Taste Italy 2013

Though ultimately about wine, wine events come in different sizes & themes and the concepts that attendees can take from them can be quite different. What one takes home from an event depends on not only one’s profession (industry/media) but also on the level of experience and direction in which one is heading. From last year’s ‘Taste Italy 2012’ event, I took away the understanding of the vastness of different wine varieties and styles (especially on the palate), a notion that perhaps would take me a year to grasp if I was to buy the wines myself. This year, I set out to gain an understanding of what the range of quality can be achieved within and between any given established style, while at-the-time uninfluenced by the wine’s price (didn’t know it at the time of tasting). The intention behind was to use this insight to conceptualize whether a certain point rating is worth the asking price (for me) or not, which should help me in making purchasing decisions as well as pass it onto my recommendations page, where ultimately the herein reviewed and recommended wines ended up.

 

With 78 represented producers, the ‘Taste Italy 2013’ was the largest wine tasting event showcasing a single country in Toronto this year. This venue, put together by Italian Trade Commission in four Canadian cities, was 10th annual in Vancouver and Calgary and 18th in Toronto and Montreal, held this year on October 28th, 30th and November 4th and 6th, respectively.

 

Intro
The Toronto event, again taking place at the Roy Thomson Hall, began with VIP Media pre-openning, where Master Sommelier John Szabo together with the Trade Commissioner Pasquale Bova discussed the trends of sales and how new varietals or regions are entering the market. For demonstration purposes, John picked 15 wines intended to represent the already established as well as emerging wine regions and styles, and we were to taste them blindly. As we were tasting, John described some of these wines and focused on the lesser known varietals, namely Aglianico and Albarossa (Nebbiolo/Barbera hybrid) and noted that Sicilian wines are making a strong push into Canadian market due to their quality and low-cost.
By giving out some stats, John put wine drinking habits into perspective – mentioning that after Canadian wine, Italian wine is the most consumed wine in this country (holding 27% and 15% of the Canadian wine market share, respectively; source Canadian Vintners Association); when considering imported wine, imports of Italian wine are on top in quantity, but are second to France in value; and that Quebecers out-drink Ontarians in both quantity and value (data from Statistics Canada). Though impressive stats, this data is put to shame by the fact that per capita/per year, average Canadian drinks only ~20L of wine vs. ~80L of beer (source Canadian Vintners Association).
Data herein were mentioned by John and I’ve verified them from a brochure compiled by the Italian Trade Agency, who cite the above-mentioned sources.

 

People captured in the photos: John Szabo MS., Pasquale Bova – Trade Commissioner, and Benedetta Marassi – Trade Analyst Wine and Agri food.

 

Wines blindly tasted and listed in order tasted:
The 2004 Aurelio Settimo Barolo Riserva Rocche has captivating nose of smoked meat, anise, cedar, pomegranate and dried cherry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine; with forward acidity, tannins that are refined to tannic (decant for 1+ hours) and a long finish. Sip this one on-its-own; drink now-2018+. My impression: NICE, 90 pts.
Score 90 pts. $69.00 Available on consignment
www.profilewinegroup.com
The 2008 Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino, composed of 100% Sangiovese that was aged in French Oak for 36 months, has intense aromas of cigar box, pine, faint leather, dried cherry and pomegranate on the nose and dried cherry and cigar box on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; balanced with good, mouth-watering acidity, drying tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long and silky finish. Enjoy on-its-own; drink now to 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 92 pts. $49.95 Vintages 650432
The 2010 Michele Satta Bolgheri Piastraia, composed of equal amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese, has intense aromas of cherry, black cherry, blackberry, lees and cranberry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, dusty tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a medium finish. It is food friendly; drink 2015-2020. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $38.00 Available on consignment
www.majesticwine.ca
The 2008 Castello Di Neive Langhe Albarossa, composed in its entirety with the Albarossa grape, has appealing aromas of cherry, leather and dates. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins and a medium, smooth finish. Drink with food; drink now-2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. Available through private order
www.brunelloimports.com
The 2011 Civielle Valtènesi Eusebio da Agricoltura Biologica is composed of 50% Groppello, 20% Marzemino, 10% Barbera, 10% Sangiovese and 10% Rebo was harvested from organically grown grapes. It has appealing aromas of yogurty strawberry, black cherry, prune and lees. It is a medium to full-bodied, fruity wine; with checked acidity, grippy tannins and a medium finish. Drink with food; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Awarded an “OSCAR” in Gambero Rosso wine guide “Berebene 2014”.
Score 88 pts. €4.39 Interested in importing www.civielle.com

 

 

Before spearing into a 5 hour-long tasting session, a consumption of food was a must.  This year’s great food was orchestrated by Saverio Macri – an executive chef and his staff from the Cibo Wine Bar.

 

 

This year, I wanted to focus mainly on Nebbiolo’s, Brunello di Montalcino’s, Tuscans/Super Tuscans, Amarones and Ripasso’s – perhaps an ambitious plan as I missed out on the Amarones and Ripasso’s.

 

Single Varietals
The 2007 Poderi Gianni Gagliardo Barolo, aged in French Oak for 36 months, has intense aromas of dried pomegranate, anise, cedar, clove, touch of leather and dried cherry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine, with good acidity, refined to grippy tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long, silky finish. Drink on its own; drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended due to its quality.
Score 92 pts. $170.00 Available on consignment
www.wineloversagency.com
The 2009 Poderi Gianni Gagliardo Barolo that was aged in French Oak for 36 months, has intense aromas of anise, oak, clove, rosehip and faint cinnamon on the nose and sour cherry and light vanilla on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with good acidity, notable tannins (decant for 1+ hours) and a long finish. This one is a sipper; drink 2015/6-2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $60.00 Available on consignment
www.wineloversagency.com
The 2008 Poderi Gianni Gagliardo Barolo that was aged in French Oak for 36 months, has intense aromas of barnyard, pine, red currant on the nose and cranberry, red currant, cherry, fresh coffee bean and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with forward acidity, strong tannins (decant for 1-2 hours) and a long finish. Drink on its own; drink from 2015 – 2019 hopefully the tannins will soften by then. My impression: NICE (though quite tannic), 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $100.00 Available on consignment
www.wineloversagency.com

 

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The 2007 Ruffino Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino is composed of 100% Sangiovese that was aged in French Oak for 40 months. The wine has appealing aromas of cedar, clove, cigar box, light lees, dried cherry and raspberry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, grippy tannins (decant for 1 hour) and a long and silky finish that has fruit and wood in harmony. Enjoy this wine on-its-own; drink now – 2018/2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 92 pts. $50.00 Available on consignment
www.cbrands.com926402
The 2008 San Polo Brunello Di Montalcino, composed of 100% Sangiovese that was aged in French Oak for 24 months, has intense aromas of cherry/black cherry, vanilla and cigar box. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; balanced with forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long finish. This is a sipper; drink now to 2018+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – clean, classic Brunello – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $55.00 Available on consignment
www.profilewinegroup.com
The 2007 Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino, composed of 100% Sangiovese that was aged in French Oak for 12-14 months, has appealing bouquet of dried pomegranate, red currant, cherry, oak and leather. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine; balanced with forward acidity, drying tannins (decant for 1 hour) and a smooth, wood dominated finish of long length. Enjoy on-its-own; drink now – 2017+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $59.95 Vintages 378257

 

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The 2011 Banfi Rosso Di Montalcino Poggio Alle Mura that is composed of Sangiovese grapes that were aged in French Oak for 8 months. It has appealing notes of earthy cherry, raspberry and blackberry. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with checked acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. Drink with food; now – 2015. It is quite simple, my impression: NOTHING SPECIAL, 86-87 pts.
Score 86 pts. $32.00 Available on consignment
www.awsm.ca
The 2010 Cantine Miali Primitivo Salento Campirossi, harvested from old Primitivo vines and then aged in oak for 6 months, has intense aromas of blackberry and wood on the nose and strawberry and raspberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; balanced with forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium to long, clean finish. It is food friendly as well as can be sipped alone; drink now – 2018. My impression: NICE, 89-90 pts – recommended for both, quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $14.95 Available on consignment
www.gvestate.com
The 2010 Poderi Gianni Gagliardo Barbera D’Alba La Matta has intense aromas of earthy, prune and raspberry on the nose and earthy blackberry, bilberry and black cherry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine, with good acidity, subtle to refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium, fruit forward finish. This is a food friendly wine; drink now to 2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its quality.
Score 88 pts. $32.00 Available on consignment
www.wineloversagency.com

 

Blends
The 2010 San Polo Bolgheri Superiore Poggio Al Tesoro Sondraia is composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc that was aged in French Oak for 18 months. This wine has captivating notes of pine needled, cedar, green blackcurrant, blackberry and black cherry on the nose and figs and black cherry on the palate. It is a medium to full-bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; it is balanced with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long finish. Enjoy this one on-its-own, drink now or cellar for several years to 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92+ pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 92 pts. $45.00 Available on consignment
www.profilewinegroup.com
The 2011 Le Serre Nuove Dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri is composed of 57% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 14% Petit Verdot that was aged for 16 months in new French Oak. This wine has intense aromas of black cherry, prune, wood and cedar. It is a medium to full-bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long, wood dominated, smooth finish. This one is a sipper; drink 2014 – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 92 pts. $59.95 Vintages 606194
The 2010 Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi Mormoreto, composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot that was aged in French Oak for 24 months, has captivating bouquet of cigar box, vanilla, clove and faint leather on the nose and blackberry, black cherry, vanilla and oak on the palate. It is a medium to full-bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a long to extra long, smooth and silky finish. Enjoy with the special someone on-its-own; drink now to 2020-25. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 92 pts. $62.95 Vintages 951210
The 2011 San Polo Toscana Poggio Al Tesoro Mediterra that is composed of 40% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot was aged in French Oak for 12 months. This wine has pronounced notes of forest floor, eucalyptus and cherry on the nose and red currant stems, cherry/black cherry and figs on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, refined/chalky tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a long finish. It is food friendly, yet should be enjoyed on-its-own; cellaring will enhance its complexity (evolution potential +1-2 pts) drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91+ (+2 EP) – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $23.95 Vintages 333567
The 2010 Banfi Bolgheri Aska, composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc that was aged in French Oak for 8-10 months, has intense aromas of cherry, red currant, black cherry and vanilla + oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a long & smooth, vanilla + oak dominated finish. Drink as a sipper; drink now to 2018+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for both, value and quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $25.00 Available on consignment
www.awsm.ca
The 2011 Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore is composed of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot that was aged for 24 months in new French Oak. The wine has intense aromas of clove, leather, cherry/black cherry and vanilla. It is medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine; with forward acidity, drying tannins (decant for 1+ hours) and a long, vanilla/wood dominated finish. Sip on-its-own, drink now-2018. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts.
Score 91 pts. $189.95 Available on consignment
www.awsm.ca
The 2008 Ruffino Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Riserva is composed of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot that was aged in French Oak for 36 months. This wine has appealing aromas of lifted blackberry, wood, pine and subtle yeasty cherry on the nose and sour cherry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, subtle to refined tannins (decant for 15+ min) and a medium to long finish that has balanced fruit/oak intensity. Drink as a sipper; drink now to 2018. My impression: quite NICE, 90 pts – recommended for its quality, though quite expensive.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $43.95 Vintages 353201
The 2010 Ruffino Modus is composed of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot that was aged in American Oak for 12 months. The wine has intense aromas of cherry, blackberry and cedar on the nose and blackberry, black cherry and light vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with checked acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long finish. It’s a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now – 2019. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $28.95 Vintages 912956
The 2009 Cantine Miali Settarte Rosso, composed of 70% Primitivo and 30% Syrah, has intense aromas of black cherry, prune, caramel, cigar box and vanilla on the nose and prune and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; balanced with vibrant acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a long and smooth finish. Drink with food or on-its-own; drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $15.95 Available on consignment
www.gvestate.com
The 2011 Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi Tenuta Di Castiglioni, composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 10% Sangiovese, has intense aromas of cranberry, pomegranate, cherry and oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, grippy tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium finish. Food friendly; drink now – 2016/18. My impression: NICE, 88-89.
Score 89 pts. $21.95 Vintages 145920
The 2011 Le Volte Dell’ Ornellaia, composed of 50% Merlot, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 12 months in French Oak, has intense aromas of yogurty cherry, dried pomegranate, lees and pine. It is medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium finish. This is a food friendly wine; drink now – 2018. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $29.95 Vintages 964221
The 2009 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale that is composed of 80% Sangiovese with rest made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot was aged in French Oak for 24 months. This wine has intense aromas of earthy cherry, leather, subtle cedar and clove on the nose and yeasty pomegranate, red currant, cherry and wood on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a medium finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2018. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $24.95 LCBO 45195
The 2011 Banfi Toscana Centine Rosso that is composed of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, has appealing notes of yeasty blackberry and black cherry on the nose and red currant and cherry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, subtle to refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium finish. Drink with food; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $15.95 LCBO 323725
The 2010 Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi Chianti Nipozzano Riserva, composed of 92% Sangiovese, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, has intense aromas of dried cherry, cedar, anise and oak on the nose and dried cherry and pomegranate on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity, dusty tannins and medium finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2016+. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $21.95 LCBO 107276
The 2012 Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi Chianti Castiglioni, composed of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot, has intense aromas of cherry, raspberry, plum and touch of earthiness. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2016. My impression: NOTHING SPECIAL to NICE, 87 pts.
Score 87 pts. $14.95 LCBO 545319

 

 

Pictures taken walking around while on a break from tasting.
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Roy Thompson Hall can handle the crowds of people who the ‘Taste Italy’ event brought in. With so many wines, everyone is bound to find their “good deal”, whether being a buyer in the hospitality industry or a private customer looking to fill empty spaces in their cellar. Throughout the five-and-a-half hour affair, the hall resonated with sounds changing from openness to quiet hum to intense chatter, glass clinking and laughter, and if one stays long enough, to dissipating laughter only to be replaced by glass and bottle clashing as they are taken away.

 

My experience from the ‘Taste Italy 2012‘ can be viewed here.

 

 

 

My thanks go to the Italian Trade Commission for the invitation
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 as well as Saverio Macri of Cibo Wine Bar for the great food.
CIBO
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2 thoughts on “Taste Italy 2013

  1. Hi. I am a newbie when it comes to wine. A small group of friends get together once a month to learn about wines. I would like to know about upcoming wine events. In particular, wine events that within driving distance from Elora, Ontario.

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