Sunday, July 25, 2010

Report from ... The 3rd Annual Pine Island Tasting - July 24, 2010

The annual Pine Island tasting centered around Italian wine this year.  I have cousins that own an island on Lake Nippissing and every year I come up to host a tasting.  Our first, held three years ago, was Ontario, followed by California last year and now it was time to go a little old world with Italian wines.  A record number of attendees (18) showed up for this years food and wine extravaganza, to taste 9 wines and my cousin Rhonda’s fabulous cooking (which includes Jim’s BBQing) and a host of desserts brought by those in attendance.  The two wines most enjoyed by those assembled were the Farnese 2008 Negroamaro and the Zonin 2007 Valpolicella Ripasso.  The Negroamaro is suppose to be “black and bitter” according to its name, but this one has all kinds of ripe and luscious fruit, a big hit for this crowd.  I also poured two Ripassos, the original Masi 2007 Campofiorin and the Zonin 2007 Ripasso – the Masi shows it rustic, yet elegant, side that will see it age for a decade or more; the Zonin is more new world in style with its delicious chocolate, blackberry, plum and vanilla, the acidity is toned down so that its drink-now factor is double that of the Masi, but with toned down age-ability, this one should drink comfortably over the next 5 years.

With the tasting over antipasto and dinner was then served.  I found a couple of Aussie wine fans in the crowd and opened for them a bottle of Mitolo 2008 Jester Cabernet Sauvignon, a jammy, black fruit number with lots of alcohol (14.5%) – a quintessential Aussie Cab.  I also crack the cap on a Nepenthe 2004 Tryst, a blend of “Cabernet / Tempranillo / Zinfandel”, this wine was still nicely fruited and smooth, especially taking into account that it was 6 years old; the last bottle of this I had was tired, but this was robust and vibrant, lively even.

An annual attendee, Roger, who last year brought a vintage port, decided to raid his cellar for a 1971 Langenbach & Co. Wormser Liefrauenshift Kirchenstuck Riesling Auslese Eiswein (I took this right from the bottle).  Imagine if you will honeyed-rotten-fruit, you could see where this wine once was but it wasn’t there anymore.  Interesting to experience, not very pleasurable to drink – past its prime, so to speak.  Roger redeemed himself by also bringing a bottle of Messias 10 Year Old Tawny and some Stilton Cheese - that went over well with both Port and cheese lovers.

Next year the vote is for New Zealand and Australia … lamb and shrimp will be schedule to hit the hot side of the bar-be and who knows who’s wine will make an appearance; but you’d better believe that someone will bring something of interest, a wine will win the hearts of the crowd and the food will be excellent.

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