Thursday, February 26, 2009

Part One of the Guided Tasting - Vino 2009, Miami

On January 30 The Italian Trade Commission brought Vino 2009 to the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, Florida. The morning session consisted of a guided tasting followed by a sumptuous buffet lunch. Sixteen different wines were poured from the regions of Lombardia, Toscana, Abruzzo and Calabria while moderator Lyn Farmer, the Senior Editor of Wine News, walked us through each wines history, characteristics and vinification. We will begin with Lombardia and Abruzzo for this first article and save Tuscany and Calabria for the next installment.

We began our tasting with four sparkling wines from Lombardia, which is located in the north of Italy. The first, Ca’Maiol Brut Spumonte DOC Lugana is produced by Provenza located on the shores of Lake Garda. The estate is 100 acres made up of four separate vineyards. Provenza was established in 1967 by Walter Contato who also founded the Consorzio of Lugana which protects and enforces DOC regulations. This sparkler is produced in the classic method and aged three years. It contains a minimum of 90% Trebbiano grapes and has a delicate nose of peach, almonds and tropical fruit. Next we tasted Saten Brut 2007 DOCG Franciacorta. Franciacorta refers to the region as well as the product. The wine is produced by G. Ricci Curbastro & Sons, who hand pick the grapes for gentle pressing and ferment in French oak barrels. The estate has 28 hectares under vine, a wine making and farm implement artifacts museum, eight agriturismo apartments and a tasting hall. The “Saten” is made with 100% chardonnay grapes and has the fragrance of ripe fruit, flowers and nuts. Number three was Castel San Giorgio Brut Rose’ 2004 DOC, produced by San Giorgio in the center of Oltrepo’ Pavese. San Giorgio is one of the oldest vineyards in Oltrepo’ Pavese, purchased by the Perdomini family in 1978. They have 30 hectares of vineyards and a wine store where one can taste their wines along with other local products. They will even arrange full meals upon request. This Brut Rose’ is 90% Pinot Nero, 10% Chardonnay and shows off a pleasing rose color with a hint of orange, and peach and floral fragrances. Our final wine from this region was Montebello Rose’ Metodo Classico DOC from Oltrepo’ Pavese, produced by Ca’ Montebello. The estate was established in 1936 and has about 35 hectares of vineyards with grape varietals including, Pinot Nero and Barbera. Montebello Rose’ is 100% Pinot Nero, hand picked grapes and spends 18-20 months on the lees. The color is a bright rose with pinpoint bubbles and a delicate fragrance.

With our fifth wine, Spiria Cococciola 2007 IGT, we move on to the Abruzzo region, located south and east of Tuscany on the Adriatic side of Italy. The producer is Cantina Colle Moro, but unfortunately this wine isn’t yet available in the U.S. Hopefully they were able to find an importer at the convention. I would hate to have to wait until my next trip to Italy to sample another glass of this wine. It has a pale straw color with a bit of a greenish hue, delicate nose with hints of green apple and flowers. It is balanced, dry and very smooth and creamy. Lucanto 2007 DOC Trebbiano d’Abbruzzo produced by Torre Raone is number six. It is 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, the color of straw, intensely and persistently fragrant, dry, balanced, smooth and creamy with spice on the finish. Next in line was Pecorino Colle dei Venti 2007, IGT Terre di Chieti, produced by Caldora Vini. Pecorino is the name of the ancient grape that makes 100% of this wine. It does not refer to the goats milk cheese we all know and love. Caldora Vini is part of an area co-op called Ortono. Their most popular wine is Yuma Montepulciano d’Abruzzo made from very old vines belonging to “Soggiorno Proposta” which is an organization dedicated to helping people recover from drug addiction. To return to our Pecorino… the grapes are hand picked and the wine is aged six to seven months in lightly toasted Austrian Oak barrels, producing a wine of a light straw color with greenish reflections. It smells of white fruits, pears and a hint of balsamic. It has good acidity and a long finish. Our last wine from Abruzzo is Sorab Pecorino 2007, IGT Colline Pescaresi, produced by Contesa di Rocco Pasetti. Made from 100% Pecorino grapes, this modern winery boasts a low impact method of wine making that produces wines with a strong link to the territory. This wine is bright yellow in color with herbal notes and a smokey finish.

Stay tuned for my next installment of the guided tasting where we will explore samplings from Tuscany, an area that is familiar to many, and the southern region of Calabria. Thank you to the Italian Trade Commission for introducing us to so many great wines and the fascinating people who produce them.
- the Brew Crew
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