The Italian Challenge tasting – June 9, 2015

Lisa Zinck
June 9, 2015

Sangiovese versus Nebbiolo… what a challenge! I was without a doubt up for the test. The room was filled with familiar faces, so this made the evening even more enjoyable. We compared sangiovese with nebbiolo in 3 flights.

First flight: easy entry level varietals

Second flight: more sophisticated with oak treatment

Third flight: serious Brunello versus Barolo

Although a difficult decision, sangiovese won the battle.  I must say there was not a bad wine in the bunch. We tasted the three flights, comparing each varietal, and then the sangiovese based wines, then the nebbiolo flight.

I could see eyes opening wide when people went back and re-tasted the wines. It was a test of sensory memory to walk through each varietal.

Overall it was a great challenge and very enlightening.

The wines were perfectly paired with cheese from Italy and cured meats supplied by Peasant Cheese Shop.

Wine is for enjoyment and to experience with friends. I can honestly say we all enjoyed the challenge . Poggio Antico Altero Brunello di Montalcino 2008 was the clear winner, however never underestimate Barolo….. it just takes its time to shine!

Il Palagio Ignobile Sangiovese $23.99

A Kensington Wine Market exclusive! Super-easy to drink and super-affordable Sangiovese from our friends, who own a lovely small winery in Panzano in Chianti, in the heart of Italy’s famous Tuscany wine region. Pair this sipper with pizza, pasta, lasagna or burgers. Buy by the case for all your red wine needs! Not Sting’s winery, which has a similar name, just in case you’re wondering!

Serradenari Nebbiolo $27.99

The family behind Serradenari has owned the prestigious estate since the 19th century; they produced Italy’s first automobile in the 1800s, and this estate was their country escape. Made from the Nebbiolo grape, this ruby-red wine is fresh and easy to drink, with a pretty floral note on the nose.

San Giusto Chianti Classico 2012 $44.99

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave the 2011 vintage 90 points, but he hasn’t yet reviewed the 2012. Here’s what his team has to say about the winery, however: “Run by the Martini di Cigala siblings (Elisabetta, Luca and Francesco), Fattoria San Giusto a Rentennano is a flagship winery in the Gaiole in Chianti subzone of the denomination.” Rich, earthy and intense!

Rocca Albino Barbaresco $54.99

Organic! Angelo Rocca was the winemaker here, following in the footsteps of his father, Albino. Angelo died in 2012, but not before receiving all kinds of praise from the critics, including Robert Parker. Expect balance, elegance and relatively modestly priced wines, plus, often, scores well over 90! This family-owned winery has been mastering Nebbiolo, the grape used to make this Barbaresco, for more than 100 years.

Poggio Antico Altero 2008 $98.99

A fine 91 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate! The review: “The estate’s 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Altero is a bit more fruit-forward and dense than the straight bottling. It, too, appears best suited for drinking over the near and medium term. There is excellent brightness and energy in the red fruit flavors, while floral and spice overtones add an upper register that is undeniably pleasing.” Drink now through 2020.

Montezemolo Barolo Monfalletto 2010 $68.99

A mighty impressive 93 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate! The review: “The 2010 Barolo Monfalletto is a gorgeous wine (and a superb value) with a rich and opulent feel that wraps seductively over the palate. The wine imparts a long succession of aromas including cherry cola, licorice, mint and white truffle. Barolo Monfalletto is aged in oak barrel of various sizes and provenances and boasts an impressive level of silkiness and complexity as a result. Drink: 2016-2028.”

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