On October 6th, we had a very interesting, informative and exciting evening for all the “I love anything Italian” people that attended.
Before tasting the wines, our special guest, Valentina Cirasola, gave a great presentation on the “The ItalianTable and Dining Etiquette.” Throughout the event Augustine and Angela Buonocore of La Biscotteria in Redwood City provided authentic and delicious focaccia, biscotti, and grissini to accompany our wines. Lastly, they treated us with delicious cannoli, to enjoy as a conclusion to our tasting.
The tasting itself was terrific, featuring selected Italian wines from lesser known regions and/or varietals. The theme, “Italian Wines, The Roads Less Traveled,” showcased our imported wines buyer, Howard Padgett’s, efforts in expanding our unique selection.
We started with the beautiful and very classy NV Monte Rossa Saten ($34.99) sparkling wine from Franciacorta in Lombardia, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco fermented in bottle. Then followed the 2009 100% Petite Arvine white wine by Les Cretes. The texture is rich, but not heavy, floral nose, citrus and passion fruit with an obvious minerality. The Petite Arvine wines are terrific if you want something on the exotic side. We recommend the excellent 2009 Swiss bottling from Cave du Vieux-Moulin ($32.99) which we currently have in stock.
We tasted the 2010 “Praepositus” Kerner ($27.99) by Abbazia di Novacella from the Isarco Valley in the far northern region of the Alto Adige. Kerner, a cross-bred grape of Riesling and the red Schiava, purportedly gets its name from the name of a German writer of drinking songs. The Riesling influence is obvious with a subtle pear like character as well as minerality followed by fresh clean acidity.
The first red of the evening was a 2009 Pelaverga “Basadone” from Castello de Verduno ($21.99) in Piemonte. A lighter bodied wine, it reminded me of a cross between Nebbiolo and Bourgogne Rouge in weight and texture and had spicy overtones. The superb 2006 Tuscan red, Villa di Capezzana’s Carmignano ($25.99), located just west of Florence is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine showed good density, elegance, sweet red fruit, and a very persistent finish.
We had the opportunity to taste a grape that most people have never heard of, the 2006 Tazzelenghe, produced by Conte d’Attimis-Maniago ($32.99) in the Colli Orientali del Friuli. This was a fairly hearty and robust wine of dark red fruit and bright acidity. It is definitely a good wine for grilled or roasted meats and game. Then we tasted a Nebbiolo, but with a twist. This was the 2007 Sforzato di Valtellina “Albareda” ($54.99) by Mamete Prevostini, a wine made by drying the grapes (about 30 days) before fermentation. It was one of the overall favorites with beautiful dried floral and red fruit character. The last red, 2004 Montefalco Sagrantino by Terre de Trinci ($49.99), definitely made a bold statement. From the region of Umbria, the aromas and flavors were broad and complex, ranging from black fruit, slight vanilla and spices.
Then came the finale, and what a finale it was! We tasted the fabulous Sicilian 2007 L’Ecru Passito by Firriato ($34.99), a dessert wine which is a blend of Zibibbo and Malvasia. It showed scents of honey, orange peel and dried figs with a texture that really glides. It really is a fascinating exotic wine, and I highly recommend this for the upcoming holidays, or just anytime.
Gary M., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant