Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Report from ... Caliber Wine Agent: Two Italian Houses Tasting – February 20, 2013

There are wineries in the world who are dying to do business here in Ontario (I think that’s so they can gripe later about how hard and unfair it is to deal with Ontario – everyone should have that honour at least once) – the large market and one buyer are all very enticing to a winery looking to do business outside their own borders.  Today’s tasting was of two Italian houses: Tenuta Santarelli (7) and Marchese de Cordano (5) … the interesting part of this tasting, besides the price points, which were radically low (again, a willingness to get into a market will make some producers drop their pants – metaphorically of course) was that one of these producers (Santarelli) is also making maple wine in Quebec.  All wines are currently private order or consignment thru the agent (Caliber).

Best Wines …
Marchese de Cordano – two wines, two different years (2004 & 2005) Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Trinita.  The 2004 was by far the best wine of the 12, it was supple, silky and sexy with great sweet cherry, plum and chocolate – at only $18.75 it’s a steal (****+).  The 2005 of the exact same wine shows the difference a vintage can make, drier and chunkier than its 2004 counterpart with more cocoa interlaced with darker fruit, but overall a very good wine indeed (****).

Tenuta Santarelli – Three really good wines here at very enticing prices, all under $15.  Starting with the 2010 Le Prataiole Bianco Puglia IGT, a 14% alcohol Pinot Grigio that’s fresh with a long vibrant finish and at $12.65 a wine that should be kicking around your fridge all summer long (****).  The 2010 Equilibrio Rosso IGT, at $14.70, is a red blend with equal parts Montepulciano, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; leathery and cherry with hints of anise (****).  The score might not reflect this next wine as my favourite, as it garnered the same score as the two above, but if I had my choice for value/quality ratio it’d be the 2010 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Il Piccolo Gatsby, lots of lovey red raspberry and strawberry fruit with elements of plum – there was a kind of elegance and drinkability to the wine, and at $12.75 it truly was another steal of a wine (****).

Santarelli, Canada – Three of the wines tasted are made of maple syrup from Quebec: a white, an “ice wine” style and a sparkling.  Of the three the Maple Sapling Sparkling Wine ($14.45) is the best value and most interesting wine.  Looks like any old sparkling you might try – clear, like one made from grapes; refreshing but with a delicate hit of maple on the finish – not sweet, very Prosecco-esque … I’m also told it’s made in the traditional method, but without the winemaker present I could not confirm that (*** ½+).

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