Slow Food International presented the 2015 edition of Slow Wine Guide at a wine tasting featuring more than 50 producers from 15 Italian wine regions that I attended at The Taglyan Center on Vine in Hollywood.
Clearly the plan was to completely taste through the 17-page program. However, from one Italian to another, I got so caught up talking and tasting with winery owners and representatives that I might have covered only one-third of what was offered. And that one-third was more than awesome. I learned more about the wide array of Italian grapes (I tried to get all their names) used for winemaking and not to pigeonhole Italian wines in a like or no like category. If you didn’t like one varietal you can still try a bazillion others!
Starting in the back of the room to avoid the cluster of tasters in the front, I visited Marco Porello and enjoyed a refreshing 2013 Roero Arneis Gamestri listed as an inexpensive “everyday wine” choice.
Next up in my program I noted remarkable flavors in all three that I tasted from Elvio Cogno: 2009 Baolo Bricco Pernice, 2012 Barbera D’Alba Bricco Dei Merli and the wonderful difference between aroma and flavors in the Langhe Nascetta Anas-Cetta.
At Diego Conterno I liked the 2010 Barolo Ginestra and then tried the 2010 Barolo that I liked even more. Both needed some cellar time, but I believe that is pretty standard for Barolos.
Agricole Vallone served up my first fave of the day – a 2010 Graticciaia from the Negroamaro grape, followed by a nicely spiced 2009 Salice Salentino Vereto Ris made from the same Negroamaro grape.
Planeta had a lovely oaked 2012 Sicilia Chardonnay with great fruit and a 2012 Sicilia Nerello Mascalese Eruzione made from Carricante grapes.
At Benanti, a winery built in volcanic soil and near an active volcano, had a nice dry 2012 Etna Rosso Rosso Di Versella and a 2010 Etna Rosso Rovittello.
Fattoria di Felsina had a lovely 2011 Fontalloro from Sangiovese grapes.
Montenidoli served up three exceptional tastes: 2010 Il Tempare made from Vernaccia, Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes; and a 2009 Vernaccia Si San Gimignano Carato.
While at the Tabarrini table the winery representative pulled out his iPad to show me a photo of the 6-foot tall grape trees that ladders are needed to pick the fruit. I enjoyed their 2011 Montefalco Rosso made from Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Barbera grapes.
Monte Tondo served up a lovely 2012 Soave Classico Casette Foscarin and an equally well done 2013 Soave Classico Montetondo…then they wowed me further with a 2010 Amarone Della Valpolicella that had a sweetly spiced nose that contrasted in the mouth with a nice drying palate.
Then at the Speri Viticoltori table I found the 2010 Amarone Cl. Vignetto Monte Sant’Urbano had “elegance” and a great balance.
And finally, saving this one for last, I ended up at the Brandy Villa Sarri table. There wasn’t a bottle here that I wouldn’t have loved to sneak home: the 1988 Brandy Millesimato and the 10-year old Brandy being the first. Then came a cherry brandy that was filled with rich black fruit, a walnut brandy “Liquore Nocino” that slayed me with unique flavors, and then finishing the tasting with the Amaro Zarri blend of spices and orange zest.
Tenuta Terraviva www.tenutaterraviva.it
Villa Venti www.villaventi.it
Le Vigne di Zamò www.levignedizamo.com
Ronco del Gelso www.roncodelgelso.com
Cantine Belisario www.belisario.it
Marotti Campi www.marotticampi.it
Anna Maria Abbona www.annamariabbona.it
Marco e Vittorio Adriano www.adrianovini.it
Borgogno & Figli www.borgogno.com
Ca’ Viola www.caviola.com
Casa di E. Mirafiore www.mirafiore.it
Cascina Ca’ Rossa www.cascinacarossa.com
Elvio Cogno www.elviocogno.com
Conterno Fantino www.conternofantino.it
Diego Conterno www.diegoconterno.it
Pira & Figli – Chiara Boschis www.pira-chiaraboschis.com
Giacomo Fenocchio www.giacomofenocchio.com
La Gironda www.lagironda.com
La Spinetta www.la-spinetta.com
Mossio Fratelli www.mossio.com
Marco Porello www.porellovini.it
G.D. Vajra www.gdvajra.it
Agricole Vallone www.agricolevallone.it
Castel di Salve www.casteldisalve.com
Alberto Longo www.albertolongo.it
Badia a Coltibuono www.coltibuono.com
Casanova della Spinetta www.la-spinetta.com
Corzano e Paterno www.corzanoepaterno.it
Fattoria di Fèlsina www.felsina.it
La Montecchia Conte Emo Capodilista www.lamontecchia.it
Monte Tondo www.montetondo.it
Leonildo Pieropan www.pieropan.it
Consorzio Maestri Vignaioli
Cantine del Notaio www.cantinedelnotaio.it
Villa Zarri www.brandyvillazarri.com
Cascina la Ghersa www.laghersa.it
Az. Agr. Stroppiana Dario www.cantinastroppiana.com
Ferreri & Bianco www.ferrerivini.it
Rubinelli Vajol www.rubinellivajol.it
Spumanti Dal Din www.daldin.it
Slow Wine is no longer just a wine guide. In April 2014, Slow Food also launched Slow Wine Magazine (http://www.slowwinemagazine.com), a digital magazine published in English, German and Italian. With six issues a year, the magazine recounts the world of Italian wine with an outlook of the Slow Food philosophy…
Slow Wine Guide critiques wine through the perspective of the Slow Food philosophy giving prominence to small-scale winemakers who are using traditional techniques, working with respect for the environment and terroir, and safeguarding the incredible biodiversity of grape varieties that are part of Italy’s heritage. Slow Wine is the only Italian wine guide that visits all of the winemakers included in the guide, in their vineyards.
The Slow Wine Guide 2015 English version is a selection of more than 300 of the best wineries. The large majority of the wineries recognized with the Snail or the Slow Wine symbol are certified organic and biodynamic.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com