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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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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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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Glancing Back – Aug 2014 – Cangrande

cangrandeThe consensus was that this was a great meeting with enjoyable wines, much comment on the Olive Oil and the Modena Balsamic, and an enjoyable presentation from Michele of Cangrande.

There were good orders of both the wine and the oil and balsamic. Also there was biscotti provided by Carmel. This went down a treat and was enjoyed by all, thanks Carmel.

To recap the wines they included a Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene Docg – Bortolomiol (Veneto) as a quaffer followed by; Pinot Grigio Doc – Masut da Rive (Friuli – Venezia Giulia); Soave Superiore Doc “Monte Sella” – Le Mandolare (Veneto); Negroamaro del Salento Igt – Cignomoro (Puglia); Nebbiolo Langhe Doc – San Biagio (Piemonte); Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Doc – Caterina Zardini (Veneto); Il Fortificato, Fortified red wine based on Recioto della Valpolicella – Giuseppe Campagnola (Veneto); Cangrande also provided a Falanghina Beneventano Igt – Donnachiara [Campania], as a raffle prize.

Great fun trying to keep up with the Italian names.

Thanks Michele.

 

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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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Next event: Advintage Nov 2012

Stuff News recently ran an article on Advintage (10 September 2012) in the Dompost outlining the John (Mac) Macpherson and the Advintage story. Read the story here…

Irrespective of the history, it doesn’t get much better than this. We have enjoyed some great November bubbly tastings in recent years and this presentation promises to top them all

Many of you know John Macpherson and Advintage. Few members have not purchased a bottle or two from this outlet.

The following is a hint of what we might taste. There could be a couple of changes but the general theme will follow this outline. The links are to the Advintage website and provide detail of the proposed wines.

  • A French Vin Mousseux that Advintage are importing
  • Prosecco Riondo
  • Quartz Reef Central Otago
  • Roederer Estate
  • Champagne Lanvin
  • Champagne Lombard – from the same house as Lanvin but up the food chain
  • Champagne Roederer NV
  • Champagne Roederer Rosé 2007

John Kemble of Kemblefield wines along with Mac will present a winemaker’s perspective in parallel to a distributor’s perspective.

A light supper will be provided so be in for this tasting, and I’m sure it’s one tasting you won’t want to miss it.

 

Bubbles night with John (Mac) Macpherson from Advintage

advintage-logo-headerNext event – Bubbles night with John (Mac) Macpherson from Advintage

Presenter: John (Mac) Macpherson, Advintage

When you’re a wine store based in the sleepy but ever-so-slightly pretentious Hawkes Bay village of Havelock North (pop. 10,000) and you ship thousands of cases of wine nationwide each month, you must be doing something right. Right? Read the rest for yourselves.

Date: Wednesday November 14, 2012

Time: 7.45pm for 8.00pm

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, Johnsonville

Door charge: Members $20, Guests $25

Note:

This promises to be one of those rare nights you will talk about to your friends and other members for years.

You will need to book for this tasting.

If you haven’t done so, do it now. Let Robin know by contacting him at semmens@xtra.co.nz.

Recent posts:

Cup Bubbling Over – the Advintage story

Next event, Advintage Nov 2012

Looking Forward – Bubbles and Dinner

Bubbles night with John (Mac) Macpherson from Advintage

From the Editor

Thank you everyone for sending in your responses for this month’s bubbles tasting and the dinner in December. We have closed the numbers for this week’s tasting and all that remains is for you all to come along and enjoy yourselves. There are still a couple of spots left for the Dinner if you wish to come or bring some guests. But you need to let me know ASAP.

Start time is 7:40pm for an 8pm start.

If you are attending either the November or December functions can I ask you to complete the attached form and bring it along with your payment to the November meeting. If you are only able to come to the December dinner, can you either send your payment to Wayne by the 26th November, or pay the money into the club bank account and let Wayne know [full details are on the form]

Thanks … Robin

Brown Brothers – Bernie Atkins

Glancing back Brown Brothers with Bernie Atkins

What a night, a great turn out of members and guests. The wines were varied and not all hit the mark with members’ but there was general agreement that the higher quality wines were excellent.

The evening demonstrated the Brown Brothers philosophy of producing a comprehensive range of wine styles and blends, with many being somewhat experimental and innovative.

The wines tasted were:

  • Zibibbo Rosa – a low-alcohol sparkling pink wine
  • Prosecco
  • Pinot Griggio
  • Tempranillo
  • Patricia Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Dolcetto & Syrah
  • Moscato
  • wrapped up with a Tawny Port and cheese.

Clearly the flagship “Patricia” Cabernet Sauvignon was the highlight of the evening, enhanced by early exposure to the air through being decanted at the start of the evening. An enjoyable tasting, a near record turnout, and a great evening for those attending.

Brown Brothers Tasting – Next event, April 2012

brownbrotherslogo

Date: Wednesday 11 April, 2012

Time: 7:45 pm – 10:00 pm

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall. How to get here.

Presenter: Bernie Atkins, Central Representative

Members: $12, Guests: $16

Brown Brothers believe that wines are as different as the people who drink them which is why they have developed such a comprehensive range of wine styles and blends. Read on…

In 1885 John Francis Brown, aged 18, planted 10 acres of mostly Riesling, Muscat and Shiraz grapes on the Milawa property that the family had purchased in a land auction back in 1857. Located in the lower reaches of the King Valley in North East Victoria, the Milawa Vineyard is the birth place of the Brown Brothers company. The Milawa Vineyard has become the fruit source for renowned wines such as Patricia Noble Riesling, Shiraz Mondeuse & Cabernet and Dolcetto, and is the home to Brown Brothers’ winemaking facilities.

Brown Brothers believe that wines are as different as the people who drink them which is why they have developed such a comprehensive range of wine styles and blends. With vineyards located in a diverse range of climatic regions and a ‘kindergarten’ winery specifically designed for innovation, you can be sure there’s an exceptional Brown Brothers wine to suit every palate.

Bernie will be presenting the following wines from their extensive range:

Quaffer: Zibibbo Rosa – a low-alcohol sparkling pink wine.

  1. Prosecco
  2. Pinot Griggio (this will be a nice contrast to the Pinot Gris we have been tasting)
  3. Tempranillo
  4. Patricia Cabernet Sauvignon ( this will be the highlight of the evening)
  5. Dolcetto & Syrah
  6. Moscato
  7. Tawny Port

Let’s sit back and enjoy a presentation on wines produced by an iconic Australian wine producer.