17th Annual Italian Wine Tasting

On November 5th 2012, Délégation Commercial d’Italie organized and executed the 17th Annual Italian Wine tasting event held at the Roy Thompson Hall. With clientele including agents, restaurant/hotel sommeliers, wine writers/critics, media (category under which GrapeSelections was granted entry) or private buyers, all of us totalling 4 to 5 hundred strong, one would think that the staff representing the 83 listed wineries featuring on average 5 different wines, would be completely overwhelmed. On the contrary, the open, circular layout of the foyer allowed for unobstructed movement and the atmosphere, though lively, was quite relaxed and the agents were attentive and ready to discuss their products even during the peak hour.


Corridor of Roy Thompson Hall
with food stand catered by  Paganellis Restaurant staff


While making my way through the venue, I would bump into people that I knew, some of which I naturally expected to run into, while others that I would not. I was surprised to run into the staff from Paganellis Restaurant that happened to be responsible for keeping everyone’s hunger at bay. Paganellis is an Italian restaurant, where I dine at least once every two months, as they serve award winning truffle risotto that is ‘to die for’ (Winner of the Golden Spoon – Best Risotto in Canada 2001).  They also have an impressive cellar at the back of the restaurant, which I have been helping to deplete.


As there were so many featured wines – too many to go through in one afternoon, I had to make a decision on how to approach the event.  As GrapeSelections focuses on featuring wines that are either available at the LCBO or on consignment, I would go from table to table and base my tasting choices on that.  Sometimes if I found something unusual or just could not resist the Amarone, Barolo or Barbaresco, I would sway away from my mission. Though I came across many well crafted wines, I pick few here that I want to feature.


Moscato – two producers from the Piemonte appellation, stationed side by side to eachother had excellent and quite similar products.
2011 Moscato Naturale d’Asti DOCG from Bera Azienda Agricola and 2011 Moscato d’Asti Bricco Cardogno DOCG from Rinaldi Vini. Both made from 100% Moscato, medium bodied, with intense aromas of apricots, leechie, citrus and floral notes. Both being sweet, having fine bubbles, refreshing acidity and a medium to long, clean finish; making them an excellent choice for dessert wine. Rated at 90-91 pts and would be priced around the $20 once they arrive on the market, these will definitely be the wines to stock up on.


Nero di Troia – I tasted two wines made 100% from this grape by Torrevento vinery  situated in the Puglia appellation.
The 2010 Torre Del Falco, Puglia IGT is a medium bodied, fruity wine with intense aromas of raspberries and dates.  It has a good acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish.  Scoring 88 pts and costing $9.95, makes this an excellent choice to accompany almost any food.  As the agent told me, this wine should be in the general listing at the LCBO (but is currently not there).
The 2008 Vigna Pedal Riserva, Castel del Monte DOC is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of raspberry, dates, subtle oak and regional character coming from the indigenous yeast.  It has a good structure, with refined tannins, food friendly acidity and a long finish.  Though this wine will go well with food, it will also be enjoyed by itself; it is ready to drink right now or can be cellared for the next 5+ years.  Scoring 90 pts and valued at $19.95, this one is definitely worth a try, though will not be available at the vintages until May of 2013.


Though not for its PQR, another wine that made it on my list and into the ‘Gifts for spouses or bosses’ section of my recommended wines, is this Super Tuscan wine from the Diadema Winery:
The 2009 Diadema Rosso, composed of 75% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah that were aged in French Oak barriques for 16 months; is a medium to full bodied, integrated wine with intense aromas of dried prunes, dark chocolate, cedar, clove and subtle coconut and vanilla.  It has a good balance, forward acid, refined tannins and a long finish.  This wine is meant to be sipped by itself even though it will go well with food; it is ready to be enjoyed now or will blossom in the cellar for another 5-10 years.  Score 91-92 pts and will be retailed for $63.95, arriving at the LCBO Vintages just in time for Valentine’s day (hence the label design).


The 2010 Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC, composed of 65% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 15% Molinara that were aged in Slavonian and French Oaks for 6 months, is a medium to full bodied, fruity wine, with intense aromas of cherry, raspberry, red currant and with subtle oak influence.  It has soft, refined tannins, nice acidity and medium finish.  This is a food friendly wine that can be enjoyed now or cellared for the next 5 years.  This classical Ripasso scoring 88-89 pts and selling for $16.95 at the LCBO 999946 is in my opinion a good buy.
Another Ripasso I tried was the 2009 Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC Montecorna, composed of 70% Corvina, 15% Rondinella, 5% Molinara and 10% other vines that were aged in Slavonian Oak for 6 months, is a medium to full bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of cherry, black cherry, blackberry, cedar and green foliage notes.  It has a good structure, grippy tannins that compliment the fruit and the acidity, and a long finish.  This wine should age well for the next 5+ years.  Scoring 90-91 pts and retailing for $21.95 definitely makes it on my list.  It will be available at the LCBO May-June 2013. Can currently be purchased on consignment


And the afternoon turned into evening


Lastly, here is the logo to Paganellis Restaurant – as I highly recommend it.  When you go, mention to them that you heard about them from an article written by GrapeSelections.  Cheers

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