For our last meeting of GOTN for 2012, the varietal chosen was Italian blends from Italy. There were no stipulations on whether your wine selection was white or red which opened the door to both parties of wine drinkers. We even received a couple of twists in our line-up by members that were not sure what the varietal was, but wines are there to be compared even if the varietal was not exactly correct. With this in mind we continue to educate our palates.
Italy has three primary wine regions. First is Tuscany near Florence where Sangiovese grapes are dominant, producing Chianti and Super Tuscans. Next, we have Piedmont where Barolo and Barbaresco are produced. Last, but not least, is Venice where white wines such as Pinot Grigio and Soave are produced. Like France, most of the wines poured from Italy have definite old world characteristics on the nose as well as the palate. Two wines that were brought from the Paso Robles region allowed us to really see the differences between New World and Old World. One was a GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blend) and the other an Italian Vermentino from the Clavo winery in Paso Robles. The fruits in these two wines were very dominant and forward compared to the earthy, smoky subtle flavors noted in the wines from Italy. In the line-up of wines tasted and reviewed by the GOTN group, it was interesting that some had so little aromatics and taste that no one could really describe them, however, given more time to open up this outcome may have been different. Going back to the Old World differences, the sampled wines were very French like offering finely layered aromas and taste that need to be dissected carefully over time.
- 2007 Amarone Della Vapolicella Classico Antica Corte
- 2011 Vendemmia Morellino di Seansano Poggioargentiera
Aromatics: Old World which masked fruits
Taste: fruits buried by tannins and smoky
- 2007 Summerwood GSM Paso Robles
Aromatics: Very New World. Blueberry and smoke
Taste: Grenache is very dominant
- 2009 Clavo Cellars Vermentino GSM Paso Robles
Aromatics: Tropical fruits and pear
Taste: Tropical fruits, pear, light acidity and buttery
- 2009 Rocca d. Monte Massi Sassabruna Monterigio d. Massa Maritime
Aromatics: Old World nose
Taste: Super Tuscan (Sangiovesse and Merlot)
- 2010 Tormaresca Puglia Neprica
Aromatics: Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon blend
Taste: Soft and silky, Medium-bodied, plum, dark cherry and light fig and tobacco.
It is here that I must beg for forgiveness from Larry and Gloria Stahly who joined us for the first time. After we had sampled the blends from Italy, Larry opened a Barolo that he had brought. I did not write the name down as it was not on the counter at the beginning of our tasting. Sitting here writing this article I realized my mistake. All I can say is, what a treat and I am so sorry that I did not capture the details of this spectacular wine. I remember that it had some age and could be aged much longer. Most Barolo wines (Nebbiolo grape) need years to soften and become enjoyable, happily this was not the case with this wine, it was gorgeous. Thank you Larry and Gloria for the treat.
It was quite an interesting night. During this GOTN, it was evident from the group, myself included, that we have not sampled enough wines from the various regions of Italy to know them. The wines that everyone brought were great examples of a fantastic Old World wine region. I propose that we revisit it at another time in hopes that we can all become more educated on these wines. As always, I want to thank Guy Lelarge for allowing us to have our monthly meeting at Valencia Wine Company. And who could forget our man Geno for taking care of our every need at this tasting. I hope everyone had a good time and I hope to see everyone at the next GOTN.