Sue Ray Uncorked
Borsa Vini Italiani - 19 January 2017
Landing 42, The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4AB
Borsa Vini Italiani is a trade event hosted by the Italian Trade Commission “ICE”; a government agency that facilitates the development, marketing and promotion of Italian products globally. The London office of the ICE works with more than 1500 Italian companies to promote their goods and services in the UK. It is also involved in “Piano Sud”, a relatively new initiative set up to promote Italy’s “Convergence Regions”, namely Campania, Calabria, Puglia and Sicilia. The event welcomed a number of winemakers and producers from these regions, together with a handful of representatives from the better known wine regions of Italy.
It was held on the 42nd floor of the architecturally stunning Leadenhall Building, also known as the “The Cheesegrater”. The glass elevator which whizzes you up into the clouds in about 30 seconds is the fastest in Europe and the views from the top are absolutely breath-taking.
The day started with “New Discoveries from Italy’s Mezzogiorno”; a Masterclass hosted by Peter McCombie MW who presented a selection of wines from lesser known grape varietals from the “Mezzogiorno”; a collective name for the southern wine regions of Italy.
Visitors were then invited to take a tour through these regions to gain a better understanding of their unique terroir, microclimate and indigenous grape varietals. There was also the opportunity to taste wines from small producers looking for UK importers from some of the other wine regions of Italy including Lazio, Lombardia, Piemonte, Toscana, Umbria and Veneto.
Below I have detailed some regional information and highlighted some of the new producers I met, together with some of the wines which impressed me.
Calabria forms the toe of the Italian boot and is a predominantly mountainous region with differing microclimates between the sunny coast and the Aspromonte massifs. It is a relatively poor area and a very small percentage of DOC wines come from this region. It does however produce some really interesting wines and 2 Greek varietals dominate production: Gaglioppo for reds and Greco for whites. Calabria’s best known wine is Cirò and the classic Cirò is red, however, there is also a rosato and a bianco which is made from Greco. Calabria produces 47 million litres of wine per year, 89% of which is red.
Colacino Wines Società Agricola Srl
Contact: Mauro Colacino
Vittorio Colacino established the company in 1968 and it is still a family run enterprise. Vineyards are located around 500m above sea level, cultivated by hand, and wines are created using indigenous grapes which they believe gives a distinctive character.
Britto 2013 DOC Savuto - 40% Arvino, 20% Greco Nero, 20% Nerello Cappuccio and 20% Magliocco Canino - a full bodied, very smooth red with good acidity and hints of tobacco and liquorice
Vigna Colle Barabba 2015 DOC Savuto - 40% Arvino, 25% Greco Nero, 25% Nerello Cappuccio and 10% Magliocco Canino - herbal and Mediterranean with aromas of perfume and violets
Campania is the ankle of the boot and home to Naples and the DOC zones of Capri, Ischia, the Peninsola Sorrentina and the Costa d’Amalfi. The region experiences hot dry summers and mild winters which are moderated by sea breezes. The majority of producers utilise indigenous grapes, with Aglianico taking centre stage for reds and Greco and Falanghina sharing the bill for whites. Three ancient wines have recently been elevated to DOCG status, namely Taurasi, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. Campania produces 185 million litres of wine per year, 57% of which is red.
Cantine ENODELTA di Antonio Caputo
Contact: Antonio Caputo
Cantine ENODELTA was established around 30 years ago and is owned and run by Antonio Caputo and his sons, Annina and Nicola. They are credited as being one of the pioneers in winemaking in Campania and attribute their success to careful selection of native grapes combined with modern oenological techniques.
Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Rosso 2015 DOC Vesuvio - 80% Piedirosso & 20% Aglianico - a ripe fruity red with refreshing acidity
Taurasi DOCG 2012 DOCG Aglianico - 100% Aglianico - a perfect marriage of good fruit concentration and very well integrated oak
Lazio is Italy’s shin and home to Rome. Its hills, sunny climate and fertile volcanic soils are well suited to white wines made from the various clones of Malvasia and Trebbiano. The only DOCG is the red Cesanese del Piglio and the region also produces a Port-like dessert wine from Aleatico and a sweet Moscato di Terracina which was recently promoted to DOC status. Lazio produces 210 million litres of wine per year, 80% of which is white.
La Cantina Sant'Andrea – Azienda Agricola
Contact: Mino Crescenzo
La Cantina Sant'Andrea is run by the 5th generation of the Pandolfo family. Originally from Sicilia, they moved to Tunisia before ending up in Lazio, about an hour’s drive from Rome. They own 2 vineyards, one facing the Pontine Marshes, an area with no winemaking tradition but with an exceptional microclimate, and the second in the hills around Terracina. I had the pleasure of meeting the incredibly charming Mino Crescenzo, their Export Manager, who was extremely passionate about their products.
Oppidum 2015 DOC Circeo - 100% Moscato di Terracina - a beautiful white with a hint of sweetness, ripe peaches, honey, honeysuckle and a dry finish
Riflessi Bianco Spumante 2015 Spumante Lazio - 70% Malvasia & 30% Trebbiano - a gently sparkling, refreshing, easy drinking wine with a fuller body than many Proseccos
Located in the north-west of Italy and bordered by Switzerland and France, this is one of Italy’s most prestigious wine regions. It has the most DOC/DOCG zones in Italy and the largest percentage of wines officially classified at 86%. Piemonte receives accolades for its red Barolo and Barbaresco made from the almost regal Nebbiolo grape, but the most popular wine of the region is the sweet white sparkling Asti. Barbera is the most popular grape for red wines, followed by Dolcetto, whilst Gavi produces some crisp elegant white wines from the Cortese grape. Piemonte is a leading producer of sparkling wines and produces almost 80 million bottles per year.
Borgo Valentino 1789
Contact: Claudio Cogno
Borgo Valentino is located just a few kilometres from Alba, Barolo and Barbaresco. The company creates wines to reflect the colours, smells and terroir of the region so that when you taste them you will feel as though you are deep in the hills of Langhe and Roero.
Barbaresco 2013 DOCG Barbaresco - 100% Nebbiolo - this elegant wine has a very aromatic nose with hints of balsamic, followed by plenty of ripe cooked black fruit enveloped in velvety tannins and beautifully integrated oak
Barolo 2011 DOCG Barolo - 100% Nebbiolo - this beautiful full-bodied wine has aromas of blackberries and violets, silky smooth tannins and a long lingering finish
Puglia is the heel of Italy and a long, fertile region producing grapes, olives and wine. The word Puglia translates to “lack of rain” and soils have a calcareous base with top soils rich in iron oxide to retain moisture. Traditionally, Puglia is a key volume producer and less than one quarter of its production is sold in bottle. The best wines of the region come from Negroamaro and Primitivo, and red and rose wines account for more than half of its production. The region produces 700 million litres of wine per year, making it Italy’s 2nd largest wine producing region in terms of volume. In recent years, Puglia has seen a large-scale reinvention of its wine production which has resulted in wines of a higher standard.
Contact: Vincenzo Latorre
Cantine Imperatore is located in Adelfia in the province of Bari and vineyards are located approximately 180m above sea level. The climate is moderated by the influence of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas and the cold, dry Mistral wind keeps vines free from rot. They produce Primitivo wines in four different styles: Il Sogno is aged for 24 months in French barrique plus a further year in 500l tonneau; Vini Decumano is a natural wine with spicy aromas of oregano, rosemary and eucalyptus; Passito is a sweet wine with a powerful perfumed nose; and Sonya is a young, elegant wine aged for 12 months in oak.
Il Quarto Colore 2015 - 100% Pampanuto - a vibrant and refreshing “orange wine” which receives its delicate colour from 3 weeks maceration on the skins, followed by 1 week’s ageing in oak barrels
Il Sogno DOP Gioia del Colle 2010 DOC Primitivo di Manduria - 100% Primitivo - a silky smooth and elegant red with ripe fruit, a hint of spice and soft tannins
Sicilia is the largest region in Italy and the 4th largest in terms of volume. It produces 635 million litres per annum and white wine accounts for around 70%. It has a Mediterranean climate with mild to warm wet winters and warm summers. Altitude is important here and Sicilia has the highest vineyards in Italy on and around Mount Etna reaching up to 2000m above sea level. This region has one of Italy’s most dynamic wine industries and a rising volume of IGT wines. Whilst the traditional Marsala accounts for a large share of Sicilia’s DOC production, good reds are being produced from Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese and Perricone, and good whites from Inzolia and Grecanico. International varietals are also becoming increasingly prominent, notably Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
L'Azienda Agricola Marzuco
Contacts: Gaetano Marzuco & Salvatore Nigrelli
I was initially drawn to this table by the wonderful array of olives and cheese. Gaetano and Salvatore are warm and welcoming and extremely passionate about their products. The family-run estate owns and farms a number of olive groves and vineyards and creates wines using both indigenous and international grape varietals. It is located in the Valle del Belice, some 10km from Selinunte which is considered to be one of the most important archaeological areas in the Mediterranean and indeed the whole of Europe.
Vermentino L’Aurora Bianca 2015 IGT Sicilia - 100% Vermentino - light, fragrant and floral with ripe citrus and good minerality
Syrah L’Aurora Rossa 2015 DOCG Sicilia - 100% Syrah - rich, dark and fruity
Toscana is home to Florence and one of Italy’s most dynamic producers of premium wines. With an annual production of 292 million litres, 62% are DOC/DOCG, 26% are IGT and red wine accounts for 85%. The native Sangiovese creates classic reds from Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Carmignano and Morellino di Scansano but the region is also famous for its cult and expensive “Super Tuscans” and the new styles of white made from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinots. Toscana also produces the rich and sweet Vin Santo, the traditional Italian dessert wine.
Contact: Fabrizio Benedetti
Castello Monterinaldi is located between Panzano and Radda in Chianti. It owns 18 single vineyards covering 50ha and is described as being “as self-contained as a turtle” – hence the logo. The winery is owned by the Ciampi family and was founded in 1961. They create wines using different clones of Sangiovese, together with Canaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia Nera, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Gamay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malvasia Bianca, Trebbiano and Chardonnay.
Castello Monterinaldi 2013 DOCG Chianti Classico - 90% Sangiovese & 10% Canaiolo - a herbal, soft and fruity Chianti with good acidity
Castello Monterinaldi 2010 DOC Vin Santo del Chianti Classico - 60% Malvasia Bianca & 40% Trebbiano - sweet, velvety and gorgeous!
I thoroughly enjoyed my tour around Italy in such a stunning setting and on such a lovely day in London. The producers and exporters I met were friendly, engaging and extremely passionate about their products. It is exciting to see some fabulous new wines coming out of such an incredibly complex country and a fantastic opportunity to taste some of the classics. Look out for more events from the ICE!
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