The Best of VinItaly 2006
It seems only fitting that the country producing both the greatest quantity and the greatest variety of wine in the world should also host the globe’s largest wine show. Over 4,000 wineries and 100,000 wine lovers gathered in the literary home of Romeo and Juliet for an event that is frequently billed as “another love story in Verona.”
Primarily a showcase for Italian producers, the five-day April extravaganza could be expanded to last a whole month and it still would not be enough time for the avid wine geek to experience the multiplicity of varietals and wine styles this regionally diverse country has to offer.
What follows are my picks from the show. There were so many good wines to devour that I’ve decided to split them into two columns. Most of the wines in this issue are available in Canada (the vintage indicated may not have arrived just yet) while others, to be published in the September issue, are not currently available (although the producer may have other wines available). They are so darn good we have to tell you about them. In either case, any wine lover’s palate would be rewarded by making the effort to seek out these extraordinary offerings.
Wines You’d Be Crazy Not To Try (already available in Canada):
Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2001, Tuscany ($62)
Great nose! This is the total package … massive and intense with rich dark berries, spice and vanilla. Firmly tannic with tremendous depth. Just a baby, but has the potential to develop into something even more amazing than it is now. Perhaps her finest Brunello ever.
Azienda Agricola Montevetrano Montevetrano Colli di Salerno IGT 2004, Campania ($110)
Clearly deserving of its status as one of the finest wine estates in the world, Silvia Imparato is passionate not only about producing a stellar wine but sharing it with wine lovers around the world. A rich, vigorous and complex blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Aglianico. Decant for twenty-four hours before indulging.
Ceuso Custera IGT 2003, Sicily ($48)
Simply a pleasure. A 50/30/20 blend of Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvigno and Merlot from one of Sicily’s first garagiste wineries. Aromatically perfumy with lush dark fruit caressing the palate with layers of penetrating flavours. A complete, complex and intriguing wine.
Capezzana Ghiaie della Furba IGT 2001, Tuscany ($68)
Rich and thick, with wonderfully complex aromas of dark berry, vanilla and flowers, and full, harmonious flavours of plums, dark berries and cassis, with a complement of finely polished yet velvety tannins. The long, concentrated, fruity finish has currant and toasted oak. A classic that will continue to develop over the next ten years.
Fabiano Vajo IGT 2003, Veneto ($50)
Smooth and ripe blend of dried Corvina, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with an elegant range of plum, prune, spice and vanilla aromas and flavours. The finish is soft and delicate, but has enough intensity of flavour, length and velvety tannins to suggest stashing some in your cellar and following its continued improvement through 2012. Great elegance and balance.
Coffele Recioto di Soave ‘Le Sponde’ DOCG 2003, Veneto ($55/500 ml)
A stunning wine packed with honey, dried apricots and nectarines. It’s smooth, layered and has so much complexity. Great balance between sweetness and acidity. Length, length and length … your lips will be smacking long after you’ve polished off the last drop. Try it with some Toma cheese drizzled with honey and finely ground espresso.
Nada Seifile Langhe Rosso DOC 2003, Piedmont ($105)
Incredibly yummy! Full-bodied, hedonistically rich and so ripe. Bursts with clean, pure and vibrant plum, raspberry, cherry and spice accented by deftly dosed toasted oak and attractive earthy notes. Very youthful on the superharmonious, smooth and fruity finish. The quality matches the reputation of this tiny producer. Bravo!
Tenuta Bonzara Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Bonzarone’ DOC 2001, Emilia-Romagna ($62)
Very aromatic and pretty on the nose … more like an Amarone than a Cabernet, but in the mouth, this is all Cab. Dark blackberries, cassis, coffee and chocolate combine seamlessly with firm and luscious tannins in this multi-layered, elegant and amazing wine.
La Tribuleira Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2005, Piedmont ($20)
I’m not sure who the current king of Moscato is (Ceretto?), but young Mauro Gallo is certainly the prince and heir apparent. An absolutely beautiful wine. Soft, intense and fragrant exuding peaches, apples and pear aromas and flavours. Fills the mouth with clean, fine bubbles and loads of penetrating fruit. It’s nearly impossible to stop drinking, as every Moscato d’Asti should be. Pair with dark chocolate and you have a classic match made in heaven.