first is The Society’s Exhibition Tuscan Red, 2005, from Montalcino, where the brunello grape gives us full, ripe mouthfuls. Understandably, a popular wine with the Society’s members.

We’ve been offered Il Poggione Brunello Montalcino 2001, which is a wonderful example of its type. Trouble is that it is still very young, but opportunities like this rarely come along, so let’s enjoy its ruby-red garnet colour. The aroma is intense, stylish, with hints of berries and fruit, and to taste, it is ‘smooth and elegant, with polished tannins and an enduring finish’. Robert Parker gives it a score of 93 – we have to try it.

2004 was a very good vintage for Italy, and the next wine will indicate this. Bucerchiale, Chianti Rufina Riserva 2004, is from Selvapiana’s best vineyard, giving a fragrant, full and fresh wine, ripe and vigorous. Previous vintages have been described using words such as explosive, chocolate, liquorice, wonderful ripe acids, so this should not disappoint.

We will move away from the Tuscan region to Sicily, where good progress is being made in the vineyards, raising the quality of the island’s wine. Ancient vines are the source of Terra delle Sirene Nero d’Avola, 2004, from Zenner, and before a sip is taken, pause to ‘nose’ the wine, then enjoy the full, velvety flavour. This wine has some years ahead of it, and is very enjoyable now.

Now across to Puglia, the heel of the Italian ‘boot’, where we have the opportunity to taste Graticciaia 2000, made by the Vallone sisters, and only in outstanding vintages. Negroamaro grapes are laid out on straw mats to dry before vinification, and, to cut the story short, the result is ‘aromas of black cherry fruit, tobacco and chocolate’ followed by tastes of rich sweet fruit, a hint of spice and a long, dry finish. The year 2000 was a great vintage, and this is a ‘Super Puglian’ wine.

The north of Italy will provide the remaining wines, and the first is Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2003 by Allegrini, and has something in common with the previous wine, in that the grapes are hand-picked and dried before fermentation. The result is a rich full-bodied wine, with a deep vibrant, purple colour and a powerful bouquet of warm, spicy raisined fruit. Over the palate, smooth, intense, elegant and rich with good length, resulting in a completely delicious Italian classic, I’m told.

Over to Piedmont now, where Boglietti Barolo Brunate 2003 is just coming round. It is dense and long, with plenty of ripe dark fruit and sweet toasted oak, a balanced wine with a firm finish and enticing lingering perfume.

The last wine of the evening is Barbaresco Santa Stefano di Nieve 2001, from Bruno Giacosa, and Mr Parker says he would buy this man’s wines without tasting them first. An intense bouquet of violets and liquorice, typical of Nebbiolo, it is a full bodied wine with a wealth of noble tannins, perfect for long cellaring.

Many of the wines tonight cost more than your ticket. This is a great opportunity to explore ‘high end’ wines from Italy.