“Flavours of Italy – Celebrating Italian Classics” Wine Masterclass

This past Tuesday the Italian Chamber of Commerce – West held a seminar for wine media and sommeliers. This is the fourth year that I have had the good fortune to be invited and attend this educational wine seminar and masterclass presented by Iain Philip of Barbariain Wine Consulting. A Guided Wine Tasting paired with an Italian Lunch.

I knew we were in for a special opportunity to taste some classic Italian favourites and that the presentation would be spot on, informative as well as very interesting. This was a walk through the areas of Tuscany, Veneto and Prosecco; tasting twelve wines paired with a number of dishes prepared by the team at La Terrazza in Yaletown.

The purpose of the masterclass is to acquaint the selected public with the exclusive selection of 12 “Flavours of Italy” wines paired with authentic Italian food. The wines will be available in 60 BC Liquor Stores ilocations from October 4th to 31st.

With a limit of twenty guests and the members of the Italian Chamber we were about 25 people in a room normally reserved for over 130. All precautions were taken, including wearing of masks, and social distanced seating. Like our presenter Philip, I too had not attended any wine tasting events since February and it was an opportunity that everyone met with anticipation. Philip referred to the occasion as being a philosophical one.

There was considerable reflection on the state of the wine industry in Italy and Europe in general, as well as concerns for our local hospitality industry at this time. British Columbia wineries are also affected as about 30% of their sales are to restaurants. In 2019 approximately 9 million dollars worth of Italian wine was sold through BC Liquor stores with 22.5 million dollars worth of Italian wine was sold direct to consumers, that was up by 8% over the previous year.

Comparatively this year since April 1, 2020 sales of Italian wines have topped $28,241,538. so far as restaurant and licensee sales are down. Breaking that down a bit $4,789,608. was Tuscan wines, $6,157,293. Veneto, and 6,402,226 Prosecco. Sales of Italian wines to restaurants/hospitality have been hit especially hard this year with sales at just under $3m with consumer sales up $2.5m over 2019. Italian wines are the top sellers of all imported wines.

“Italian wine is a connection, not a business” Iain Philip

What we tasted:

Masi Modello Prosecco DOC

Masi Agricola

100% Glera

$18.99 sku 161591

A harmonious, elegant wine with great softness, freshness and notes of apple, pear, apricot and white flowers.

A tangy, sweetish finish with lemon notes. Slightly yeasty aromas followed by green apples that mellows as drunk. A little bit of armpit scent but not off putting. Medium acidity and fruity. This was my #3 of the white wines.

Prosecco Brut

Organic Vegan

La Jara

100% Glera

$17.99 sku 223407 (on sale until Oct 3 $16.99)

92 Points, Falstaff Magazine: “Vibrant, light hue with fine bubbles. Pleasant nose showing appealing spring-like notes backed by Canary melon and pear. Light palate displaying delicious soft, plump weight. Harmonious effervescence for a good quality dry sparkling wine.” (January 2019) Certified organic and vegan.

Delicate and delicious. This wine was smooth and rich with hints of pear. Nice minerality and low acidity, fruity. #1 of the whites

Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio 2019

Mezzacorona

100% Pinot Grigio

$17.99 sku 312801

The flavour of Italian Pinot Grigio is both refreshing and extremely complementary to all kinds of cuisine. Hints of apple, yellow plum and citrus combine with youthful qualities that make for a refreshing taste. An excellent partner to seafood, poached salmon and grilled poultry.

FOOD PAIRINGS

Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio is Vibrant & Fruity

Examples of great pairings: Seafood Salad, Smoked Salmon, Oysters, Pasta with Cream or Mushroom Sauce, Baked White Fish in Butter Sauce, Soft-ripened cheese, Chicken Sandwich, Prawns, Scallops

This is an accessible wine with 2,000 cases sold through BC Liquor Stores. The winery is family owned and run and hand harvested. Grown in the cooler North East region the wine has minerality, limestone with light acidity. Light, crisp, smooth and dry. Extremely light flavour with a nice light colour and paired well with the Carpaccio. #2 of the whites

Tedeschi Capitel Tenda Soave Classico 2018

Tedeschi

100% Garganega

$21.99 sku 252335

Yellow in colour with green reflections. Clear and transparent. Strong and complex fruity bouquet. Very clean with notes of dry fruits. Rich and elegant. Good body and good acidity. Relatively warm, rounded and well- balanced. Pleasing and elegant.

Beautiful scents, sophisticated. Cedar chest meets rose dusting powder = granma’s closet. A bit of oak, light, smooth, a wine with layers and richer than I expected. Almond scents, tree fruits. Develops when paired with the Melenzana (baked Italian eggplant) #4 of the whites.

The next three red wines we tasted were Super Tuscans:

Monte Antico 2015

Monte Antico

85% Sangiovese
5% Cabernet Sauvignon
10% Merlot

$16.99 sku 587113

This wine is 85% Sangiovese with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. Dark ruby in colour, its bouquet of leather, earth, herbs, black cherries, licorice and plums is confirmed on the medium- to full-bodied palate. Round, spicy, elegant, attractively fruity and extremely versatile – in other words food-friendly and pocket-friendly!

OMG Lightly rich aromas, sweetish, medium body, delicious with very little, or light, tannins. Could be considered Super Tuscan. Some dark fruit aromas, juicy sangiovese that tastes like Tuscany. Smoky aromas and a wine pairing must. The quality and value is exceptional. A New Zealand winemaker. #2 of the Super Tuscans.

Sangiovese FOOD PAIRINGS

Sangiovese is Fruity & Tangy. Examples of great pairings: Cured or Smoked Meats, Country Pate, Pasta with Meat Sauce, Baked Pasta with meat filling, Duck Confit, Roast Duck, Grilled Pork, Grilled Veal, Tacos, Burritos, Fajitas, Pizza, Hamburgers.

Il Fauno di Arcanum 2015

Tenuta di Areno

72% Merlot
20% Cabernet Franc
4% Cabernet Sauvignon
4% Petit Verdot

$39.99 sku 694216

93 points, Wine Advocate – “A blend of 59% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. This wine offers terrific value, especially to those who prize soft richness and concentration in their blended Tuscan reds. This beautiful, medium to full-bodied wine would pair seamlessly with grilled or roasted meats.”

Quite different from the Monte Antico. Aromas of plums, red fruit with flavours of green peppers. Sweet, deep, dark fruit scents. Dark colour with medium tannins. I did not find this wine as dense as suggested. #3 of the Super Tuscans. Later this became my #1 of the Super Tuscans. Amazing what pairing does for Italian wine.

Crognolo IGT Toscana 2017

Tenuta Sette Ponti

90% Sangiovese
10% Merlot

$39.99 sku 392514

95 Points, James Suckling: “Aromas of rosewood, cherries and blueberries follow through to a full body, tight and focused tannins and a long and flavorful finish. This is linear and bright. The tannins are wonderfully polished and poised. Hard not to drink now, but it will improve beautifully in the bottle. A blend of mostly sangiovese with a touch of merlot.” (July 2018)

Super Tuscan FOOD PAIRINGSOther Blend is Full-Bodied & Robust Examples of great pairings: Grilled Steak, Roast Beef, Rack of Lamb, Lamb Shank, Osso Bucco, Sharp CheddarSome question as to whether this is 100% sangiovese, wine reviewers say 10% merlot. Limestone, delicious, so good, black cherries, rich, smooth with very light tannins. Did I say delicious? Initially this was #1 As I went back and forth between the wines and the pairings this became my #3 of the Super Tuscans.

Next we tasted three Chianti wines:

Chianti Rufina Riserva 2016

Frescobaldi Toscana 

Sangiovese and complementary varieties
(Malvasia nera, Colorino, Merlot,
Cabernet Sauvignon)

$24.99 sku 107276

91 Points, Wine Enthusiast: “Fresh and fragrant, this racy red has enticing woodland berry and violet scents and an earthy whiff of new leather. The lithe, elegant palate offers juicy red cherry, crushed red raspberry, cinnamon and star anise flavors framed by polished tannins and vibrant acidity. An outstanding performance for a cool, difficult vintage. Enjoy 2019–2024.” (July 2018)

Wonderful brandy aromas, blackberry pie,  jam, medium body and quite delicious. Well balanced. Paired extremely well with the Melenzana and Stozzapreti. Elegant, medium body. Cellar this wine. #1 of the Chiantis

Chianti Classico DOCG Famiglia Zingarelli 2018

Rocca delle Macie

95% Sangiovese
5% Merlot

$19.99 sku 308510 on sale $18.49 until Oct 3

91 points, James Suckling “Attractive black-cherry and orange-peel character follows through to a medium body, light tannins and a fruity finish.” (June 16, 2019).

A prestigious and famous area of Classico wine. Lighter than expected, subtle aromas, a bit smoky. Red fruit scents with medium + tannins. Not as deep or mellow as I prefer.  Lighter wine that is a different style than the Riserva, meant to be lihter, more refreshing with higher acid. Chill slightly. #4 of the Chianti

Chianti Classico 2018

Rocca di Montegrossi

90% Sangiovese
10% Colorino and Ciliegiolo

$32.99 sku 757815

90+ points, Vinous – “Super-ripe dark plum, espresso, spice and licorice all race out of the glass.” (August, 2019)

Fresh, less fruity aromas. Rich, sweet tastes, smooth and flavourful. A bit of a dusty scent. #2 of the Chiantis.

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2016

Fontodi

100% Sangiovese

$38.99 sku 533315

95 Points, James Suckling: “The purity of fruit here really makes an impression on you. The nose shines with freshly picked blackcurrants, dark plums, freshly cut herbs, cinnamon, raspberry cheesecake, glazed cherries, orange and lemon rind. The palate is so well-crafted with a silky ball of tannins surrounded by layers of blue and red fruit and enveloping acidity. A long finish. From organically grown grapes.” (June 2018)

Chianti FOOD PAIRINGS

Sangiovese is Fruity & Tangy Examples of great pairings: Cured or Smoked Meats, Country Pate, Pasta with Meat Sauce, Baked Pasta with meat filling, Duck Confit, Roast Duck, Grilled Pork, Grilled Veal, Tacos, Burritos, Fajitas, Pizza, Hamburgers

Great aromas, dark fruit, plum torte. Delicious and smooth. Perfect dinner wine, excellent pairing with the Stozzapreti. Medium to heavier tannins, rich. #3 of the Chiantis

Botter Verso Rosso 2019

Botter S.P.A.

60% Negroamaro
35% Primitivo (Croatia)
5% Malvasia Nera

$18.99 sku 65565

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.

Sweet, rich, delicious and yummy. Ripe plum, prune, light tannins. The grapes are allowed to raisin. Love the residual sugar. Pairing with the Agnello (lamb) was exceptional. Both the dish and the wine pairing were excellent. This was #1

More information on each winery can be found here.

Find more information at BC Liquor Store events.

Iain Philip, Barbariain Wine Consulting

Iain Philip, DipWSET, is a long standing wine instructor in Vancouver and has been dedicated to teaching the Wine & Spirit Education Trust courses since 2002.  He currently teaches all levels of the WSET programs, including the Level 4 Diploma. He has conducted WSET classes in several other markets including Calgary and San Diego, and has consulted for some of North America’s largest wine companies wanting to incorporate the curriculum into their staff training.  Iain gained the WSET Diploma in 2001, French Wine Scholar in 2014 (with Highest Honours), Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador in 2017.

Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada – West

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada–West (ICCC) has operated since 1992 as a private, non-profit, membership organization with the mandate of promoting and enhancing business, trade and investment exchanges between Italy and Western Canada.

ICCC is an integral part of a prestigious worldwide network of Italian Chambers of Commerce, and is one of the most active and respected bilateral trade organizations in Western Canada. Formally recognized by the Italian Government, ICCC forms part of a network of over 150 offices in Italy and 80 foreign Italian Chambers of Commerce throughout the world.

With offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Italy, ICCC acts as a catalyst between businesses and institutions in Italy and Western Canada by coordinating and hosting trade and economic missions, organizing the participation of delegations at international trade shows, and providing customized business solutions for Italian and Canadian companies wishing to enter international markets.

ICCC promotes its members’ interests, from young professionals to multinational companies, offering a wide range of business – building activities like customized contacts supply, planning of dedicated events, implementation of business and corporate strategies.

ICCC’s members can also take advantage of several discounts and other benefits for their business activities thanks to special conventions that allow them to access to a network made up by over 25.000 companies member of the 80 Italian Chambers of Commerce in 50 countries all over the world.

To read more about the benefits we offer to our members, please click here.

Bottle shots, tasting notes, and food pairings courtesy of the BC Liquor Store website. Remarks (in italics) are my own. I was a wine media guest and the seminar and lunch were complimentary. All comments and opinions are my own. If you would like to be featured on MyVanCity.ca please connect with your pr agency or email myvancityval@nullgmail.com for full details. Wine samples accepted for review.

 

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