The theme for the 2009 edition of Vinitaly, a well recognized and esteemed international wine exhibition, was “This is the world we love”.
What better place to demonstrate our love for wine, its terroir, and environment than Verona, the city of legendary Romeo and Juliet?
17th International Wine Competition Sponsored by the Organization Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin, the Union Internationale des Oenologues, and the Italian Republic Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Policy and Ministry of Industry, this competition preceded the 43rd Vinitaly exhibition. Its purpose is to focus on the best wine production and to feature typical wines from the various wine producing countries, and ultimately rewarding the winning wineries thus encouraging them to continue(and improve) their products.
Each producer can submit only five wines in each of the categories. In the end, over 3,600 wines, representing thirty-four countries, were submitted. The wines were swirled, sipped and tasted by twenty-one panels, each comprising five judges.
Broken down into two categories – denomination of origin, and wines with geographical indication – the samples were further placed into a total of 28 categories. The wines were assessed and the score calculated using the arithmetical average of five evaluation sheets, after removing the highest and lowest scores. The process required 24,000 glasses and almost 22,270 evaluation sheets.
In And About
Cantina Valpolicella Negrar
What began in 1933 as the Cantina Sociale Valpolicella,founded by seven partners so as to defend and protect the character and quality of Veronese wines, is today Cantina Valpolicella Negrar. This co-operative advises approximately 200 grape growers, proprietors of over 500 Ha of vineyards situated on the hillside ofthe Valpolicella Classico region in northwest Verona. Implementing a green philosophy, the cooperative practices integrated viticulture by minimizing the number of treatments to the vines and handpicking the grapes during harvest.
The winery produces over 8 million bottles a year, predominantly Amarone, Recioto and Valpolicella. Given their sound working relationship with growers in other Veronese viticultural zones, the company is able to offer other varieties such as Bianco di Custoza, Bardolino and Soave. As part of their “Domini Veneti”
project, that identifi es the best location of quality grapes, we were introduced to their special edition Amarone di Valpolicella made from Corvina Veronese, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes grown in the Jago zone. An inviting deep garnet colour, the wine goes on to reward your mouth with sheer pleasure that continues to a lingering and magnificent finish. The label, designed by famed cartoon artist Milo Manara, is a clear reflection of the elegant wine that is to be found inside the bottle.
www.cantinanegrar.it/english Il Cenacolo, an elegantly rustic restaurant located at Via Teatro Filarmonico, 10 (and the site for the closing dinner in honour of the judges), is an experience not to be missed. Don’t expect a menu when you arrive as your server will inform you of fabulously delicious items from which you can make your selection. The fixed price for the multi-course meal is not cheap, but certainly reasonable given the quality and portion of the bill of fare. The cuisine, described as traditional northern Italy, focuses on grilled meats all of which is pleasingly presented. Of course, a selection of wine from their noteworthy list, and some tempting desserts, will beautifully complement an unforgettable dinner.
Cantina di Soave “Borgo Rocca Sveva”
This co-operative winery encompasses 4,200 Ha of vineyards, is owned by over 700 associates, and produces over 50,000,000 bottles that include Soave Classico DOC, Soave Classico Superiore Castelcerino DOCG, Recioto di Soave DOCG, Recioto di Soave Mida DOCG, and Amarone della Valpolicella. Together with the agricultural faculty of the University of Verona, the cooperative explores various methods, plantings as well as test the new grapes. At their large boutique,
visitors can purchase not only wines but also local products such as grappa, oil, and honey. Closed on Sunday, you should call ahead for tours, or visit www.cantinasoave.it
Colli Orientali Del Friuli Abazzia di Rosazzo and
Vinai Dell’Abbate, Manzano
As an adjunct to the competition, a three-day tour to
introduce us to Consorzio di Tutela Vini DOC “Colli
Orientali del Friuli” was organized for a small group
of journalists and judges. My own informative and
education excursion began with a stay at the wellappointed
Agriturismo Villa Butussi situated at Visinale
After settling in, we were welcomed by the Consortium’s
president and producers at the impressive Abbazia
di Rosazzo in Manzano, founded in the eleventh
century by Augustinian monks and later taken over
by the Benedictines. Not only was it the birthplace
of winemaking in northeastern Italy, but is still today
instrumental in the preservation of Friulian enology
such as Ribolla Gialla, Picolit and Pignolo varieties,
the last of which is the estate’s signature grape and
also called the “Barolo of Friuli”. Top marks go to
Vinnai Dell’Abbate Pignolo Riserva, aged 22 months
in barriques, with candidature for further aging of at
least 10 years.
Founded in 1969, Midolini produces approximately
2,000 casks of balsamic vinegar from its 34 Ha of
land in Manzano, Udine. It is considered to be the
largest producer of balsamic vinegar in the world,
and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records
for its production of “Asperum”. This highly regarded
product is made by baking white grape musts which is
then aged for at least 25 years in a variety of wooden
barrels. The Asperum 50 ml sells for 45 euros, and
100 ml. for 75 euros. Be assured, the palate will sing
praises to this sensuous and exquisite product.
In Friuli, ‘roncal’ loosely means “terraced estate on a
hill”. This family owned small estate, with just 20 Ha
of vineyards, prides itself in harmoniously
blending traditional methods and modern
technology to create exceptional wines.
Of note is their Ploe di Stelis, made from
Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
grapes, and aged 5-6 months in oak for a
truly exemplary white wine. Their “Refosco
dal Peduncolo Rosso” is a rich rubyred
colour that teases the palate with hints at
blackcurrants and berries and a lingering
Consorzio Tutela del Ramandolo D.O.C.G
Next time you’re in the mood for relaxation
and meditation, consider opening a bottle
of ‘Ramandolo’ a dessert wine made from
south-facing vines in the towns of Nimis
and Tarcento – land of ancient Celts and
Longobards. Made from the oldest grape
varieties in Friuli, Ramandolo was the region’s
fi rst wine to acquire DOCG designation.
It makes a stimulating accompaniment to
cured ham, smoked trout, foie gras, and
seasoned cheeses, not to mention such
regional desserts as biscuits, Ramandolini,
Guvaba cake and Epiphany tidbits.
With a menu that changes with the seasons,
this high-end restaurant serves mouthwatering
menu items that begin with inspiring
antipasto and pasta dishes, and progresses to a range of meat, fi sh, cheese and dessert
choices. Come with an appetite, as you’ll
want to savour many of the marvelously
prepared fare with wines from their ample
wine list. The restaurant, located in Collalto
di Tarcento, is closed Sunday evening and
Among the many producers attending
the dinner at the restaurant was Pierluigi
Comelli, of Comelli winery. I was interested
to learn more about their products, and had
a chance to sample the intriguing “Ronc
de Madelene Romandolo”, with scents of
orange and dried apricots, that complements
both prosciutto and dried biscuits alike.
The Association Schioppetino di Prepotto
also conducted a special tasting of their
product line, hosted at Vini Grillo winery.
This little-known grape variety (also called
“Ribolla nera” or “Pokalca” ) survived both
political and economic events in a region
that embraces Italian, German and Slavic
agricultural traditions. Its enticing bouquet
of berries and cherries is enhanced with
hints of spice reminiscent of green pepper,
and it lends itself wonderfully to all types of
meat and game dishes. A supple meditation
wine, it possesses all the earmarks for
Our last day in Friuli began with a guided tour
of Cividale Del Friuli, hosted by its mayor
Attilio Vuga. The city, which requested
inclusion in the World Heritage List UNESCO, is an historical treasure trove.
In addition to its monuments, basilica,
churches and other archaeological
points of interest, it is the repository of
art, architectural and cultural records of
the Longobards, a Germanic race that
occupied the Italian peninsula between
568 and 774 A.C.
Azienda Bastianich concluded our visit
to Cividale del Friuli. Founded in 1997, the
28 HA of vineyards are all located in the
Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC area, within two distinct zones. The original vineyard, Brutto/
Premariacco, produces powerful wines thanks to the
warmth of the sea. The second property, located in
Cividale del Friuli, is infl uenced by a north wind and
provides wines of greater aromatic intensity in addition
to the signature ‘minerality’ of all their wines.
The 2005 Vespa Rosso, named after the ever present
wasps attracted to the ripe grapes, is still young and
features a delicate bouquet and strong tannins that
make it perfect for future aging.
Memorable was the 2008 Sauvignon “B”, with aromas
of fresh cut grass and hints of mint and tropical fruit,
leaves a clean mouthfeel that gives way to a lingering
and pleasant fi nish.
NEWS FLASH: Since our visit, Pierluigi Comelli, President of Colli Orientali Consortium and Paolo Comelli, of the Ramandolo Consortium, announced that an accord was reached to unite the two
consortiums into one entity. Once merged, the consortium will encompass 2,300 Ha of vineyards, include 208 associates, and entail a production of 115,000 hectolitres per year. The new consortium will feature three denominations: DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli; DOCG Ramandolo; and DOCG Picolit.