The second tasting of the Surbiton Wine Society took place on Zoom on 21st February and we took in a whistlestop tour of the fabulous wines of Italy.
Italy has to be my favourite wine producing nation thanks to the extraordinary diversity of wine style, the interlinking of gastronomy and the amazingly warm welcome that you receive from most Italians.
Combined with lots of stunning scenery, Italy is always a first choice destination.
We kicked off with a couple of well known wines from the Veneto – Italy’s biggest producing wine region. Soave is a very important and well known name yet has suffered from quality issues in the past.
The Terre di Monteforte example was bright and fresh with delicate floral aromatics and a delightfully crisp palate. This was followed by a single vineyard Pinot Grigio from the Valpantena cooperative and showed just how decent Pinot Grigio should be.
White flowers with a hint of stonefruit on the nose followed by a vibrant dry palate.
We wended our way south to the lesser known Marche region on the central eastern coast. The Verdicchio grape shines brightly here and we tasted a great example from the historic Villa Bucci estate.
Our final white was a Zibibbo from Sicily. Also known as Muscat of Alexandria, it is one of the few grapes that actually smells grapey! This was super fresh, with an oily richness and intensity of fresh citric flavours.
It was then back north to the Veneto and an exploration of the lesser known Ripasso style of Valpolicella. The heart of Valpolicella is to be found just north of Verona and this fuller bodied style is made by letting a normal Valpolicella sit on the dried grape skins used to make Amarone. The resultant style is richer and more full bodied and Cortegiara example made by the renowned Allegrini family was a top class example.
South again, this time to Puglia, where we tasted an excellent Primitivo from the Zolla estate. Rich, ripe and full bodied with just a hint of residual sugar.
Our final red was a magnificent Brunello di Montalcino from Poggio San Polo in Tuscany, an estate that I have visited many times: it consistently produces fabulous wines. This was intense, youthful and clearly destined for greatness.
We finished off with a delightful sweetie from the Monferrato hills in Piedmont. Loazzolo is a tiny village with stunning views and a great reputation for excellent sweet Moscato. With quite a bit of age, this was still remarkably fresh with fabulous honeyed intensity.
All the wines are listed in the wines we have tasted page.