I was recently invited on a supplier trip to go to Italy and France to visit their production sites as well as local wineries. One of the main highlights of the trip was a visit to Vinitaly, an Italian focused trade show highlighting the wines from all over Italy. I came armed with a half empty tasting journal, two notepads, and my favorite pen plus ink refills in order to capture the day in tasting notes. The show itself was immense and it seemed like it is the highlight of the year for Verona as there were advertisements everywhere for it. If one wanted to try all the wines that Italy has to offer without going all over the country to do it, I would recommend going to Vinitaly. With around 4,200 exhibitors and 80 thousand square feet of exhibition space, it truly was one stop shopping. This is the way Italy shows off its vintages to the trade buyers from all over the world. I only had one day at the show so our group mainly focused on Piedmonte however we began our tour at a winery from Sicily plus visited a few other scattered regions around the show. My tasting notes and personalities for the wines are below.
Cantine Paolini Inzolia Sicilia IGT 2009
Pale lemon core with green tints. Medium – aromas of citrus, limes and lemons, fresh cut celery, Youthful. Dry palate with Medium – acid, Medium + alcohol, Medium – skin tannins, Light body and Moderately low intensity flavors of lime, citrus with a slightly hollow middle finishing with a Medium + length with slight roughness from tannins. Some call this variety the “Doughnut variety” due to a distinctively hollow middle which I picked up from this wine. Fresh and Grassy
Cantine Paolini “Gurgo” Grillo Sicilia IGT 2009
Medium Lemon core with green tints. Medium aromas of pears, lemons, and slight toasty, youthful. Dry palate with Medium – acid, Medium + alcohol, low oak tannins, Medium – body and moderately intense flavors of toast, light spice, lemons and pears with a Medium – finish. Grillo is blended with Chardonnay in Sicilia and is quite similar in flavor however much lighter in body than Chardonnay. Zesty and Fruity
Cantine Paolini “Gurgo” Viognier Sicilia IGT 2009
Medium lemon core. Medium – aromas of lemons and light floral notes. Dry palate with Medium + acid, medium alcohol, low skin tannins, Medium – body, and Moderate flavors of lemon and light white flowers, moderately long finish. I would be unable to identify this as Viognier save for the skin tannins. It was a much less intense display of the variety than I’ve come to expect in other Viogniers. Fresh and Grassy
Cantine Paolini “Gurgo” Nero D’Avola Sicilia 2008
Medium – purple ruby core. Moderately intense aromas of raisins, jam, strawberries, and slight rubber notes. Dry palate with moderately high acid, medium alcohol, Medium body, Medium – slightly green tannins with moderately intense flavors of herbs, strawberries, rubber, light cloves with a moderately long finish. Raisins are typical of this variety I’m told. Elegant and Floral
Dante Rivetti Ivan Rose 2006
Medium Salmon core with fine bubbles. Medium + aromas of salt and autolysis. Brut level dosage with moderately high acid, low alcohol, low skin tannins, Moderate flavors of salt crusted cheese, autolysis, and lemons, with a long finish. Very creamy mousse on the mouth. Light and Bubbly
Dante Rivetti Briccodoro Langhe Arneis 2009
Medium – lemon core with green tints and a prick of light CO2. Moderately high intensity aromas of lemons, citrus, very light smoke, youthful with a refreshing nose. Off-dry palate with Moderate acid, medium alcohol and low skin tannins. Light body and moderately intense flavors of lemon, citrus, white flowers with a moderately long finish. A very nice refreshing wine. Fresh and Grassy
Dante Rivetti Barbera d’Alba 2008
Medium – garnet core. Medium aromas of strawberries, light earth and spices. Dry palate with Medium acid, medium alcohol, and medium tannins. Light body and Moderate flavors that echoed the nose and a Medium finish. Barbera seems fruitier with more tannins than Pinot Noir although a similar color. Elegant and Floral
Dante Rivetti Barbaresco Bricco Riserva 2004
Light garnet core with tawny rim. Medium aromas of rosehips, spices, earth and dried fruits. Dry palate with moderately high acid, Medium alcohol, High tannins, and Medium – body. Moderate flavors of spices roses, earth and fruit (figs or dates), with a medium finish. A really lovely Riserva Nebbiolo. Elegant and Floral
Gianni Doolia Bosco Donne Barbera d’Asti 2008
Medium purple ruby core. Medium aromas of coffee, strawberries and raspberries. Dry palate with moderately high acid, medium alcohol, Medium – tannins, Medium – body and Moderate flavors of strawberries, coffee, raspberries with a Medium finish. Unoaked and slightly tanky. Needs air but is a tank sample at this point. Elegant and Floral
Cascina Carlot Muscato d’Asti 2009
Pale lemon core with Moderate CO2 level. Pronounced floral notes, peaches and Muscat characters. Sweet palate with high acid, low alcohol and light body. Pronounced flavors of nectarines, peaches, tropical flowers, and Muscat fruit with a long finish. Still my favorite Muscato d’Asti of the entire trip as it was incredibly complex with multiple different fruit flavors and the intensity was incredible! Light and Bubbly
Toledana Gavi di Gavi 2009
Not just a Gavi but a Gavi di Gavi as Marco was reminded by the person tending the booth. The distinction is very important as the Gavi region was expanded and now the original area around the town of Gavi is known as Gavi di Gavi. Cortese Variety.
Pale Lemon Core with light CO2. Medium – intensity nose with lemon and citrus notes. Dry palate with moderately high acid, medium alcohol, and light body. Moderately light intensity flavors of citrus and flowers. Fresh and Grassy
Looking at the differences between Cortese, Garganega, Fiano and Pinot Grigio I’m hard pressed to tell them apart blind however there are subtle differences that one can tease out when confronted with several of these grapes at any one time.
La Doria Gavi DOCG 2009 Single Estate Blend
Pale lemon core. Light intensity nose of citrus, floral notes, lemons, and chalk. Dry palate with moderately high acid, medium alcohol, and light body. Medium flavors of flowers, passion fruit, lemons and chalk. Light and Grassy, Stone and Chalk
La Toledana Gavi di Gavi Raccolto Tardivo- Harvested Nov. 2009
A late harvest Cortese with a very low yield of 50hl/ha. When asked about botrytis problems, the winemaker said that animals were more problematic than the mold as Cortese is relatively resistant to botrytis influence.
Pale lemon core. Medium aromas of ripe Meyer lemons, citrus, and chalk. Off-dry palate with high acid, medium alcohol and medium body with moderately high intensity flavors of ripe fruits, peaches, and white flowers. Long finish. Zesty and Fruity
Lo Zoccolaio Vigna dij Sagrin Dolcetto d’Alba 2009
Medium – purple ruby core. Medium + flavors of Strawberries
And cherries. Dry palate, Medium + acid, Medium alcohol, medium – tannins, and Medium body. Moderately intense flavors of strawberries, cherries and spices. Tank sample. 30% new barrels every year and their current release is the 2006. Elegant and Floral
Lo Zoccolaio Barolo Ravera 2005
Medium – Garnet core. Medium + aromas of cedar, figs, dried cherries, earth and leather. Dry palate with medium acid, medium alcohol, High but velvet smooth tannins with an interesting texture. Moderately high intensity flavors of dried fruit, earth, leather, spices, cedar, and figs with a long finish. Three years in French oak barrels with 30% new. Elegant and Floral
Other wineries included Marenco and Fontanafredda. At Marenco we had a lovely Brachetto D’Acqui that was sweet, creamy and full of strawberry flavors, an Asti Spumante which was light and fresh with intense floral notes and high acid, as well as a Passito wine made from dried Muscato grapes. Fontanafredda was a specialty sparkling wine producer from Alta Langa, a lesser known DOC than its Franciacorta cousin, who also had Asti Spumante and Brachetto as well. The day ended with a visit to the Volli stand to taste a sparkling Brut and Extra Dry style Trebbiano that was extremely refreshing and crisp after a long day of tasting.
After the show, we were off to do some sight seeing in Verona. Some of the highlights included the Coliseum and Juliet’s Balcony. Dinner was another incredible experience at the restaurant Alcova del Frate with fantastic meats, two wonderful wines, a Valpolicella and an Amarone della Valpolicella as well as Cavallo (Horse meat) which tasted like a mix of buffalo and venison minus the gamey flavor. Apparently Cavallo is a local delicacy that is becoming rarer and rarer to find. We finished with the house made Tiramisu which was heavenly.