Return to the Vineyard Hotel was welcome as I had missed a few Monday tasting evenings whilst away from Cape Town. I was keen to return for another reason too. Italian wines were being offered, a departure from those usually showcased from the South African vineyards. It was too good a chance to miss, both for a wine enthusiast and student of wine.
Leoni, from the specialist Italian wine importer Nobile Collezione, had brought 4 wines to sample. The Pinot Grigio was dry and minerally with a nice mouth feel and delicate fruity notes. I had tasted a South African one previously at Waverley Hills which I remember to be lighter in body and more zesty than fruity. Look out for more Pinot Grigio as the wine farms seeks to diversify into the uncommon grape cultivars.
The Vigni Bianco is made from the Trebianno grape, which accounts for a third of all white wine produced in Italy. This wine came from the Umbria Region and made from old vines grown tall so that the grapes have to be harvested using ladders. It was floral, almost tropical on the nose and palate. I am sure I had drunk when last in Italy a year ago. It made for a most enjoyable reminder.
Montepulciano, the grape and not the town, stems from the Abruzzo Region in Central Italy. This was a pleasant red wine – perhaps closest to a spicy Merlot – and with a fruity and lightly spiced plum flavour. The tasting ended with the Montefalco Rosso, from the same vineyard as the Vigni Bianco. This was a blend of 3 classic and potent Italian grape varietals: Sangiovese, Barbera and Sagrantino (the latter having one of the highest phenolic tannin of any cultivar). It was very dark in colour, deep ruby, and a heady 15% alcohol content. This was my favourite wine with big cherry flavours, sweet against the powerful tannins.
Overall, the tasting proved as popular as I had expected. Leoni had her work cut out to serve all and to answer the many questions. She would have been much helped with an assistant Vineyard staff member to pour, thereby leaving her free to talk more about the wines. Additionally, this was the first time that I had been to an indoor tasting – presumably as twilight and darkness beckon earlier at this time of year – and the location beside the bar was cramped and awkward.
Nonetheless, and but for these minor irritations, it was a wonderful opportunity to taste and earn about the glorious Italian wines – and at surprisingly good value for money for imported wines too. I shall look forwards to tasting more as my wine studies develop and expand from South Africa to the rest of the World.
Wines tasted (bought *):
2015 Anselmi Guiseppi Luigi Pinot Grigio – R120
2015 Tabarrini Il Padrone Delle Vigni Bianco – R135
2014 Collefrisio Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Filaré – R135
2011 Tabarrini Montefalco Rosso (Sangiovese, Barbera, Sagrantino) – R240