Vino California (www.vino-california.com) is a week-long wine and food celebration of native Italian wine. Sponsored by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West Inc, Blue Lifestyle, and The Tasting Panel magazine, this year the festivities started on May 13th and continued for five days with a series of tastings, seminars, and wine dinners. I had the pleasure of attending the trade/media portion of the grand tasting held on May 14th at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Now, I think I know something about wine. I definitely feel I have a pretty decent handle on what is going on in California, more specifically the Central Coast. But I walked into that room of hundreds of wines being poured, many [most?] of them being unfamiliar Italian varietals from Italy’s many regions, and I didn’t know where to start. Fortunately, I saw…
Many of you in the Santa Clarita Valley, especially those who frequent the wine bars, may know Robert as a great guitarist and singer, currently as a member The Keys. You may not know that Robert is also an Italian wine expert, and works with Italia Wine Imports to supply some of the great Italian wines you can find in our local restaurants and bars.
A brief discussion with Robert, in which he shared his passion for Italian wines as well as his recommendation for wines I absolutely had to taste that day, helped to get things started right.
So, I spent the afternoon sampling a dizzying array of outstanding wines from wineries with unfamiliar names, many made from grapes I had never heard of. Lots of fun, and I admittedly should have taken more notes, but here are a few that really stood out for me:
Winery: Az. Marramiero from the Abruzzo region of Italy
Incanto Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC 2010
Inferni Montelpulciano D’Abruzzo DOC 2009
Dante Marramiero D’Abruzzo DOC 2003
All the above are 100% Montepulciano.
Winery: Il Borro from the Toscana region
Rosso Toscana IGT 2008
Merlot 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 40%, Syrah 10%
Winery: Mocine from the Toscana region
Otto Rintocchi 2010
A blend of Sangiovese, Foglia Tonda, Bersaglina, Colorino
Winery: Feudo Maccari from the Sicilia region
Nero d’Avola 100%
Winery: Az. Agricola Begali Lorenzo from the Veneto region
Amarone Classico DOC 2007
Corvina 65%, Rondinella 30%, Other 5%
I ended my afternoon of tasting back at Robert’s table to try the grappas he was pouring. I loved both of them from the Capovilla Distilatti SRL based in the Venuto Region. The Grappa Di Moscato Giallo was made from 100% Moscato Giallo Pomace and the Grappa Di Amarone Legno was blend of Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella Pomace.
Robert gave me his final thoughts on the event:
“Overall a lot of press and clients were impressed with the array of Italian wines that were presented at the event. Consumers were able to experience different styles and levels of traditional wines like Barolo, Brunello, Amarone, Pinot Grigio and Chianti. In addition there were many fascinating esoteric wines like Pecorino, Vermentino and Ribolla Gialla. I believe this event provided wine enthusiasts a great opportunity to taste through a large selection of indigenous grapes from all over Italy and everyone left with a stronger appreciation for Italian wines!”
I couldn’t agree more. There are so many great wines out there and it is a good idea to spend some time out of your comfort zone. Having a guide like Robert is always a great help, but even if you are on your own, the best way to learn about wine is to taste-taste-taste!
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.(2013 Update: Eve and Michael announced Eve Wine 101 Consulting. Info is here: http://evewine101.com/press-releases/)