Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Report from ... Tre Amici Portfolio Tasting – April 28, 2009

Now this was quite the tasting, held in the Pantages Hotel on Victoria Street, just around the corner from Massey Hall (I added that to give those who know where Massey Hall is a little perspective). Along one wall were food tables serving desserts, beef, bread, cheese, fish, you name it the food was most likely there. Down the middle aisle you could find an array of spirits like Tequila and Grappa and there was also Italian beer and ice cream made with wine. The best part about the tasting, besides the vast amount of belly-filling goodness spread throughout the room, was the great display of wines at prices that were friendly to both consumer and licensee alike. Put simply, there was quite a bit of wine that you and I could afford quite easily – and an even better bargain if you could split the case with a friend or two.

Take for example the Crea Vini Primitivo Del Salento (red), a plumy, vanilla-cherries and chocolate number for a mere $12.95. Those wishing for a little more complexity in their wine could spend three-dollars more a bottle on the Villa Pillo Cigalino (red) with cherry, cranberry, spices, pepper and herbal notes – this one is just a youngster so when you pull it out of your cellar, 5 years hence, you’ll crow at how little you paid for such a wonderful wine ($15.95). Bubbly lovers were also bound to find a bargain. The fresh and lively Tenuta Santome Prosecco Brut was only $18.95, while the same winery’s Santhomas Spumante Brut Rosé, a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, had a sweet fruity freshness with lots of strawberry and raspberry notes – a playful summer patio bubbly for only $21.95.

Those wishing to drink something other than Italian wine found themselves in luck when the swung by the Carlos Basso booth. This Argentinean estate (aka Vina Amalia) had both a delicious white (Sauvignon Blanc - $14.75) and red (Malbec - $17.95) at very affordable, reasonable and, in some cases, a steal of a price. The Basso Signature Blend (50% Malbec, 25 Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot and 10% Syrah) was an incredible bargain, even at $39 a bottle, it was big and spicy with vanilla cream, cinnamon, chocolate and gobs of black fruit. Their Cabernet Sauvignon Reservada ($25) was another big black-fruited wine that was under-priced or is it that it over-delivered – let’s say it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.

Not everyone offered up outstanding value … there were some wines that offered outstanding taste, but you had to pay for it. Barolo fans would have found their way over to Cascina Adelaide, where a series of single vineyard and blended vineyard Nebbiolos awaited them. The four-village 2004 Barolo ($64.95) offered spices, herbs and dried fruit; the 2004 'Cannubi' ($83.05) raised the bar to include lovely red fruit, cedar and big tannins; while the top of the line 2000 Barolo Riserva ‘Per Elan’, from the Cannubi vineyard ($122.75) was killer, with all its smells and flavours: dried fruit, cinnamon, leather, anise, with mouth-filling, drying tannins. Lovely food wine … Italian anyone? For an accompaniment just look around the room.

Unique wines were also available. Tenuta Santome had a 2004 Rabaso – a grape that only grows in their village. Wild cherries, vanilla, leather, tobacco, spicy and full bodied … this very regional wine was intriguing; of course, you pay for its rarity - $38.95 – but then you have something that not many people possess to drink … so maybe it is worth it? You decide.

Finally, I stopped at a winery located in one of my favourite regions, Vineto, where I sampled Valpolicella in all its forms. The Grotta Del Ninfeo’s 2004 Amarone ($65.85) was heavenly and the star of the table: big cherry, wood and spice on the nose and a chocolaty-plumy smoothness on the palate. Interesting fact: during this process (drying of the grapes for Amarone) the grapes lose 60% of their weight over the four-month drying period.


1 comment:

William said...

Interesting post!! I love red wine.