Friday evenings are about winding down. Last night was a WINE down of note when Master of Wine and neighbour Paul Benade presented an Italian Wine Evening to a group of well travelled peopled with practiced palates. This was not only a fun sensory outing but an education in the complicated framework that guards Italian wine. Wine Folly states “Italian wine is one of the most difficult regions to know” and I quickly learnt why as Paul rattled off the rules and regulations which almost always seemed to have an exception. Fellow diner and recently qualified winemaker Dewald added his experience from a recent tasting with local Italian Roberto Bottega at Idiom in Somerset West.
Italy is divided into 20 regions, each with its own and numerous wine regions, covering more than 2000 grape varieties. We tasted samples of Italy’s best known varietals including Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Montepulciano. We also tasted blends and heard interesting stories about the rich heritage, the Super Tuscans and tried to think of South African examples of Italian varietals. Italian wine classification is a minefield and was only introduced in the 1960s following the French system. c – DOCG – is the highest level. This is followed by DOC and then Indicazione Geografica Tipica – IGT – and Vino da Tavola or Table Wine at the most basic level. I won’t even try to explained all the rules attached to each level as conveyed by Paul last night.
Here is a list of what I drank last night in 4 flights of 4 with the first flight being white and then going on to red:
- Cantina Zaccagnini 2018 Pinot Grigio – IGT
- Bolla Soave Classico 2018 DOC (FYI – Soave means soft)
- Tenuta Pietramora 2018 Vermentino Toscana IGT
- Bidoli Grave 2018 Sauvignon Blanc DOC
- Marchisio 2017 Nebbiolo D’Alba DOC
- Tenuta Pietramora 2017 Germile Sangionvese Toscana IGT
- Chinati Classico Castellare di Castellina 2016 DOCG
- Tenuta Pietramora 2016 Morellino de Scansano Brumaio DOCG
- Enrico Serfinn Barbera D’Alba 2016 DOC
- Mantaellasi Morellino di Scansano 2016 DOCG
- Casa Vinicola Minini 2016 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC
- La Fiammenga 2015 Paion Barbera D’Asti DOC Superiore
- Masi 2015 Campofiorin Nectar Angelorum Hominibus IGT
- Enrioc Serafinn 2014 Dolcetta D’Alba DOC
- Duca Di Salaparuta 2014 Corvu Rosso IGT Siciliane – I got a wine fault on the nose right away
- Donatella Cinelli Colombi 2013 Leone Rosso Orcia DOC – Italy’s first all women vineyard!
For good measure we ended the tasting with a 2005 magnum Chateau Libertas and some limoncello. We left with the promise to meet again at the annual Festa Italian held at the Italian Club in Milnerton.