As some of you may know, I had the pleasure to attend VinItaly 2013 in Verona. Today I want to share with you my thoughts about the world’s largest wine fair with over 4000 exhibitors. The fair was held from April 7th to April 10th. It was the 47th edition of VinItaly. And if you are a wine-lover then mark these dates down in your calendar because VinItaly will return with their 48th edition on April 6th 2014.
VinItaly is a crazy wine show. Crazy, not because of its disorganization but because of it’s crazy, large size. For a visitor it is simply impossible to visit more than a fraction of the fair.
Knowing from past experiences that VinItaly was going to be overcrowded, I decided to enter the fair at one of the smaller entrances. The masses usually gather at Cangrande, the main entrance of VinItaly, where they often wait hours in line before their tickets get checked. Fortunately, I knew about this and successfully avoided it.
Prior to arriving at the fair, I took notes of the locations of certain wineries that I wanted to visit. Since the Sardinia pavilion was nearest my VinItaly experience started there. Right after entering the pavilion I stumbled over the Santadi stand. Like most other wineries, Santadi brought to VinItaly their complete line. But because time was running, I decided to only try Santandi’s 2010 Sardos Mezzosecolo and 2007 Terre Brune.
Sardos Mezzosecolo is a special wine that was produced for the winery’s 50th anniversary (1960-2010). I never ran across the Sardos Mezzosecolo before so I was really curious about this wine. It is made with the best Carignano grapes of different vintages, which are blended with Merlot and Cabernet. Only 13.500 magnum bottles (1.5 liters) were manufactured. The wine had an intense ruby red color. The bouquet consists of earth, red berries and a few spices. On the palate, the wine was dry and warm with a strong acidity and silky tannins. Sardos Mezzosecolo had a big body but was not that impressive really. The finish was of medium length. My rating: 3/5 stars.
The other wine from Santadi that I tasted was the Terre Brune. Terre Brune is classified as Carignano del Sulcis DOC Superiore and is Santadi’s front-line wine. A blend of 95% Carignano and 5% Bovaleddu grapes. Terre Brune aged 18 months in oak. In the glass, Terre Brune had a garnet red color with ruby red tingles. The wine had a complex nose. Aromas of bilberries, blueberries, cinnamon, tobacco and cocoa. In the mouth, the wine was warm, rich and extremely dry. Terre Brune had rather strong and aggressive tannins and a lingering finish. My rating: 4/5 stars.
Only recently I tried Santadi’s 2009 Rocca Rubbia. You can find my tasting notes for it here.
Next on my list were Cantina Mesa, Argiolas and Capichera. Besides too many people at their corresponding stands, there is nothing worth mentioning besides that the wines were all average or below average. I was especially disappointed by the Vermentino wines from Capichera.
Before leaving the Sardinia pavilion I stopped by the Meloni Vini stand. Meloni Vini is among my favorite wineries from Sardinia and I was excited to try their new vintages. However, one of VinItaly’s highlights was Meloni’s 2005 Vasca 50. Since I met the people behind Meloni Vini already a few times on different occasions, they offered me to try their Vasca 50 – a rare and prestigious wine. The wine consists of a variety of Sardinian, autochthonous grapes like Cannonau, Carignano and Bovale Sardo. Vasca 50 is classified as Isola dei Nuraghi IGT and aged in oak for 12 months. The wine had a bright ruby red color with purple and garnet red hints. On the nose, Vasca 50 had an incredible variety of aromas, including ripe black cherries, blackberries, tobacco, yeast and spices. The label listed ABV was 14.5%. After taking a sip, I tasted lots of minerals and red berries. Vasca 50 was dry, warm and acid. Full-bodied, mellow, pleasing tannins and a persistently long finish. A real world-changer! Unfortunately the wine is only available in very limited quantity but I was told that Meloni will release the new vintage of Vasca 50 at the end of the year. Vasca 50 even has its own website! My rating: 5/5 stars.
Other recommend wines from Meloni Vini include Kre’u, Le Ghiaie, and Le Sabbie Rosso.
Time for sparkling wine! I decided to leave the Sardinia pavilion and headed to the one dedicated to Trentino, which seemed to be even bigger than the one for Sardinia. Ferrari is an outstanding producer for sparkling wine and so it was a no-brainer that I visited their stand. Ferrari offered to the “common” people only a very limited selection of wine, which was really unfortunate. I do not get why wineries come to VinItaly if they do not want to offer people their best wines. Anyways, Ferrari offered only their basic line, which consists of a Brut and a Demi-Sec (they did not even serve the basic-line Rosé). The wines were alright but if I was going to buy a Ferrari sparkler then I would definitely pick one from their Maximum line or from their Perle line.
The next pavilion was dedicated to Apulia. After trying the wines from the likes of Leone de Castris which did not impress me that much I found another highlight at the stand of Cantina Due Palme. The winery had a stand probably 3 times the size of the one of most other wineries. Cantina Due Palme produces one of my favorite wines called Selvarossa Riserva. I previously reviewed the 2008 vintage of the Selvarossa Riserva. You can find my tasting notes for it here. One of the things I like about the Selvarossa is its excellent quality-price ratio. Anyways, Cantina Due Palme released the 2009 vintage of the Selvarossa Riserva in January and I was excited to give it a try. The wine convinced me as much as the 2008 vintage did. My rating 4/5 stars.
Next on my list was Franco di Filippo. Franco di Filippo is one of only a handful of wineries that produces Moscato di Trani but unfortunately the guy operating their stand was very unfriendly and he decided not to offer us any wine. Yes it was already late (around 5:00 pm and the fair closes at 6:30 pm) but that does not justify such a behavior in my opinion. I will certainly avoid their wines in the future.
The last pavilion I visited during day one was the Lazio pavilion. Some of you may wonder why I chose Lazio out of all the possible regions but the answer is quite simple: Casale del Giglio. Ever since I first tried a wine from Casale del Giglio I fell in love with them. The winery successfully experiments with grape varietals that are rather uncommon in Italy including Tempranillo. We were treated very well at their stand and were offered to try all of their wines. My friends and I all agreed that Mater Matuta and Tempranillo were their two best wines but we enjoyed all of the others, too.
Mater Matuta is a blend of 85% Syrah and 15% Petit Verdot. Some of the grapes follow a short appassimento (sun-drying on straw mats). The two grapes the fermented separately and both age for around 24 months in oak barrels. Afterwards the two “wines” get blended together. In the glass, Mater Matuta had a deep ruby red color. On the nose, flowers, red and black fruits, lots of coffee, coriander, cinnamon and other spices. An excellent and harmonious bouquet! On the palate, Mater Matuta, was dry, fresh and full-bodied. Furthermore there were silky tannins and a great structure. The finale was fantastic and very long. My rating 4.5/5 stars.
The other wine from Casale del Giglio that I want to talk about is their ‘Tempranillo’. I was very excited to try this wine because I only knew Tempranillo from Spanish wines. The people operating their stand admitted that they took a risk bringing Tempranillo to Lazio but it worked out perfectly. The wine is produced with 100% Tempranillo grapes and aged in barrique barrels. Casale del Giglio’s ‘Tempranillo’ had a ruby red color. The bouquet included aromas of dark ripe fruits, cocoa and vanilla. After taking a sip, I noticed a good balance between fruit and oak notes. The wine was of medium body, dry and mineralic. ‘Tempranillo’ had a lingering finish. My rating: 3.5/5 stars.
Casale del Giglio was the last winery that I visited at day one. The evening ended with a fantastic four-course menu at a restaurant in Lazise with a view over Lake Garda.
It is simply impossible to put all highlights into one post, therefore I decided to break my VinItaly 2013 report up into multiple posts. In the next part I will talk about the wines from Abruzzo, Tuscany and Sicily with one particular highlight being the 2004 Amarone Cen’t Anni Riserva from Trabucchi d’Illasi. So stay tuned for the next installment.
In case you missed the post about wine Maremma Nature Park then follow this link.