Did you know that Italy has more than 500 DOCs, more than 2000 Italian grape varieties, and covers nearly 700,000 hectares of vineyards? That dwarfs BC and all of Canada’s production and grape variety. Recently Wine Meridian, a wine magazine from Italy brought fifteen wineries to Canada to show us about lesser known, smaller wineries that are in the more famous wine regions of Italy, like Piedmonte and Tuscany. I was very impressed with the quality of the wines presented. All of the wineries had their first visit to Canada and are looking for representation, so the wines that I enjoyed the most, and wrote about will hopefully be in BC and/or Canada soon. You may also find these wines across the border in Washington state. If not, check out the names of the indigenous grapes I’ve mentioned and try to find a bottle in your favourite bottle shop and give it a try. You may find your next favourite wine grape!
My Italian Wine Picks
Wine Company Riobolla Gialla Brut, 2015 – This is a sparkling wine from the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, that used the Ribolla Gialla indigenous grape. A first for me. This wine has a very fruit, stone fruit nose. Off-dry with medium aggressive bubble. Stone fruit and apples on the palate that finishes with slight bitterness. An easy, tasty sipper. Rating:
Cascina Boschetti Gomba Roero Arneis DOCG Fiero, 2015 – A white wine made with the indigenous Arneis grape. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Nice ripe apples and stone fruit aromas. Medium plus body, round with ripe stone fruit flavours, in particular, pears and peaches. Some spiciness as well. A very nice wine. Rating:
Fattoria Mantellassi Lucumone, 2015 – A white wine coming from the Tuscany region, in particular the Vermentino DOC, and made from the Vermentino grape. Nice citrus, flowers and stone fruit nose. Medium body, round with a light acidic prickle, and waxy mouth feel. Stone fruit flavours. Tasty. Rating:
Cascina Boschetti Gomba Barolo DOCG Boschetti, 2012 – 100% Nebbiolo grapes make the well-regarded Barolo wine from Piedmonte. This wine has a light orange brick colour in the glass. Light raspberry and toasted nose. Light body, tea leaves, red cherries and light oak touch on the palate. Very good quality. Rating:
Cascina Boschetti Gomba Barolo DOCG Del Commune di Barolo, 2012 – Medium brick-red colour. Light roses, red cherries and oak on the nose. Medium body, round, with flavours of cherries, sweet spice, tart red fruit and oak, leading to a peppery finish. Rating:
Corte Moschina Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG, 2013 – Amarone is the biggest of the Valpolicella wines from the Veneto region. This wine is made from 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (the Cab Sauv addition is new to me). This wine has ripe, sweet black fruit, cassis and vanilla on the nose. It’s full-bodied, with a heavy mouth feel. Ripe cherries, black fruit, vanilla and some dark chocolate. Rating: [4.5]
Bruni Laire Reserva, 2012 – A red wine from the Tuscany region, made with 85% Sangiovese and 15% Syrah. Aged 12 months in barriques. It has prominent smoke, coffee, and cherry aromas. Medium body, but a light mouth feel. Tasty red cherries, red plums, and light coffee. Fine tannins. An elegant wine. Rating:
Bruni Marteto, 2015 – A red made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Syrah, and 5% Alicante. Aged 6-8 months in stainless steel. No oak. Medium intensity, sour cherry nose. Light body, dry with firmer tannins. It has light cherry flavour and a streak of minerality. Puckering finish. I was told by the winery owner that this wine goes very well with porchetta, which is a wonderful spiced pork dish. I would like to try this pairing. Rating:
Fattoria Mantellassi Sentinelle Riserva, 2011 – A red blend made from 80% Sangiovese and 15% Alicante. Aged 20 months in barrique. Nice ripe medium intensity cherry nose. Fuller bodied, round mouthfeel, with flavours of ripe cherries and raspberries. Light nutmeg on the finish, along with firmer tannins. Rating:
Poggio Trevvalle Morellino di Scansano Passera, 2015 – Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, although this wine comes from Tuscany, it comes from near the coast, rather than the interior, and the winemaker shows that the wines from this region, Morellino di Scansano DOCG, is unique. The wine has medium intensity sour cherry and vanilla aromas. It is lighter bodied, with ripe cherries, and other dark fruit flavours, firmer tannins and a streak of minerality. This wine can age 4-5 years accord to winery owner Umberto Valle. Rating:
Poggio Trevvalle Montecucco Rosse Poggio Trevvalle, 2015 – This wine is from the Montecucco Rosso DOC subregion in southwestern Tuscany. This wine is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged for 10 months in barrique. Medium intensity sour cherry nose. Ripe, round and fuller bodied. Raspberry and tasty cherry flavours. Firmer tannins and good acidity. The oak starts light but becomes very grippy at the finish. Rating:
I hope some of these wines peaked your interest and you will give them a try once they are available in our market. Let the wines from small producers with limited production areas tell you their story in your glass. Ciao.