The theme country for the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2024 is Italy. If you have not yet checked out the website to see the participating wineries, I can tell you that Monte del Frá will be pouring their wines for you from the area bordering the south and east of Lake Garda and west of Verona. The red grapes from the Veneto region are also used in this area (think Valpolicella). I have two wines to tell you about that you can taste at VanWineFest’s International Festival Tasting room. They will be bringing in other wines as well, I think. The two wines I have to review are Monte del Frá Ca del Magro Custoza DOC Superiore 2020 and Bardolino DOC 2021.
Have you noticed the drawings of monks on the labels of these two wines? There is a relationship. According to the winery, “The estate was founded as a monastery by friars from Santa Maria Della Scala, who grew their own food to live off-the land in perpetuity. But they also made wine, which is how their legacy keeps living on today. Almost two centuries later, in 1958, Massimo Bonomo rented two rooms and the adjacent fields. His family opened a Frasca, a typical Venetian bulk wine shop. They made wine and grew peaches, strawberries, and wheat…Then, on August 8, 1988, the big turnaround: Massimo Bonomo’s sons, Eligio and Claudio, decided to turn their father’s business around. They converted all family lands into vineyards and established the Monte del Frá wine estate as their only financial foothold.”
My Wine Tasting Notes
Monte del Frá Ca del Magro Custoza DOC Superiore 2020 (BC $25.99)
A blend of 40% Garganega, 20% Trebbiano Toscano, 5% Tocai Friuliano, 10% Cortese, 15% Incrocio Manzoni, and 10% Chardonnay + Riesling Italico + Malvasia. Winery notes, ” The grapes go through the soft pressing process with a previous period of cold soaking to allow maximum aromatic extraction. Fermentation goes in cement vats, on the lees at controlled temperature with frequent and soft pumping overs. The maturation process takes place in the bottle for at least 6 months before being released to the market.”
Appearance: Bright, clear, medium-minus intensity lemon colour.
Nose: Medium intensity aromas, quite a mix, of sweet stone fruits, pears, pineapple, and touches of honey, citrus, floral, and coconut. No change to aromas after decanting.
Palate: Off-dry, medium-plus body and flavour intensity. Smooth and round, with a thick mouthfeel. Medium-plus acidity but does not leave any prickle on your tongue. Citrus and stone fruit flavours, plus a touch of white flowers and then pineapple with air. The fruit flavours seem a bit tarter after decanting.
Finish: Medium-plus length finishing dry and lighter on the palate. Stone fruits, pineapple and a hint of pepperiness at the very end. A softer, off-dry finish with decanting. Same flavours.
To decant or not is OK. An easy-to-sip wine, that would be an entry point to new wine drinkers.
Rating: – A lightly off-dry white wine, with a variety of fruit aromas and flavours; stone fruits, pineapple, citrus, plus a touch of floral. Medium-plus acidity. Medium-plus length.
Monte del Frá Ca del Magro Bardolino DOC 2021 (BC $18.99)
A blend of 65% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, and 5% Molinara. Winery notes, “Soft crushing and destemming, followed by short pre-fermentative cold maceration of the grapes. Slow fermentation in steel vats, with skins included, and at constantly controlled temperature.”
Appearance: A crystal clear, medium-minus intensity garnet colour. About 40% opaque.
Nose: Lighter aromas of raspberries, plums, black cherry and a touch of toastiness. No change to aromas after decanting.
Palate: Dryish, lighter body with a lightly round, smooth, light mouthfeel. Fine-grained light tannins and medium acidity. Floral, red fruit, candied red fruit, red cherries, plums and a touch of vanilla on the palate. The wine bumps up to medium body, is rounder and has a thicker mouthfeel after decanting.
Finish: Medium length finishing with medium intensity drying tannins and flavours of red fruits, red cherries and a touch of floral. Maybe a slightly longer length after decanting.
I think the decanted version of this wine is a little nicer as it is fuller-bodied and rounder on the palate.
Rating: A light-bodied wine with red fruit, plum, and floral aromas and flavours. Light, fine-grained tannins and a smooth, round mouthfeel. Medium length.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
Both wines are available at BC Liquor stores:
These wines are also available at Everything Wine stores.