Monday, January 30, 2012

Report from ... Verona, Italy - Day 3: Winery Tours - Sunday January 29, 2012

Day 3.  And it's up at the crack of dawn to jump on some buses and tour the wineries of the area.  We have three days of this upcoming.  We thankfully have broken down into smaller groups of about 7 or 8 so we don't descend en-mass at a winery - many of which, we have found out, can accommodate these small numbers but not many more.  This makes it easy for us to taste wine and have more one on 8 conversations with the winery principals, than a gaggle of reporters shouting questions (yes, any more than 10 is considered a "gaggle".  The big question about today was the church visits ... on the schedule were 5 churches and only 4 wineries - made us think the trip was being partially funded by the Catholic Church, so I guess a thank you to the Pope is in order.  Interesting to note that all of the churches we visited throughout the day were closed ...a closed church?  On a Sunday?  It was hard for many of us to believe.  Below I will continue my photographic journey through Italy with comments about the pictures and in some cases, between pictures (27,000 words were saved by showing you these).

Hi Ho, Hi Ho It's off to church we go (Pieve de San Floriano) ... Sunday morning ... it was closed
First stop: Ca La Bionda ... here is his line-up of wines, we tasted them all
Alessandro Castellani (owner) addresses the group about the winery's philosophy
This was the best wine we tried: a Valpolicella Superiore aged 10 years in barrel: floral, licorice and cherry accents with great acidity ... round, pleasant - delicious. (**** 1/2)
Amazing 2005 Amarone, spent 5 years in barrel and 2 in bottle before release (****+)
Bionda's Top 3 ... The 2008 Recioto had bright, sweet cherry fruit and chocolate, delicate yet seemingly dry on the finish (****+)
Next stop: Scriani - where we saw the pergola system at work in the vineyard, grapes hang down from the overhead wires ... this is used all over the Valpolicella region
Stefano Cottini, owner Scriani - I swear he looks like a young Yul Brenner
A Brit and an Italian look into a tank ... sounds like the start of a really bad joke (on left wine writer Stuart George of the UK - "stiff upper lift old man")
Barrel room at Scriani ... we're gonna see a lot of places that look just like this
One of the many wines tried at Scriani
Speaking of things we are going to see a number of times, this was lunch:  Risotto a la Amarone - this is not the last time we see this dish
2008 Ripasso Classico Superiore: deep black cherry aromas, lovely cherry fruit with plum and cocoa notes, all brought together with delicate acidity (****)
We tasted through a vertical of Scriani Amarone: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2001 and the 2008 ... the '01 showed great finesse, elegance and delicacy
"Don't take that picture" said Marinela Ardelean, Scriani's Business Development Director - I think it completes the tough guy image ... minus the smirk of course
Church #2 ... Hey it's Sunday in Italy (I did not take pics at all churches)
Church #3 ... Pieve, Chiostro Ciborio, San Giorgio Ingenapoltron ... You actually had to pay to get the lights on in this place, and it was all automated ... 0.50 got you 1 minute
Gratuitous cute dog shot ... outside Church #3
Gratuitous cute dog shot #2 - at Accordini Igino winery, an unscheduled stop as we waited for Bolla to let us in
Bolla:  a mural downstairs to honour Amarone - they were the first to commercially market the wine in 1953
Bolla: in the "grandfather cellar", these barrels are still in use - note the date (1900)
And this one ... one of the original barrels from the winery's start up: 1883
The awe-inspiring winery of SalvaTerra, where we had dinner ...
with the family
A wonderful night that started with Prosecco - a lovely floral and citrus nose, fresh and lively on the palate with a touch of lemon-almond on the finish (*** 1/2+)
The scene stealing 2009 Ripasso Classico Superiore (**** 1/2)
and closing with the Eros Passito made from 100% Gargenga (****) - perfect end to a perfect evening ... the food, the company and the wines were awesome.  Thanks to Mirko and Eros for allowing us into their parents home.  After all "wine is all about family"

Tomorrow it's 5 wineries and a number of Villas  sponsored by the Italian Villa Board (IVB) ... okay about that I am kidding ... but the visiting of Villas I am not.  Ciao for now.

1 comment:

Dean Tudor said...

Good photos and good sharp writing.