The call went out from the Brown Paper Bag Club: BYO super-Tuscans to the suburban pizzeria, Napoli In Bocca, and we’ll have some fun.
Not one, but two great Piedmontese wineries held tastings in Sydney on the same day recently: Bruno Rocca and Gaja.
Kim and Jeanette Goldwater’s birthday invitation went out to over 60 family members and friends.
The Pizzini family has been at the forefront of Italian varietals for many years, and would be hard to beat for the number of outstanding wines of diverse varieties it offers. Recently, there’s been a re-thinking of the sangiovese portfolio, which is becoming quite extensive. There are five wines: some have been re-branded, and new ones introduced.
Querciabella Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2012 $45 A full-bodied red with rich, slightly raisiny aromas, and nuances of star anise, almond and dried-fruits. Dense, high-extract palate; ample tannins, smooth texture and a long carry. A satisfying wine. (13.5 per cent alcohol; cork) Score: 93 ★★★★½ – view
Gaia Gaja, daughter of the great Barbaresco producer and promoter Angelo Gaja, visited Australia recently and managed to jam more wines and words into a lunchtime event than I can recall witnessing for some time. I was flat-out tasting 14 wines, doing justice to a Steve Manfredi meal at Balla Ristorante, and concentrating at the same time on the information-packed talk Gaia gave for each bracket of wines. A pity, as these are great wines, and very expensive, and each one deserved to be lingered over. But then, there’s a lot to say about Gaja wine.
Poggio al Sole Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2012 $39-$44 Made in a clean, bright, modern style by a Swiss winemaker, this delivers the goods where a lot of Chiantis don’t. It’s dark and deep, almost inky, and has intense dark-cherry and leather aromas. Raspberry too. Very
Winemakers call it The Pox. It is the dreaded social disease of wine. It is shared around unwittingly – passed by those who usually don’t know they’ve got it, to those who are unaware they’re running a risk of contracting it. If a winemaker buys or borrows someone else’s used barrels, they may find their wine is infected – usually too late to do anything about it.
Vin Santo is a sweet wine made in the Tuscany region of Italy. It earned its Holy (Santo) status when, in 1348 a Franciscan friar cured plague victims by serving them the wine used to celebrate Mass. The really interesting thing about Vin Santo is the way it’s made.
I can’t decide which I like most: the diverse and fascinating wines of Italy, the county’s complex cuisine which is an art form or the warm and extraordinarily hospitable Italian people. Together they’re a devastating combination that keeps drawing me back.