TASTING ITALY (Part 1)

8 Wineries, 5 Days, 1,638 km across half of Italy … and unknown number of wines

Recently, we have added eight Italian brands onto our portfolio. Hooray! (Though we love the Aussie wines that we have, it is always great to expand our palates and drink wines from the land up over.) And so, after 5 days of “zipping” around half of Italy with an approximate total 1,638km (air-travel to Italy excluded), we are pleased to present these eight family-owned wineries from Grandi Vini Consortium and an account of some of the best drops that were tasted.

The Route

A)    Villa Girardi – San Pietro, Veneto

B)    Bisol Viticoltori – Valdobbiadene, Veneto

C)    Fernanado Pighin – Friuli, Udine

D)    Umberto Cesari – San Pietro Terme, Emilia Romagna

E)     Garofoli – Loreto, Marche

F)     Carpenito – Montelpulcino, Tuscany

G)    Fattorria Mantellassi – Magliano, Tuscany

H)    Michele Chiarlo – Asti, Piedmont

Hadn’t realised the extent of the travelling till the map was showed and distance plotted

Stop A

Villa Girardi – Veneto, 10 April 2011

Tasting at Villa Quaranta (www.villaquaranta.com), hosted by Mr. Franco Tommasi

Arrived at Villa Quaranta in Verona, late morning; and was greeted by a picturesque modern resort and spa owned by the Tommasi family, complete with well-manicured Renaissance gardens and Wisteria-laced courtyards that the Italians are known for.

Villa Quaranta in Verona

Franco Tommasi giving a private tour to his cellars

Wines that were tasted:

2010 Soave Classico

2010 Lugana
~ Aromatic with nuances of tropical fruits and bananas; almost like a Pinot Gris with a pleasant zesty finish

2010 “Terre Lunghe”

2010 Bardolino Chiaretto (Rose)

2010 Valpolicella Classico

~ Crovina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara blend, aged in Slovenian oak

 2008 Ripasso “Bure Alto” Valpolicella

~ Lovely and soft on the nose, raisins on the palate without being overly rich and has a velvety texture that’s almost chewable yet supported with round soft tannins. Taste like velvety soft rays of a setting sun.

If the Ripasso is to be painted on canvas, this particular picture of Franco’s soft endearing smile with the gentle rays grazing his face at sunset, while he reminisced the history of his un-restored villa will be it

2007 Amarone della Valpolicella

~ Gentle on the nose, soft spices with great length that is both luscious and well-balanced. A surprisingly elegant Amarone that differs from the usual rich ‘sticky-like’ texture

2004 ‘Opere di San Pietro’ Amarone

~ If the 2007 Amarone is a gentleman in a well tailored suit, the ‘Opere’ will be his grandfather in his Bentley. Strong and heavy on the nose, deep concentrated fruits with a ‘brandy-like’ aftertaste, strictly for the Amarone lovers!

Reciotto della Valpolicella

~ A traditional Venetian dessert wine that has a convivial sweetness and slight chocolately notes with  refined silky texture yet without being overly perfumed

*Do you know? The famed Amarone was an “accident” – the Romans made Reciotto first, and Amarone was only discovered by accident.

Villa Girardi lies in the valley of San Pietro Incariano and Fumane, the namesake represents a typical Venetian country house dating back to 1700s designed by architect Luigi Trezza. Although the winery shares the same premise as Tommasi, wines bearing the Villa Girardi label are Franco Tommasi’s personal signature and a hallmark that portrays his passion and understanding of this region.

For more information: www.villagirardi.it

Stop B

Bisol Viticoltori – Valdobbiadene, Veneto, 11 April 2011

Tasting at Relais Duca di Dolle (www.ducadidolle.it), hosted by Giovanni Olivia

The tour of Bisol, and the tasting of their Prosecco was conducted by Giovanni – Asia Representative of the Grandi Vini Consorzio (also designated driver).

Bisol, a pioneer in this region since 1875; owns 65ha of its vineyards at the premium Valdobbiadene region including 3ha in the hills of Cartizze; where a hectare of Cartizze grape land is estimated to be worth in excess of USD1M!  A treacherous landscape, poor limestone soil structure and shorter exposure to sunlight; improves the flavour of these grapes grown in the hills of Cartizze.

Talking about ‘Getting high’! Because of the altitude, the vineyards are not assisted by machines. All sheer hard work.

Giovanni preparing for the tasting of Bisol proseccos at Relais Duca di Dolle, a pretty little vacation house owned by the Bisol family. Its available short stays and is extremely popular with vacationers.

Wines that were tasted:

NV Jeio Cuvee Rose

NV Bel Star Prosecco DOC

~ Clean, fresh and light lavender on the nose. Good length with a crisp finish.

NV Jeio Brut Valdobbiadene

~ Zesty and soft with stone fruits showing predominately on the nose, has a slight creamy finish

2010 Crede Prosecco di Valdobbiadene

~ Thick strong stone fruits on the nose, with a “mountainous” crisp texture, a springy bite and lengthier on the palate

2001 Bisol “Talento Classico Methode” Riserva

 2003 Bisol “Talento Classico Methode” Rose Brut

 2009 Bisol Cartizze Valdobiadene Superiore di Cartizze

~ Strong stone fruits fragrance, apricots and peaches with fine perlage that gives a good finish

Bisol Grappa di Cartizze

~ An amazing grappa; lean, clean and fresh with sublime apricot notes! Almost magical – like a pure drop of morning dew before dawn

Bisol Duca di Dolle Passito

~ A yummy digestive that cleanses the palate after a heavy meal; a gentle sweet digestive to end the day without being cloy

Learn more about Bisol and their delicious bubbles at www.bisol.it

Stop C

Fernando Pighin – Friuli, Udine, 11 April 2011

Tasting at La Frasca Restaurant, hosted by Roberto Pighin

If Venice is a glided masquerade at a mansion, then Udine is a country picnic by the river. Sandwiched between the Slovenia, the Adriatic Sea and The Alps; Udine eludes a simple rustic charm that beckons a peaceful leisurely lifestyle. Mr Fernando Pighin and Mr Roberto Pighin (father and son) gave a warm welcome at Risano and a little drive around their 150ha vineyards where the winery’s renowned fresh and aromatic Pinot Grigio Grave is cultivated.

Fernando Pighin explaining the soil composition of his vineyards

Roberto Pighin gave a tongue-in-cheek tasting from the tanks at the winery, followed by an enthralling tasting over dinner at La Frasca Ristorante (www.lafrasca.com)

Wines that were tasted

NV Rose Vino Spumante Brut

2009 Pinot Grigio Grave

2009 Sauvignon Grave

~ Smelled like freshly cut Asparagus after a light rain in the morning of spring on the nose; and the signature freshness on the palate

2010 Sauvignon Collio

2010 Pinot Grigio Collio

~ Ripe bananas and toasty almonds yet zesty and clean on the palate

2003 Rosso Riserva Villa Agricole

~ A vision of a rich chocolately brownie lined with red cherries and wild raspberries dusted with icing sugar on first whiff. Goes well with a nicely grilled piece of steak.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva

2006 Picolit Collio

Learn more about Pighin at www.pighin.com

Stop D

Umberto Cesari – Emilia Romagna, 12 April 2011

Tasting at Cesari’s summer house, hosted by Gianmaria and Riccardo Cesari

San Terme, the heart of Emilia Romagna and home of Umberto Cesari, also equates to the land of Sangiovese. In 1967, Umberto Cesari acquired a mere 20 ha of vineyards in the hills of Castel San Pietro. Today, his eponymous winery is now an empire consisting of a vast 120 ha vineyards and is recognized internationally for its quality Sangiovese.

Gianmaria Cesari explaining the family’s philosophy in winemaking at the vineyards

Wines that were tasted:

Moma Bianco Rubicone IGT

Moma Rosso Rubicone IGT

Sangiovese di Romagna Riserva DOC

~ 100% Sangiovese, intense red fruits, a hint of clayey minerals with a tight bite at the end

Liano – Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon IGT

~ Ripe cherries and strawberries with just a slight hint of spice and “spike”; youthful and straight forward. Possibly better with more age.

Tauleto Sangiovese Rubicone IGT

~  Aged for 24 months in Slovenian oak, dense and full-bodied with a complexity that bears reminisce of rainforest wilderness, musk, spice and malty chocolate.

Learn more about Umberto Cesari: www.umbertocesari.it

…. to be continued.

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About Monopole Singapore

Drink Better. With Us. Sharing the best wines and beverages with everyone
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