Verona, the Barolos and the war cry of Burgundy
March 7, 2014
Many people aim to ‘eat and drink’ their way through Europe. I was no exception on my 2013 trip to France and Italy, but I feel sure I outdid most regular travellers in the drinking department – tastings only of course! Travelling in France and Italy in March and early April last year with a group of fellow wine professionals, I was privileged to learn from iconic winemakers, discover wonderful lesser known producers, and sample hundreds of wines; I’m so excited to share some of what I experienced with you.
France began the trip and, for someone like me, there could be no better way to begin each day than an early morning run through the vineyards of Burgundy – heaven. But it was more than just exercise, it really put the war cry of Burgundy, “Terroir!”, into perspective: here, often only a single path sets one vineyard apart from another. Unlike a region such as Bordeaux, which is dominated by large wine producing estates, Burgundy is composed of thousands of small parcels of land owned by growers, many of whom sell their grapes to independent wine producers. Here we visited some of the most renowned Domaines in the world, tasting the new 2011 vintage Burgundies, both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Once we arrived in Italy the real work began – tackling the enormous trade fair Vin Italy. Italy’s winemakers congregate in Verona each year for a show ten times the size of the Claremont Showgrounds and I had just four days to take in what I could. My plan? The first day I wandered and explored and took great delight in this wonderland of wine. Then I focused on key regions. One day was devoted to Tuscany and I was thrilled to be able to preview the 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages. Another day was all about Piedmont and this led me to what I want to share with you in more detail – the Barolos.
The vintage outlook for the Barolos, when comparing tastings from 2007 to 2009, reveals that 2009 produced wonderfully rich, supple and expressive wines. Some of the best of the vintage came from Mauro Veglio. Mauro typifies the rising stars of the wine world, those producers striking out on their own after learning their craft under the big names. While most consumers remain unfamiliar with these new talents their wines will continue to represent exceptional value. My top picks for cellaring from Mauro Veglio are three single vineyard Barolos:
Mauro Veglio Barolo Arborina 2009
This is the most approachable of the three wines. It is polished and powerfully intense, with an expressive bouquet and a fine tannin.
Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelleto 2009
This a rich and complex wine with lifted dark cherry aromas and firm tannins.
Mauro Veglio Barolo Rocche dell Annunziata 2009
This is a wine that is built to age: rich and dense with super fine tannins, I would compare it to top end red burgundies.
At the high end of the market, I had a wonderful Barolo tasting with Luca Currado, owner/winemaker at the famed Barolo family Vietti. The 2009’s were again the standout, showing great balance and a similarity to the 2005 vintage. We began with the Castiglione, followed by the 2009 Lazzarito/Rocche/Brunate wines. The Lazzarito was expressive and more open that I had expected, the Rocche was powerful, intense and complex, needing years in the cellar, and as you might expect, the Brunate was big and bold. On a side note, the 2006 Riserva Villero was amazing!
Experiencing the openness and humility of the world’s leading winemakers as they took the time to share their wine knowledge was a highlight of the trip for me, literally a dream come true. But most importantly, my wine knowledge has been lifted to a higher level and I can speak from first-hand experience about so many more of the world’s best wines.
My March Blog Mixed Dozen Selection
The march mixed dozen is an eclectic mix of interesting and exciting Italian wines, seasoned with a selection of wines by Australian producers I have discovered who are using Italian grape varieties.
We begin with the Lini 910 Lambrusco, from Emiglia Romagna: what an experience! Right about now you’re probably thinking “Ann Marie needs to go back to wine school or look for a new job…”, well, it’s not the Lambrusco you might be thinking of. For those of you that have been to an Italian festa (festival), I’m not referring to Fonte Viva or La Mondenese (what they call lambrusco): Lini 910 is what I’m talking about and it’s the real Lambrusco experience. Dark ruby in colour, red berry fruits, lush, creamy and refreshing, pour it into a sparkling flute and enjoy with a selection of cold meats. Better still, my favourite match for this wine is San Daniele prosciutto and Zia Giuseppina’s homemade bread…
I am also including a fresh Abruzzese White and a Kerner from Alto Adige, the Grape Variety of which reminds me of Riesling in structure, with the bouquet of Gewürztraminer. Add to this a Vermentino by a producer from Margaret River called Marq Wines, a white from South Australia made from Zibibbo (an aromatic white grape from the Muscat family which is intense, floral, has hints of orange peel and a dry textural finish) and an Arneis from Pizzini.
Following onto the Reds; a Nebbiolo from Roero in Piedmonte, a fresh, vibrant, juicy Primitivo (also known as Zinfandel) from Puglia, a Chianti superior from Tuscany and a bottle of Yelland & Papps Sete di Vino (which is really an Italian job, a blend of 29% Lagrein, 27% Dolcetto, 24% Barbera and 20% Primitivo hailing from the Barossa.) Include a Sangiovese by Coriole and Carpe Diems Nebbiolo and we are done. I say, let the journey begin….
You can order more than one mixed dozen, but the selection of wines is fixed and you will receive one of each of the above wines per dozen. You can order the mixed dozen by opening the order page below. Once you have submitted your order, I will be in touch to arrange payment.