|The view out my window: I woke up and took a look outside ... |
yup I'm in Italy (just wanted to make sure)
|After a quick continental-style breakfast |
it was off to the original double arches to meet the bus.
|Where we waited a few minutes while the driver negotiated Italian traffic|
(can't beat Toronto at rush hour though - morning or afternoon)
|Arrival at Castrum Relais - with some spectacular views of the region|
|A 4-hour seminar session in a restaurant ... |
seemed confusing to many of us; but it soon became apparent.
|Words of welcome from Olga Bussinello|
|Whose big announcement was the "Valpolicella Wines" app|
(for both Google and Android - Windows coming soon)
|Available in both English and Italian (more languages to come)|
I downloaded it and it looks quite useful and not just for Valpolicella wines
|Next up Fabrizio Battista, also from the CRA-VIT,|
with a look at the grapes of Valpolicella.
|... but first a look at grape varieties by country|
|... then by country: Italy has 201 registered (472 cataloged),|
while France has 87 (319 cataloged) - the surprise here is that
Australia has 85, and Fabrizio surmised it was because of all the
immigration from winemaking countries that Oz has seen.
|As for the Valpolicella region: these are the officially recognized varieties|
with Spigamonti (bottom of list) being the most recent addition (August 2013).
|Seminars end with another reminder of all those grapes|
(thankfully there was no test at the end).
|Hosted by Alberto Franchi, a tasting of the regional wines |
paired with traditional region fare.
|Paired with Monte Veronese Fresco (cheese), Polenta with Mushroom,|
Crostini with olive oil and Soppressa veneta.
|Round 2 ... Two more wine, this time a Valpolicella Superiore and a Ripasso|
"not for comparative tasting, for pleasure with the food"
|Paired with Lasagnette con ragu di coniglio (rabbit) and Risotto con tastal (sausage) ...|
here the Italians prove my mother wrong: you don't need colour on the plate to make it right.
|Same goes for course number three; I'll spare you the long names (and me from typing them)|
and tell you that the smaller of the two is pork and the larger beef.
|We end with cheese ... as seems to be an Italian custom.|
|Our first winery visit of the next 3 days|
|view from Le Marognole - over the vineyard|
|owned by this serious looking man: Fabio Corsi |
- who is also the winemaker (he worked 7 years at Masi)
|and he takes his winemaking very seriously|
|a look at, and through, his natural wood drying racks|
|outside (and in)|
|Fabio takes great pride in his natural air drying room|
|Old press being re-purposed|
|A look into the fully restored 400 year old wine cellar|
|And another - it is pretty impressive.|
|Time to taste some of the wines by the fire.|
|2009 Amarone Classico "Campo Rocco"|
nose is raisiny with cherry, kirsch and balsamic
palate has cherry and plum, with hints of balsamic,
it's rich and chewy, elegant with ageability to spare
Silky tannin structure. (****+)
|The Big Three|
about 50 years old - started with 3 hectares in 1974
now 14 hectares with plans to top our at 20 hectares
130,000 bottles produced - these wines also (occasionally) see Canadian shores.
|Arrival at winery #2: Stefano Accordini|
|The fog rolling in to engulf the hillside (x4)|
|Today the face of the winery is Tiziano Accordini|
|The new tasting room, part of the new building, which was started in 2000 ...|
and finally finished in 2010.
|Our first barrel room visit of the trip - there will be more, guaranteed.|
|We were pressed for time due to a longer than expected lunch,|
so we went right into the tasting.
|2010 Amarone Classico "Acinatico"|
this is the first vintage to get the DOCG
aromas of black cherry, plum, cherry and black raspberry
dark fruit driven palate, rich plum, with cocoa and vanilla (*** 1/2+)
|Wine Bar ... with people enjoying wine on the cobblestone street out front.|
|A new sculpture in the plaza|
|Eying the tables full of wine at the Gala|
|Tables are set for dinner|
|Winemakers, Dignataries and Journalists milling about waiting for dinner to being.|