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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Villa Maria and George’s cellar


Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. Villa Maria and George’s cellar comes from The Sunday Sediment.

Sir George Fistonich
Sir George Fistonich

A true New Zealand original, Villa Maria Wine Estates, is over 55 years old, proudly displayed the Glengarry Wineletters from the early days, front and centre. You do have to appreciate what it has taken over the years to get this world-class, family-owned winery to its prestigious position, and you can put it down to the talent, attention to detail, and sheer determination of its founder Sir George Fistonich and his team.

Nick Picone
Nick Picone

Consisting of Villa Maria itself, plus the Vidal, Esk Valley and Te Awa Collection, we tip our hats to the wonderful consistency of quality that exists across VMs entire portfolio. Nick Picone is Villa Marias Group Chief Winemaker and has been with the company for 18 years and counting. A multiple winner of Winemaker of the Year titles and listed as one of the worlds young winemakers to watch, he is an asset to the New Zealand wine industry.

VM Library release Cab Sauv & Merlot/Cab Sauv

The nowadays iconic George Fistonich (that’s ‘Sir George’ to you mere mortals) decided a while ago to start selecting wines from exceptional parcels with a thought to aging them and releasing them in very limited quantities via the cellar door and through selected retailers (that would be us). The wines are at the ultra-premium level, and having been already aged by Villa Maria themselves, they are good to go, and very favourably priced for what’s in the bottle. Villa Maria, then, at its finest. Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

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A tour of Italy – Part 1


Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. A tour of Italy – Part 1 comes from The Sunday Sediment Issue 5.

Veneto

Veneto is home to the glorious sinking city of Venice and the romantic jewel that is Verona. Here, you’ll find great value Soave, Valpolicella and Bardolino wines. Less than half of the wine produced in Veneto is able to be labelled with the Italian quality mark of DOC, with large quantities of IGT (table wine) produced there, making it an important region for quantity. It is also home to the superstar Amarone, and to the sparkling Prosecco wines made in Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

Piemonte

Bruno Giacosca

Piemonte produces some of Italy’s most long-lived wines. A treasure trove of culinary delights, it is home to Barolo, Barbaresco, truffles and hazelnuts. The predominant red grapes are the indigenous Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, the whites, Arneis and Moscato. The wines are distinctly regional and oozing with flair. Lovers of Pinot Noir will feel right at home with Nebbiolo, which is bottled in its own right as well as being the variety behind the famed Barolo wines. Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

Toscana

Cesare & Andrea Cecchi with La Signora Cecchi

A long with Piemonte, Toscana (Tuscany) has the highest percentage of top-tier DOCG wines, and is home to the scarlet giants Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It is here that the new meets the old head-on, giving rise to the so-called Super Tuscans. The main variety in Tuscany is Sangiovese, used to make Chianti, with the variety’s greatest expression derived from the legendary Brunello clone developed by Montalcino’s Biondi-Santi family.

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

 

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Glengarry – Rhône Valley Offer!

glengarry-rhone_offerLiz Wheadon | Glengarry Fine Wine Team | 31 May 2013

With all the recent hype surrounding the 2009 and 2010 vintage in Bordeaux particularly but also Burgundy, the Rhône Valley has been left somewhat in the shadows, but not for any longer; we have gathered all of our Rhône Valley producers, the recent releases and some older vintages that have been nestled away maturing in our cellars.

The overriding factor that screamed off the page as I wrote this is the incredible value the wines of the Rhône Valley still deliver. There are a myriad of vintages in this offer, including the 2009 and 2010 arrivals from these top producers; both exceptional vintages in the Rhône, as they were in other parts of France.

The 2009 vintage wines are wonderfully opulent, forward, expressive wines; for me they tend to express the vintage rather than their particular part of the world. The 2010 vintage is all about balance, there’s great fruit, acidity, structure and a clear sense of place. Whilst both vintages will age gracefully, the 2010 wines are a better longer term proposition, the 2009 wines are already delicious now.

The international media’s views on the two vintages offer high praise for both vintages:

“While the ‘09s are generous and rich, often to a fault, the 2010s display a stunning combination of freshness, richness and structure, the traits necessary for long aging. It’s the rare 2009 that will outlive its 2010 sibling, I believe. The southern Rhône’s winning streak continued through the generally outstanding 2010 vintage, with some estates having produced the best wines I’ve yet tasted from them. According to Christophe Sabon of Domaine de la Janasse, “balance is the word for 2010. Okay, maybe it’s really two words: balance and freshness.” He went on: “The acidity levels are high in the ‘10s but the fruit is ripe, almost like 2007 or even 2003 in some cases. But there’s no roasted character. When those two elements are in harmony the wines are classic, classic Châteauneuf.” – Stephen Tanzer

“But, having already started my tastings of the 2010 vintage in Burgundy and the Rhône, I must urge those of you who like wines from these two great French wine regions to try to put a bit of money aside (ha!) to invest in the 2010s from them. After the unusually ripe, relatively low acid wines made in 2009, the 2010s typically show considerably more precision and freshness, and more supple tannins in the case of the southern Rhône.” – Jancis Robinson

“I place 2010 in the top three of my 20 years covering the Rhône alongside the 1978 and 1990.” – John Livingstone-Learmonth

To accompany this offer, Glengarry have put together a series of tastings in Auckland and Wellington around these wines through June and early July. I hope to see you at one of these events and trust you’ll enjoy exploring the wonders the Rhône has to offer.

Cheers and enjoy,
Liz Wheadon