Sunday, May 14, 2023

Wine Tasting - A Tour of Italy

Bassenthwaite Lake Station, Cumbria. Thursday 04-May-2023.

Our rescheduled return back to Italy meant we could fit it this tasting. Obviously living in Italy for half the year we have tasted many of these wines even if not these specific producers. 

The tasting covered wines from all over Italy. It was interesting to take a canter through a complete country in one session and get a good impression of the breadth of wines from the different regions. They were presented one at a time, there was no compare-and-contrast in pairs like last time (Wine Tasting - France vs Rest of the World).

I had to google the Bampfield points mention in the Chianti description. I know about Robert Parker and his (over-)influential ratings but Bampfield was a new one on me. He is an MW (Master of Wine) so knows what he's talking about and Lidl are using his scorings to label their wines.

Our hostess was good at drawing out the crowd's opinions with lots of "What do you think of this?" and "How much do you think this costs?". Most wines got general approval apart from a couple of Moaning Minnies on the next table, fortunately they were in the minority. 

Below are their tasting notes followed by Mary's star ratings and her notes.

Finest Prosecco Veneto (North East), Tesco £8.50

Fresh and elegant with a lingering finish, look for citrus and pear flavours with peach blossom aromas. Best as an aperitif or to pair with salmon. 

Bonus question - which grape is used to produce Prosecco? Answer: Glera is the principal grape. 

 Transparent, slight sweetness, floral.

Prior Bortolomiol Valdobbiandene 2021 Veneto (North East), Lake District Wines £20.00

This velvety, fruity, aromatic prosecco is crisp and fine with strong fruity hints and sharp apple and citrus flavours. Ideal as an aperitif or with fish or vegetable dishes especially those dressed with olive oil. 

 V. slight colour, fresher, subtler flavour, more elegant.

Tasca Regaliali Bianco Sicily (South), Majestic £8.99

Made from Inzolia, a local grape variety that is aromatic and floral, delicate but not bland, it has fruit flavours of apple, peach and pink grapefruit. Best served with shellfish, fish or vegetarian dishes. 

Lovely texture & nose, fresh, appley & peach.

Garibaldi Gavi Piedmont (North) Lakeland, Vintners £15.00

When Gavi is really good it outshines the rather bland pinot grigio and this is a special Gavi indeed! With layers of crisp apple, pears and almonds, the wine is full and round with a lightly acidic, clean finish. A flexible wine for food pairing, especially good with light cheeses, fish or white meats and salads. 

✱ Faint nose, clean, fresh, slightly woody, green apple, mouthwatering.

Stella Alpina Pinot Grigio Alto Aldige (North), Majestic £10.99

With a reputation for high-end, quality wines, this comes from one of the regions better producers and is in a different league to entry-level pinot grigio. Look for a rich, pure palate of peach, melon and kiwi fruit with the crispest of finishes. Good with difficult-to-pair tomato salads or fresh seafood dishes. 

 Lime, peach, peach kernel, melon, nice balance (acid / flavour). Probably one of the best Pinot Grigio we have tasted.

Triplica Greco Di Tufo Campania South West), Majestic £9.99

Campania produces some of Italy's most prestigious white wines. The higher altitude growing areas are cooler, giving the grapes time to ripen in the sunshine without over-heating or losing too much acidity. Crafted by one of the most dynamic and talented winemakers, Alessandro Michelon, you can expect excellence. It is perfumed, tropical and refreshing with hints of mango, pear and fresh herbs. Enjoy with fresh mozzarella. 

✱½ Mango, pear?, good acidity, good flavour & length.

Chianti Reserva Tuscany (Mid-West), Lidi £6.49

Rated an amazing 92 out of 100 Bampfield points, this authentic and typical example of a Chianti displays a maturity above its age. It has notes of fruitcake and sweet spice and a dry, balsamic finish. Great with spag bol or lasagne. 

 Raisins, herbs on nose, dried fruit, soft tannins, dry finish.

integro Negroamaro 2021 Puglia (South East), Booths £10.00

Negroamaro is one of Italy's native grapes and Puglia has the best conditions for its cultivation. The wine is a little spicy with hints of blueberry and blackberry. It is rich, sleek, complex and smooth.

 Intense nose, prunes, spicy, cedar, complex, long. Lovely wine and available from our very local Booths supermarket!

Campofiorin Masi Veneto (North East), Majestic £12.99

A velvety-smooth complex wine due to its second fermentation with partially dried grapes producing wines comparable with Amarone but without the price tag! Expect notes of ripe cherry with hints of tobacco, vanilla and cinnamon spice. Enjoy with cheese or charcuterie. 

 Intense nose, figs, cherry, vanilla, tobacco.

Aglianico Del Vulture Basilicata (South), Majestic £9.99

The later ripening Aglianico grape is one of Italy's hidden gems, producing intense, spicy wines that are great with Mediterranean dishes and which will age well. The volcanic vineyard soils produce very well-structured wines with notes of dark fruit and black pepper. 

 Dark, dark fruit, rhubarb, scrub, pepper, tannic, young?

Barolo denominazione controllata Piedmont (North), Tesco £19.00

Harvested by hand and aged in oak barrels for 24 months, this special wine showcases the unusual Nebbiolo grape producing subtle perfumes, strong tannins and a bouquet of ripe fruit, sweet spices and a hint of vanilla. Pair with beef stew or wild mushroom risotto. 

½ Light in colour, strawberry, vanilla, tannic, good flavour.

Montepulciano D'abruzzo Abruzzo (East central), Tesco £7.00

Proud of its Gold award in the 2022 International Wine Challenge, this high quality wine from the Abruzzo hills overlooking the Adriatic is inky-black, rich, full-bodied and complex with juicy black fruit, savoury spice and a typical chocolatey finish. It will pair well with bold and hearty dishes.

✱✱✱ Spicy, vanilla, woody, dark fruits, spicy, tannic.

In summary we placed the cheap prosecco at the bottom and the Puglian Negroamaro at the top of the leader board closely followed by the Barolo.

As before we stayed in The Pheasant Inn just a couple of minutes walk from the venue. Last time we got a special off-season deal, this time we paid full whack - not such a deal. Next time we will look at last minute deals or staying in Keswick and using our bus pass to get to and from the event.

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