Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Italian wine. It’s incredible to see the diversity of the grapes, the regions and the wine styles in Italy; there is a wine for every occasion! But, I feel like only a handful or so Italian grapes get the recognition. For this tasting, I decided to focus more on the unknown grapes of Italy that are just as good (if not, better) as Sangiovese or Pinot Grigio.
Barone Pizzini Franciacorta Rose 2014
Oh Franciacorta, one of my favourites! This is THE CHAMPAGNE of Italy (sorry Prosecco). Based in the modest region of Lombardy, Franciacorta wines show just as much elegance and complexity as their French counterparts. The wine goes through the same process (traditional method) as Champagne and they also focus on the similar grapes (Pinot Nero, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanco) creating wines with a similar premise, but unique character. The Barone Pizzini Rose 2014 is one of my favourites on the market right now. A blend of Pinot Nero and Chardonnay that spends 40 months on lees and 6 months in barriques, this wine has complexity beyond its price point. This sensual and idyllic expression of Pinot Noir is transformed into notes of underbrush, currant, and blueberry together with hints of rose petal in the glass. The structure and balance of this wine are interwoven in a lingering tension between its rich flavour and acidity. Barone Pizzini was also the first Franciacorta producer to be 100% Organic!
Pecorino needs to be the new replacement for Pinot Grigio, seriously! It’s fresh, vibrant and can easily be consumed on a patio in the summer. Situated in the beautifully picturesque valley of the Esino River, Cantina Belisario is full of wonder. It’s a winery focusing on the breathtakingly humble traditions of the Marche region, producing native grapes such as Verdicchio, Pecorino, Passerina and Lacrima. Their wines speak stories of their home, telling tails of the terroir, tradition and showcasing their enlightening complexity.
Marche is one of the smaller Italian regions, responsible for producing only about 2% of Italy’s total wine volume. Even so, Marche is in the lead for organic agriculture, continuously producing upwards of 22% of Italy’s total organic wine production, an impressive feat for this modest region. Belisario is much the same, only focusing on organic agriculture, letting the grapes grow as they need.
Oddero Langhe Bianco Collaretto
Oddero is one of the most historical wineries in Barolo. Dating back to the end of the 18th century, Oddero was one of the first to officially bottle Barolo wines. They also produce only organic wines, which is not a small feat for a legendary producer like themselves.
Like stated earlier, I wanted to showcase some other wine styles from Italy. This Chardonnay/Riesling blend is fresh and vibrant, yet subtle. It demands your attention, but yet, might need a touch more time in the bottle to show its full potential.
Morette Bardolino Chiaretto Rose
Bardolino is very similar in style to our beloved Valpolicella, yet we see little of this wine around. Based off the shore of Lake Garda, this small little region produces wines closer in style to french Pinot Noir than some of those bolder Valpolicella. Thai Rose was one of the favourite wines of the evening. It was super fresh with an intense berry nose. Yet the palate was extremely mineral focused. Super fresh and what I would describe as the perfect patio crusher. So fresh, so vibrant, so perfect!
Rottensteiner Pinot Nero
Pinot Nero, aka Pinot Noir, is not necessarily well known in Italy, but in the Alpine region of Trentino, (i personally believe) its sings! This high altitude allows the grape to ripen into a grape that creates a wine with beautiful elegance. Rottensteiner had been creating wine for over 50 years since Hans Rottensteiner decided to go for his dream. They focus on those elegant grapes of the Alps, especially Pinot Nero. This Pinot was showing very well this evening, with wild berries, fierce minerality and some notes of blossom. Definitely worth a try!
Belisario Lacrima Di Morro D’Alba
Another wine from Belisario. Lacrima is a grape you do not see too often in Calgary, but lucky for us we received a fresh shipment just a couple of weeks before! Lacrima Di Morro D’Alba is a beautiful little appellation in the hills of Marche, one of the most underrated regions in Italy. This wine is 100% Lacrima and is definitely more of a unique style in comparison to other more notable Italian Reds. one of the favourite wines of the evening!
Grosjean Fumin Rovettaz
Grosjean is one of the more notable wineries based in the small Alpine region of Valle D’Aosta. A region full of history and culture, and the only Italian region to have two official languages (Italian and French)! With this high elevation region, the wines typically have more of a cool tone to them, with more acidity, lighter body and a touch more of an austere character. Even so, these wines are incredible. Fumin is one of the native grapes of this region, and definitely worth a try! Limited Stock!
Quintarelli Rosso di Bepi
OK, so this one was a treat for everyone this evening. Giuseppe Quintarelli is probably one of (if not) the producers in Veneto, especially for the Valpolicella appellation. The Rosso del Bepi is a blend of 55% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Croatina and Sangiovese. This wine is essentially a declassified Amarone. The grapes are hand-harvested and left to dry in wooden boxes or rush mats as in traditional Amarone production. The grapes are usually pressed in January after the development of noble rot on the dried grapes and after a 20 maceration, alcoholic fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts. Fermentation lasts 45 days and the wine is then racked and aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 7 years. Alcoholic fermentation continues during this period, so the result is a dry wine that is concentrated, rich and powerful.
Thank you to everyone who attended this evening, and special thanks to Peasant Cheese!
Pip pip, cheerio,