A tour of Italy – Part 2

Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. A tour of Italy – Part 2 comes from The Sunday Sediment Issue 6.

Sicilia

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily boasts the greatest number of wineries of any Italian region. Leading light on the island is the fortified DOC wine, Marsala; so brilliant for cooking and superb when served with a hard cheese like Pecorino. While there are some impressive DOC wines here, there is also great value being offered by top quality producers making very good IGT wines from native varieties.

The South

Dino Illuminati

Generally, the south of Italy is all about value and generous, forward wine styles. Abruzzo is located on the coast north and east of Rome, the region home to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Historically significant as the place the vine first arrived in Italy from Greece, Apulia (or Puglia) is located in the middle of the heel of Italy’s boot. Known as a large volume producer, there are now top-rated DOCG, an impressive 25 DOC zones and a chariot-full of great Italian foods.

 

Italian Sparkling

Italian SparklingProduced largely in the north, Prosecco is the current high-flier of Italy’s respected sparkling wine industry. In 2009 it was awarded DOCG status, that important ‘G’ on the end adding a rock-solid guarantee to the quality of the wine. Franciacorta is both a highly-rated DOCG area and a sparkling wine with a huge reputation, produced a la champagne, but with even more stringent aging requirements than its French cousins.

Grappa

The Italians have been perfecting their heady spirit known as Grappa since the Middle Ages. A unique concoction produced from grape pomace (the skins, pulp, seeds and stems left over after the juice has been extracted for winemaking), Grappa began life as a coarse, home-made drink enjoyed by farmers after a hard day’s work. From these humble beginnings it has evolved into a highly refined spirit. By EU law, Grappa must be produced in Italy, without any added water, from fermented and distilled pomace. To produce it, the pomace is heated in a bain-marie (also known as a water bath or double boiler) to create steam, which is forced through a distillation column. The resulting colourless, filtered distillation can be enjoyed immediately, but the finest Grappas are aged in glass or wood, which changes the colour and adds complexity. Flavours, too, can vary considerably depending on the origin of the grape pomace, the blending and the aging process. Great post-prandial, or added to espresso.

Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

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Macvine International – Nov 2015

An interesting evening hosted by Michael Jemison, Macvine International. Michael displayed a good style while giving a good level of information during the presentation. However, the turnout at 32 was a little disappointing. Some great discounts offered for those who purchased.

The wines offered included; Ca Di Rajo 2013 Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG Millesimato Extra Dry; Yerring Station Yarrabank Cuvee 2010; Andre Delorme Terroir d’Exception Blanc de blanc NV; Kerpen 2013 Riesling Kabinett; Dumangin Brut le Rose Premium Cru NV; Dumangin Premier Cru Vintage Champagne 2003, and all rounded off with a Clark Estate Noble Pinot Gris 2011.

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Tasting review – A MacVine Christmas

Tasting review

2015-06-17-5580e272d2fbcOur presenter Michael Jemison, Managing Director for MacVine, was a man who enjoyed telling great stories about his travels through the houses of champagne, particularly Michael’s favorite, Champagne Dumangin, whom de gorge the champagne on order, not in bulk.

Michael is well rehearsed in the art of conversation and spoke about each wine passionately and with great enthusiasm.

The Prosecco was Extra Dry meaning not sweet. Ah, Italians and their use of English, just love it. Being a vintage wine, 2013, I was expecting more.

The Yerring Station Yarrabank Cuvee was beautifully made – simple and elegantly made with friends from Champagne Devaux – 15/20.

From Burgundy, the Andre Delorme Terroir d’Exception Blanc de Blanc was bottle fermented in the champagne style with lovely yeasty extract and a gentle sweetness giving way to slight acidic undertone, very refreshing. Right up there with our methode champenoise – 16/20.

The 2013 Kerpen Riesling Kabinett has a hint of flinty minerality and earthiness on the nose. The initial hit of sweetness while not overpowering gave way to soft acidity which balanced well with food. For me, this wine was the star of the show – 18/20.

Dumangin Rosé and 2003 champagnes were both subtle in flavour with beautiful nose characters of yeast, apricot and lemon rind. A short finish left me expecting more – 16/20.

The wines overall were of quality befitting any Christmas lunch but several I’d want to keep to myself and drink in a quiet space to savor their complexities. If you do see any of these on wine lists, worth a try.

Cheers, Steve

Tasting – A MacVine Christmas

7:45 – 9:45 pm

 

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 –Directions

Cost: Members $20, Guests $25

Presenter: Michael Jemison, Managing Director

Background: Established in 1999, Macvine International is an importer and distributor of top quality, specialist wine from New Zealand and around the world. We also import and distribute Spiegelau glassware – one of the world’s top specialist producers of glassware designed for wine lovers. Wines for tasting:

  • 2013  Italian Prosecco – Ca Di Rajo Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG Millesimato Extra Dry – Actually bottle fermented and from the best region in Prosecco. It’s an off-dry style even though its say extra dry which in Italian mean off dry.
  • Australian bubbly – Yerring Station Yarrabank Cuvee – Made with the help of a French Champagne house so offers a point of difference quite smart.
  • French bubbly – Andre Delorme Terroir d’Exception Blanc de Blanc NV – From Burgundy hand is made the same way as Champagne last year would best sparkling wine in Cuisine Magazine.
  • 2013 Kerpen Riesling Kabinett – Low alcohol which good fruit weight to refresh the palate
  • Champagne – Dumangin Brut Le Rosé Premium Cru NV – Exceptional bubbles
  • 2003 Dumangin Premier Cru Vintage Champagne – 95 points Bob Campbell this is rich like Christmas cake and complex.
  • Sticky – 2011 Noble Pinot Gris 375ml
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Click image for more in the gallery

What a great selection and Macvine will be offering some very healthy discounts if you want something special for Christmas. Don’t miss this one.

Nov bubbles and Dec dinner

We’re getting ready for a busy season with Nov bubbles and Dec dinner.

To show your support, please complete the payment advice form and either pay online or bring the form and payment with you when you come to the November tasting.

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A Taste of Italy with Cangrande

cangrandeMichele Marai from Cangrande presented a fantastic line-up of some of Italy’s best exports – wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and finishing with biscotti to go along with ‘Il Fortificato’.

Cost – members $14 and guests $18.

Wines tasted include:

Quaffer: Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG – Bortolomiol (Veneto)

  1. Pinot Grigio DOC – Masut da Rive (Friuli – Venezia Giulia)
  2. Soave Superiore DOC “Monte Sella” – Le Mandolare (Veneto)
  3. Negroamaro del Salento IGT – Cignomoro (Puglia)
  4. Nebbiolo Langhe DOC – San Biagio (Piemonte)
  5. Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC – Caterina Zardini (Veneto)
  6. ‘Il Fortificato’, a fortified red wine based on Recioto della Valpolicella – Giuseppe Campagnola (Veneto)

Tasting review

Click image to view more images in the gallery.

Michele is a very passionate speaker in true Italian style you’d expect coming from Verona; home of Romeo and Juliet.

Michele along with his assistant and taste tester Carlo (Michele’s father) introduced members to a fascinating range of quality Italian wines. What proved to be a hit was Michele knowledge of Venetian history and the background of the many smaller family owned wineries assembled as part of his wine portfolio for New Zealand.

Members were treated to a great range of wines including a magnificent Amarone della Valpolicella Classico; one of Italy’s top reds. Not for the cost conscious but definitely worth every euro. This wine would compete with the best New Zealand and Australia offers with its purple colour, spicy aroma, gutsy mouth feel and rich lingering tobacco and liquorice finish.

Amoarone della Valpolicella blend includes Corvina which provides the blend’s acidity and sour-cherry flavors while Rondinella is used to add colour and body. If you see this on your next wine list, go for it. You won’t be disappointed.

My three favourites on the night were the Prosecco, Negroamaro and Amarone. The Prosecco was fresh and lively with bosc pear and green apple notes, plump mouth feel and a lingering finish. The Negroamaro was more what I was expecting from an Italian red; rustic with strong savoury herb notes with a slight acidic finish. The Amarone was the hit of the show; big, bold luscious with a warming ripe plum mouth feel, and finishing like and express train.

A presto! … Steve

The first coat of arms of the Scala family. Still today it appears on the flags of the Verona Province, Verona football team and in logos and symbols of clubs, wine labels etc.

More on Cangrande

Cangrande takes its name from Cangrande della Scala, a great military and political leader and a well known wine lover, who ruled Verona in the early thirteen hundreds, making Verona one of the most powerful forces in Italy.

Through the centuries, Verona has developed into one of the most important districts in the world for wine production, trading and marketing.

In this time, all over Italy, wine making has become an art. Italian wines are still getting better, and in the last few decades more and more producers have focused on improving quality, achieving some impressive results.

Thanks to their work, Italy has now become the number one wine producing and exporting country in the world. Many native grapes have recently become world famous, and the effort of the winemakers that chose quality over quantity is paying off.

 

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