Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tour of Italy Tasting Notes -- January 9, 2008

It’s almost impossible to do a comprehensive “Tour of Italy” wine tasting because there are So Many great wines! There are four levels of Italian wine classification, modeled after the French system. DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or “Controlled and Guaranteed Origin”) is the highest level of quality with only 24 regions claiming this status. All DOCG wines are submitted for both lab and tasting approval by a professional panel. DOC status (Denominazions di Origine Controllata, or “Controlled Origin”) is the core of Italy’s classification with approximately 300 zones and more than 600 wines that claim it. DOC is not as strictly controlled, yet the status plays an important role in establishing a quality benchmark and elevating the overall quality of Italian wines produced. IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) classification originated from producers who wanted more freedom to experiment. This classification allows producers to grow varietals not allowed under the DOC/DOCG system. These wines have come to be known as “Super Tuscans” and many are among the most sought-after wines in the world. The Vina da Tavola (Table Wine) is the lowest level of classification in the Italian system and accounts for the largest portion of Italian wines produced. Most of these wines are not exported. (Info provided by Da Vinci winery, sourced from “Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide” published by the Society of Wine Educators, 2006.)
Special thanks to Mike and Mary Andres, our Guest Pourers for this evening, and to Albemarle Distributors, Tryon Distributors, and Empire Distributors. --Debbie

  • Ca’ Montini Pinot Grigio, DOC, 2006, Trentino Region – Ca’ Montini wines are known and respected worldwide and served in the most exclusive restaurants. “Located in Marano di Valpolicella (Verona) in the heart of the ‘Amarone Classic’ production area, this winery has been producing premium wines since the early 1700s.” This Pinot Grigio is a “full-bodied, ripe and smooth wine with hints of almonds, hazelnuts, lemons, and apples.” It has the kind of layered, creamy complexity you would expect in a more expensive white wine from Alsace or Bergundy, France. Regular Price: $ 17.98 Tasting Price: $ 16.98
  • Tormaresca Chardonnay, ICT, 2005, Puglia (or Apulia) Region – This mostly flat winemaking region is located on the “heel” of the Italian peninsula. It produces more than a tenth of Italian agriculture and “regularly shifts position with Sicily” as the major wine producing region of the country. This wine is light yellow with greenish reflections with a persistent, fresh and flavorful scent. Rated 85 by Wine Spectator, this white has a “light apple and mineral character on the nose and follows through to a medium-bodied palate, with fresh acidity and a medium finish.” Regular Price: $ 13.99 Tasting Price: $ 12.99
  • Da Vinci Chianti, DOCG, 2005, Tuscany Region – Not a Classico or a Reserva Chianti, but a great Chianti nonetheless. Made with grapes sourced entirely from within the Chianti area of the Tuscany Region, this wine has received an 87 rating from Wine Enthusiast, an 86 from Wine News, and an 89 from Wine Report. Da Vinci Chianti is “deep crimson in color with aromas of cherries and red fruit balanced by soft, round tannins.” To be a Chianti, grapes must be entirely sourced from any of the 8 sub-regions of Chianti and must be at least 75% Sangiovese. Regular Price: $ 14.99 Tasting Price $ 13.99
  • LaGaria Merlot, IGT, 2006, Sicilia Region – “The soft, elegant aroma and flavor that characterize this varietal are nature’s gift from the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sicily. This full-bodied, generous red wine offers excellent versatility with a wide variety of food.” Regular Price: $ 14.99 Tasting Price $ 13.99
  • Monte Antico Red Table Wine, IGT, 2004, Tuscany Region – This red is a blend of Sangiovese (85%), Cabernet (10%), and Merlot (5%). Rated 86 by Wine Spectator, it is a medium-bodied wine with bright acidity and a clean finish. It is fresh and fruity with plum and dried cherry Character. Regular Price: $ 14.99 Tasting Price $ 13.99
  • La Pisara Primitivo, IGT, 2003, Apulia Region – La Pisara wine is produced with 100% Primitivo grapes (Zinfandel’s Italian alias). “With an intense red color, this wine has a warm bouquet with rich notes of ripe red prunes and currants, dried hazelnuts, and figs, and hints of leather. The taste is full-bodied and powerful, yet pleasantly soft, warm, and nicely balanced with savory notes. Exceptionally robust and firmly structured.” Regular Price: $ 11.99 Tasting Price $ 10.99

1 comment:

City Wine Sellar, Bakery, Deli & Wine Bar said...

LaGaria Merlot and LaPisara Primitivo won out on this tasting as the fave reds. Tormaresca Chardonnay was the leading white. Another exciting tasting, with almost 60 attendees. Special thanks to Mike and Mary Andres for serving as our Guest Pourers. They were amazing! (I think they have done this before.)