VinItaly 2013: Impressions & Highlights – Day Three
It is time for the final installment of my VinItaly 2013 report. In case you missed any of the previous installments then follow these links to read part 1 and part 2. Arriving early at the fair, I knew that the remaining program was quite intense and that it was going to be impossible to visit every winery that was still on my list.
Because I had lots Tuscany wineries on my list, I started my VinItaly day three experience in the Tuscany pavilion. Actually there were two pavilions dedicated to Tuscany. After entering one of the two pavilions, I was amazed by how many Tuscan wineries were present (I should have known since this was not my first time at VinItaly). In order to make room for as many wineries as possible, most of them had very small stands – at least compared to the stands that wineries had in other regions.
Usually I do not visit the big names because often I am not impressed by their overpriced wines. Furthermore, they usually do not serve their flagship wines, instead they offer basic line wines. However, some of my friends wanted to visit a few of the reputable Tuscan wineries and I gave in. We started with Tua Rita and just like I predicted, they were not serving the Redigaffi (100% Merlot, average price according to wine-searcher 191€). Redigaffi is said to be one of the world’s best Merlot. Instead we were offered a glass of 2012 Rossi dei Notri (average price 15€) which was a complete disappointment. My rating 1.5/5 stars. The guy serving us the wine noticed that we did not like the wine so he served us a bit of 2008 Giusto dei Notri. A blend of 30% Merlot and 70% Cabernet. The wine aged 18 months in French oak. Ruby red color. Intense bouquet with spices and red berries. Full-bodied, dry, medium-long finish. The wine was much better than the Rossi dei Notri but again nothing for which I would pay over 50€ per bottle. My rating: 3/5 stars.
We headed to the Brunello section where we tried some decent and some very good Brunello. I was most impressed by the Brunello di Montalcino from Tenuta Vitanza. Compared the guys at Tua Rita, Vitanza offered us to try their complete line. The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vitanza was my favorite Brunello of this year’s VinItaly. 100% Sangiovese, 36 months of oak and additional 36 months of aging in the bottle, small production of just 5000 bottles. In the glass, a garnet red color. On the nose a harmonious bouquet of tobacco, dark chocolate, plums and ripe cherry. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and well-structured. Lingering finish. My rating: 4.5/5. stars.
Before trying this Brunello Riserva, we also tasted their 2007 Brunello Tradizione. Unfortunately it was not as good as the legendary 2006 vintage but I also did not expect that. It is said that the 2006 harvest was one of the every best for Brunello. I still have one bottle of 2006 Vitanza Brunello Tradizione in my cellar. Should have bought more when they were available.
The last Tuscan winery I want to mention is Bulichella. I could write another 2000 words about Antinori, Loacker, Banfi and so on but that might get boring so I won’t. The only thing worth mentioning about Banfi was their pretty stand, which looked like a castle and was built of 2 stories. Unfortunately only VIP were allowed to enter. The “common” people had to try a very limited selection of their wines outside of it.
I first got to know the wines of Bulichella at last year’s edition of VinItaly and I have liked them ever since. In Germany it is quite hard to find a retailer for them though. Bulichella recieved an extra mention for their outstanding wines in the 2013 SlowWine guide. We tasted their whole line from white wine to red wine to passito. One of the highlights was the 2008 Coldipietrerosse Val di Cornia DOC. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot. The wine aged in oak but unfortunately I did not write down for how long (and I did not find that information on their website). The wine had an intense ruby red color with purple hints. On the nose, aromas of bilberry, blueberry, ripe black cherry, licorice, cinnamon and tobacco. In the mouth, warm and dry. Good structure, full-bodied. Notes of fruit and oak are in good balance. The finish is persistently long. Outstanding wine. My rating 4/5 stars.
I also want to mention the Sfizale. Sifzale is a sweet wine produced exclusivity from Aleatico grapes. Dark ruby red color. Aromas of roses, ripe cherries and strawberries. After taking a sip, I tasted again cherries. Sfizale was fruity, sweet and dry. Lingering aftertaste. My rating 4/5 stars.
We spent far too much time in the Tuscany-pavilions but now we quickly moved on to the Sicily pavilion. We tried the likes of Planeta, Donnafugata, Girolamo Russo and a few others. Compared to the “reputable” Tuscan wineries, Planeta and Donnafugata, which in my opinion are at least as known as Tua Rita or Antinori, served all of their wines.
My favorites from the Sicily-pavilion are: Mille e Una Notte from Donnafugata, Ben Rye from Donnafugata, a’ Rina from Girolamo Russo, which I have all previously reviewed. Furthermore I very much liked the 2008 Maroccoli from Planeta. The Maroccoli is made from 100% Syrah grapes and is considered, next to the Burdese, one of Planeta’s flagship wines. Classified as IGT Sicilia (100% Syrah is not allowed in any of Sicily’s DOCs), the Maroccoli aged 12 months in French oak. In the glass, a mix of purple and ruby red. The bouquet consists of lots of spices, plums, blackcurrant and cocoa. A rich, full-bodied wine. Excellently balanced. Pleasingly, mellow tannins. My rating 4.5/5 stars.
The next winery on my list was Calabrian winery Malaspina. We tried the Patros Pietro and a few other of their wines but nothing really impressed us. I am not sure what Malaspina did to the Patros Pietro but I never really liked it again as much as I liked it on the first occasion. The wines from iGreco were not really any better no wines are really worth mentioning (not saying they are bad but just average) so let’s quickly move on.
Piedmont, South Tyrol, Lombardia, Aosta Valley, . . .
If you are wondering why I have not written about Italy’s famous Barolo wines or about the outstanding sparklers from the Franciacorta then the answer is: I ran out of time and actually I visited the pavilions for these region last year. It is impossible to visit everything. But the good news are that VinItaly is returning from April 6th to April 9th 2014! Be sure to book your accommodation early so you will not have to pay exuberant prices.
To conclude my VinItaly 2013 report, I want to give you the names of five wines that I liked most and which I suggest that you try whenever you have the chance to do so.
- 2005 Meloni Vini – Vasca 50 – Isola dei Nuraghi IGT
- 2010 Casale del Giglio – Mater Matuta – Lazio IGT.
- 2006 Tenuta Vitanza – Brunello Vitanza Riserva – Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva
- 2004 Trabucchi d’Illasi – Cent’ Anni – Amarone della Valpolicella DOC.
- 2012 Agriverde – 830 Spumante
These five wines impressed me the most. Let me know how you like these wines if you try them
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