On Friday I attended a friends and family wine tasting at Thorman Hunt Wine Merchants where they were hosting their monthly event, with this theme being ‘Italian Wines’.
I arrived into their kitchen to this view, and I knew we were in for a good evening.
I was welcomed in with a glass of Fratelli Berlucchi Franciacorta Brut 2009. I am a real bubble fiend so this was a great start! Franciacorta is from Lombardy and the top Sparkling style in Italy. This particular wine was a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Bianco and 10% Pinot Nero. It’s appearance was straw yellow with golden hues. On the nose were citrus and toasty notes with a balanced, fruity yet brioche palate. Franciacorta is a fantastic alternative to Champagne, especially if you want something complex but less acidic than a Brut Champagne.
The first wine on our list was the San Pietro Custoza 2014. Bianco di Custoza, or sometimes simply ‘Custoza’ as in this wine, is a white DOC wine from the Veneto region of Italy. Nine grapes are sanctioned for use in a Custoza and this particular blend uses five; Garganega, Trebbianello, Trebbiano, Cortese and Manzoni Bianco.
The wine is light, mineral, slightly spicy, fruity and aromatic. It appeared to be a very versatile wine which would work well with fish and light pasta dishes. Its only downfall would be that the label lacked a little anything, without stating region or grape varieties which I imagine would make it an extremely hard sell straight off the shelf.
The Ermacora Pinot Bianco 2012 was next on our agenda. It is a Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC wine, which is located in the Italian Wine region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a zone close the the Slovenian border.
Ermacora vines are located in the Ronco of Bressana on the Eastern Hills of Friuli where they are protected from the cold winds of the North and kissed by the warm currents of the Adriatic sea.
The wine is mineral with a good acidity, fresh citrus, white peach, honey. It has a good structure which should give it good ageing potential.
It wants to be paired with Seafood or perhaps a Risotto.
The third wine was my favourite. The Adriano Langhe Freisa 2014.
The Adriano winery is family run by brothers Marco and Vittorio Adriano along with their families. The winery is environmentally friendly in that it uses a photovoltaic system to generate the necessary electricity for the company. It also has a plant-purification system which cleans the waste water produced by the cellar.
This wine is a deep ruby red and has an intense aroma of strawberries and strawberry flavoured sweets. It is fresh and fragrant with a slightly sparkling edge and great acidity making it extremely food friendly. I would love to taste it again with some Italian Charcuterie, and even grilled meats.
Going South, The Acate ‘Il Moro’ Nero D’Avola 2011 was number four. The winery is run by the Jacono and Ferreri families in Eastern Sicily in Cerasuolo country. I was pleasantly surprised by this wine as I’m not usually terribly impressed by Nero D’Avola wines. This wine is smooth, elegant and full. It has aromas of cherry, raspberry and spice with blackberries and black cherries on the palate. It is well balanced and I would like to drink it again.
We then tried two wines from two producers – two from San Vincenti in Tuscany and two from Reverdito in Piemonte.
The Reverdito wines are made by Michele Reverdito in a hill town called ‘La Morra’, Piemonte. Michele Reverdito’s father owned all the vines initially. Michele wanted to make wine using his fathers grapes. His father told him to learn to make wine and then he would sell them to him, so that is just what he did – he went off to Turin to learn how to make wine and now he’s a ‘rising star’ winemaker in Barolo.
The Reverdito Barbera D’Alba Butti 2011 is a very good wine. It has a nose of sour cherry and the palate is floral (violet) with supple tannins, black fruits and a bit of smoke.
The second wine from Reverdito was the Barolo Riva Rocca 2010. This wine had been decanted two hours prior to us tasting it. It has hints of tawny, a bit rustic like Barolo can be sometimes. Flavours of black cherry, plum, leather and oak come through. This wine was tasting well however we were all in agreement that it needed more years for its full potential, probably up to about ten years.
The San Vincenti wines rounded up our tasting. Their estate is located in the municipality of Gaiole in Chianti. The name San Vincenti comes from ‘St Vincent’ the ‘protector of fields, vineyards and winemakers’.
First up was their Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, an 85% Sangiovese 15% Merlot blend.
Gran Selezione is a new Chianti Classico classification (approved by the European Commission in 2014), sitting above Riserva, showing a new premium level for Chianti Classico DOCG. Wines with this classification must be made using grapes solely from the winery’s own vineyards. At the beginning of harvest, the winery must state whether that vintage will be Gran Selezione.
The wine is a DEEP ruby red with lots of tannins. It is fresh with cherry and tobacco, plus hints of toast. We believed it was slightly over extracted and raisiny.
Last but not least was the ‘Super Tuscan’, their Stignano Toscano IGT 2011. Unlike the 2008 which was a 50% Sangiovese 50% Merlot blend, this is 100% Merlot.
The colour is very dark and it is extremely full bodied with notes of spice, berries, cocoa and tobacco. A smooth wine which was well rounded with a good acidity.
We couldn’t end the tasting without a sweet wine, so out came the Adriano Moscato D’Asti 2014.
Like the Freisa, the vineyards for the Moscato are hillside vineyards in San Rocco Seno D’Elvio. The wine has qualities of citrus, herbs, (sage), peach, pear, apricot and it is also very grapey.
This was a very pleasant tasting and I will be working with them for food pairings on the next – a Loire Tasting in a months time.