Bellavita is an event open to the trade and the public and is the largest Italian food & wine show outside of Italy. It is a “food journey through Italy” and holds 3 events globally in Chicago, London and Amsterdam. The London event was held at the Business Design Centre from 17-19 July 2016 and showcased some fabulous products from the length and breadth of the country. There were a number of masterclasses available in both food and wine featuring guest presenters including Aldo Zilli, Joe Bastianich and Gennaro Contaldo.
Aside from the wines, there was a huge range of food. Gastronomica (http://www.gastronomica.co.uk/) had a fantastic array of cheese, Asti Quality Food (http://www.astiqualityfood.eu/it/) presented some stunning cakes, Martesana Milano 1966 (http://www.martesanamilano.com/) supplied beautiful handmade chocolates and Agromonte (http://www.agromonte.it/it/) offered a wide range of tomato based products including pesto. There was also an excellent representation of Italian Artisan Beer, olives, olive oils, cured meats, salami and sausage. Some of my favourites were the amazingly creamy mozzarellas from La Latteria (http://www.lalatteria.co.uk/), Il Capicollo from Azienda Agricola Trama (http://www.agricolatrama.it/) and the very special dry-cured hams from Ruliano (http://www.ruliano.it/en/).
Highlights on the wine side are as below:
Villa Sandi Prosecco
Villa Sandi dates back to 1622 and produces a wide range of Prosecco. Their top wines are produced from the 1.5 hectare Vigna La Rivetta estate in the middle of the Cartizze region. I started with the youthful, light and refreshing Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut and moved on to the Extra Dry which had a touch more residual sugar. The Il Fresco Sparkling Rosé - a blend of Glera and Merlot – was very light, floral and fruity and the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato 2015 had good fruit concentration and acidity. The final wine, the Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG was full-bodied and rich and would also work well with food.
Schatzitaly arranges food and wine activities in and around Lake Garda, Trentino and Veneto. They also source food and wine from local producers. I tasted 2 wines from Trentino in the northern part of Lake Garda where vines grow in chalky and clay soils at around 300m above sea level. The Balter Brut is a traditional method sparkling 100% Chardonnay which underwent its first fermentation half in stainless steel and half in small oak barriques. It was aged 36 months on the lees and was very rich and creamy. The Balter Rosé - a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay - was aged 24 months on the lees and had aromas and flavours of ripe camembert and fresh strawberries.
Abbazia di Busco
Abbazia di Busco is located in Treviso in northern Italy and produces a broad range of Prosecco. I tasted Pulpito Prosecco Denominazione di Origine Controllata di Treviso Frizzante which was extremely light, fruity and elegant with a very delicate mousse.
Simonini was established in 1968, is located in the heart of Parma in Emilia-Romagna and is most famous for producing the high quality Simonini ham. The vineyards have been certified organic for 5 years and I tasted 2 of their wines. The Fleur Spumante Rosé - 100% Barbera – was light and refreshing with good acidity. The Piacenziano Gutturnio DOP was more softly sparkling and a blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Bonarda. This had aromas and flavours of ripe jammy black fruit and sour cherries.
The Bastianich Winery was founded in 1997 and is located in the Friuli Colli Orientali DOC region in north-east Italy. The 2013 Bastianich Friuli Colli Orientali Friulano was a very fruity, full bodied wine with balanced acidity and alcohol. The 2013 Bastianich Vespa Bianco - a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 45% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Picolit - was aged 50% in stainless steel and 50% in large oak barrels for 2 years. The result is a full bodied white wine with hints of peaches and cream which is intended for ageing. It was interesting to note that the 2000 vintage had recently been opened and was reported to be showing extremely well. The 2014 Morellino di Scansano La Mozza Bastianich Estates is 85% Sangiovese with the balance coming from Syrah, Alicante, Colorino and Ciliegiolo. This was a very easy drinking red with soft ripe tannins and plenty of cooked black fruit.
Great Western Wines
Great Western Wines is based in Bath in the south-west of England and specialises in sourcing boutique wines from small producers. I tasted 3 wines from Ferrari who produce traditional method Italian sparkling wines. The Ferrari Maximum Brut DOC is 100% Chardonnay from vineyards located at round 400m above sea level. It spent 36 months on the lees and was floral with citrus and peach aromas and flavours, plus some toasty brioche notes. The Ferrari Rosé - a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay – also spent 36 months on the lees and had plenty of ripe red fruit. The Ferrari Perlé Nero Brut 2008 - 100% Pinot Noir - was aged 6 years on the lees. This was a very full bodied wine with a persistent mousse and a very long finish.
In summary, this was a fantastic event offering some great wines, amazing food and a plethora of entertaining and engaging producers. I would thoroughly recommend a visit.
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