Presented by The Italian Trade Commission (ITA) and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West in collaboration with BCLS

On Tuesday, October 22 I was privileged to join a select number of media representatives attending the Flavours of Italy Discover Unexpected Regions and Varietals Masterclass. The wine masterclass was conducted by Iain Philip, DipWSET, Wine Educator and WSET Instructor at Barbariain Wine Vancouver.

The topic was very interesting and Philip introduced us to regions that are a bit lesser known to many and, as described, the varietals that are being produced in these areas. The regions included Trentino Alto Adige a mountainous region of the North West where sparkling wines are made using only a traditional method, the varietal was Chardonnay; Emilia-Romagna, the varietal was Lambrusco di Sorbara; Marche, with the top white grape varietal in Italy, the Verdicchio; the red wine region of Umbria where Sangiovese is the most widely planted and Colorino often added for its properties of adding colour to the wine; Abruzzo where the varietal Pecorino came close to extinction and has been replanted and first used again in 1990, also known for the varietal of Montepulciano; the region of Campania where there are two types of Falanghina grapes; Basilicata with the varietal of Aglianico; the region of Puglia where the Aglianico grape is new to the region; also from Puglia the varietal of Negroamaro, Primitivo (genetically the same as Zinfandel) and Malvasia Nera; from the region of Sicily the varietals of Grillo and Nero d’Avola.

The best part of course was the opportunity to taste all twelve wines from these regions. I have included here what we tasted, in order, with my own tasting notes, and the tasting notes provided by the BCLS.
Ferrari – Trento Brut Hetodo Classico

At first ever so slight yeast scents, burnt matchstick, mushrooms, smoky, stone, chalk. Acidic with good minerality, almost tart, dry. After time the taste softens. It was fresh, very bubbly. Complex.
750 ml | SKU: 366427 Italy $28.99 $31.99 On Sale (until Oct 26) 90 Points, Wine Advocate – “Here is a classic Italian metodo classico sparkling wine that you can count on for a long list of drinking occasions. The non-vintage Trento Brut is luminous and bright with measured intensity that hits all the right buttons. Drink: 2016 – 2022.” (May 2016) Sparkling Wine  Alcohol: 12.5% Sweetness: Off Dry Soliera Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC

Aromas of port, rhubarb, apples and apricot. Pale in colour but not a rosé, it is a red. Savoury scents, sweetish flavour but dry, fruity, bubbly, cherries and candy. Excellent flavour. I liked this wine and the price point is very good.
750 ml | SKU: 153177 Italy $18.99
Sparkling Wine is Aromatic & Off-Dry
Examples of great pairings: Fruit Salad, Ceviche, Gravalax, Pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Sushi, Raw Fish, Spicy Chicken Stir-fry, Fresh Cheese, Cream Cheese, Chocoloate-dipped Strawberries, Crepes Suzette, Spicy Seafood hotpot and pho. Sparkling Wine Alcohol: 11% Sweetness: Off Dry Verdicchio Classico Superiore – Musone via Condotto

Scents of cheese, stone, more complex, good quality, fresh, citrus, nutty and herbal. Approachable with no oak used. Light, refreshing with minerality, easy drinking, crisp. When you want something that isn’t Chardonnay.
750 ml | SKU: 169990 Italy $19.99 Straw yellow in colour, with green highlights, obtained from the fermentation of Verdicchio grapes. The aroma is reminiscent of fresh flowers and white fleshy fruit. The flavour is subtle and lingering with a typical slightly sharp finish. White Wine – Verdicchio Alcohol: 12.5% Sweetness: Very Dry Rosso di Torgiano Rubesco DOC

Sharp, dense, fruity aromas, dusty, chalk, strawberries. Medium to heavy tannins. Lean with taste of cheries, juicy but light, acidic.
750 ml | SKU: 41947 Italy $25.99 91 Points Wine Enthusiast “A blend of 90% Sangiovese/10% Colorino …aromas of black cherry and … a whiff of exotic spice. Savory and medium bodied … palate delivers cassis, white pepper and star anise set against polished tannins. Bright acidity…fresh and focused. Drink now – 2023.” Nov 1 2019 ALCOHOL: 14% SWEETNESS: very dry Blend is Full-Bodied & Robust Examples of great pairings: Grilled Steak, Roast Beef, Rack of Lamb, Lamb Shank, Osso Bucco, Sharp Cheddar
Colli Aprutini Pecorino

This grape varietal is becoming trendy with fabulous aromas, slight oak, darker colour. Delicious, lighter than the colour suggests. Smooth, raisin scents, nutty, caramel, very fruity, expressive. #2 of the whites
750 ml | SKU: 122867 Italy $17.99 $19.99 On Sale (until Oct 26) White Wine – Blend Alcohol: 13% Sweetness: Very Dry  Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Oddly a dishwater scent at first. Brownish red in colour. Licorice, plums, cherries, dark fruit, ever so slightly earthy. Medium to strong tannins. Drink now or this one could be cellared.
750 ml | SKU: 136628 Italy $25.99 92 Points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous: “Good bright red. Vibrant aromas of red cherry, raspberry, licorice and minerals, complicated by delicate hints of spices (coriander, cumin, tarragon). Then very silky on the palate, but displaying outstanding lift and intensity to the flavours of red cherry, pomegranate, flowers and tar. Very suave but juicy and fresh Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine with none of the heaviness that often drags down wines of this variety. The finish is suave and bracing and shows a delightful light touch.” (September 2018) Red Wine – Montepulciano Alcohol: 14% Sweetness: Very Dry Falanghina del Sannio DOP

I could have continued to sniff this wine as it had wonderful scents. Darker in colour than Verdicchio, lighter than the Pecorino. Light citrus, almost tropical with hints of pineapple, peach, a lemon scent. Smells sweet and has a sweet flavour, medium body, acidic. Later more stone fruit scents, meringue aroma. Sweeter than the code but considered dry. #1 of the whites
750 ml | SKU: 863613 Italy $19.99 The wine has a straw-yellow colour and a strong fruity bouquet. The fruity nuances increase progressively leaving a well-balanced, pleasant and refreshing finish. White Wine Region: Campania Alcohol: 13.5% Sweetness: Off Dry Basilisco Teodosio Aglianico

Rich dark cherry aromas, sweet scents, rose, dusting powder, laundry fresh off the line. Dark fruit flavour, a bit acidic or maybe just tannins. Fire pit aromas. A great food wine. Aging potential. #4 of the reds.
750 ml | SKU: 783498 Italy $21.99 90 Points, Wine Advocate: “This is a near-term Aglianico offered at a terrific value price. …an ample and broad bouquet that is infused with dark spice, dried blackberry and a slightly malolactic hint of milk chocolate… The finish is long and dusty, but there there is enough primary fruit to make this a very presentable red to drink… Drink: 2018 – 2024.” (August 2018) Red Wine – Aglianico Alcohol: 13.5% Sweetness: Very Dry Tormaresca Trentangeli

Sharp, forward scents, oka, dark fruit, plums, sawdust. Fruity with dark fruit taste, juicy, delicious. Medium tannins, rich, sweetish, scents of armoire, very nice blend. #3 of the reds
750 ml | SKU: 675843 Italy $20.99 Intense and fruity aromas with notes of cherries, berry fruit (blackberries and mulberries) and spices (pepper and liquorice). On the palate, it is warm and rich with great structure and persistence. Ageing in barrique endows the wine with length and elegance. The blend is 70% Aglianico, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. RED WINE  REGION: PUGLIA ALCOHOL: 14% SWEETNESS: Very Dry
Full-Bodied & Robust
Examples of great pairings: Grilled Steak, Roast Beef, Rack of Lamb, Lamb Shank, Osso Bucco, Sharp Cheddar.
Verso Rosso Salento IGT

Raisins, cherres, fruit scents. Delicious, sweeter, medium tannins. Tobacco, smooth, great pairing wine. Great wine for the money. #1 of the reds
750 ml | SKU: 65565 Italy $16.99 $18.99 On Sale (until Oct 26) Verso is a full-bodied wine made with a small percent of appassimento (air-dried) grapes. Rich and dark in colour, with vibrant spice flavours, it is a hedonistic experience that captures the polished side of Negroamaro and Primitivo. RED WINE  REGION: PUGLIA ALCOHOL: 14% SWEETNESS: Very Dry
Blend is Full-Bodied & Robust
Examples of great pairings: Grilled Steak, Roast Beef, Rack of Lamb, Lamb Shank, Osso Bucco, Sharp Cheddar.
Sicilia Grillo Nicosia

Citrus scents, leafy aromas, almost burnt, interesting aroma. Marmalade, toasty, lemon, root vegetables, complex, elegant, fresh, delicious, medium body. Acidic, so good. Minerality. Pair with seafood. Tied for #1, or slightly ahead, of the whites.
750 ml | SKU: 958900 Italy $18.99 $19.99 On Sale (until Oct 26) Fragrant bouquet of floral and citrusy notes, featuring hints of aromatic herbs. Great freshness and savoriness, with a full and lingering taste. Pairs well with grilled vegetables, salads, and vegetarian dishes. WHITE WINE  REGION: SICILY ALCOHOL: 12.5% SWEETNESS:  Very Dry Noto Nero D’Avola – Feudo Maccari

Medium light in colour. Sweet dark fruit, breath mints, candy, red apple, orange, bubble gum. So interesting. Light but delicious. Light to medium tannins. Really good, to me like a pinot, very light, easy drinking. #2 of the reds
750 ml | SKU: 144923 Italy $20.99 91 Points, James Suckling: “Vivid and bright aromas of blackberries, blueberries and flowers. Medium to full body, light tannins and a tangy finish. Delicious. Drink now.” (August 2018) Red Wine – Nero D’avola Region: Sicily Alcohol: 13.5% Sweetness: Very Dry
Market share in BC liquor stores: BC wines 31%, Italy 11% and growing. Most market share by region: Veneto, Prosecco, Tuscany, Piedmont, Sicily. 45 million cases of Prosecco are produced each year. Italy is the biggest exporter of wine in the world, followed by France and then Spain.
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 – 11am Terminal City Club, 837 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1B6 ●11 am – guided wine seminar ●1:00 pm
“A Tasting of Wines from Italy” featuring visiting Italian producers – organized by Italian Trade Commission
Tasting notes and information in italics courtesy of BC Liquor Stores website. Please note that wines that are on sale only until October 26. All images MyVanCity. Poster courtesy of Italian Chamber. I received a complimentary tasting in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.
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