It seems only yesterday that Kent and I were enjoying a glass of Veneto wine near a tiny vineyard on the small Venetian lagoon island of Torcello… As if they somehow knew, while we were dreaming about our next Italy trip; we were kindly invited by Loredana Di Nunzio from the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) to the Simply Italian Great Wines – Australia Tour 2019 event. An opportunity to not only learn about and experience Italian wines from different regions, but to also meet the wine makers behind them.
This trade and press wine showcase took place in three parts; a six-hour stretch of activities including two unique Masterclasses and its signature walk-around wine tasting. Arriving at the Intercontinental Sydney venue on the 25th of November, Kent and I were warmly greeted by Mirella Paci from ITA; received our name tags and literature then soon took our Masterclass places in the Heritage Room.
‘Traceability and Regulation of Italian D.O.C. Wines’
Staged by International Exhibition Management (IEM) and presented by Federdoc. We had as our guides and hosts Peter Bourne (AKA The Wine Man), together with Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, President of Federdoc guided us through our first Masterclass…
Each participant’s place was set with five wine glasses, each stood on a place mat with a wine’s name and a QR code. Mr. Curbastro, President of Federdoc gave us a brief history of the Italian system of wine origin, ‘It traces back to the Roman times..’ ‘Even back then, people knew they would rather pay for a wine from here rather than there. That in a way marked the beginning of the D.O.C. which stands for “Denominazione di Origine Controllata”, in other words, Registered Designation of Origin wines..’ ‘They are produced in a bordered land area with precise chemical and organoleptic features, and they are determined in the manufacturing rules beforehand…’ After learning about the ins and outs, the wine pyramid of D.O.C.; one by one, each glass received its correct sample of wine for tasting. These wines were:
Franciacorta D.O.C.G. Brut N.V., Franciacorta D.O.C.G. Rosé Brut N.V.; Curtefranca D.O.C. Rosso Vigna Santella del Gröm 2013, Sebino I.G.T. Pinot Nero 2011 and Rontana – Sangiovese Colli di Faenza D.O.C. 2016.
Well, is 11.30am a bit early for wine? There was some bread for clearing the palate (or perhaps just a bite to snack on..); there’s a paper cup for each to spit out the wine (yes like a pro). I’m going to put my hand up and pick my personal favourite, which was the Franciacorta Rosé. A quick lesson from Peter The Wine Man, that ‘A good Rosé should taste like a light red; not a dirty white!’ Duly noted, exactly that. This pale salmon colour ‘light red’ has a flavour of a crisp apple and is subtle in its acidity. On a summer day with antipasto or seafood dishes, it couldn’t get any better!
‘Experience The Iconic Wines of the Grandi Marchi, Italy’s Premium Brands’
After a lunch break, where we happily caught up with lovely Loredana; the registered attendees (including us) headed back into the Heritage Room for our second Masterclass of the day.
This Masterclass was presented by Istituto del Vino Italiano di Qualità Grandi Marchi. Hosted by The Wine Man Peter Bourne and speakers from most of the six wineries including: Carpene – Veneto, Col D’Orcia – Tuscany; Jermann – Friuli Venezia Giulia, Masi – Veneto; Michele Chiarlo – Piedmont and Umani Ronchi – Marches. Names of these six wines we tasted were: 1924 Prosecco (Carpene Malvolti), Where Dreams Have No End (Jermann); Vecchie Vigne 2017 (Umani Ronchi), Cerequio (Michele Chiarlo); Col D’Orcia 2014 (Col D’Orcia) and Campolongo Di Torbe (Masi).
Besides Prosecco which is a style I’m familiar with, the wine named ‘Where Dreams Have No End’ (don’t you just love it!) from Jermann also grabbed my attention. Alojz Felix Jermann, the younger son of the winemaker Silvio Jermann shared with us his personal story about ‘escaping’ to Noosa, Australia in the past so ‘my father could not control me’. He also referred to that 3% ‘other white wine of the area’ adds to the 97% Chardonnay as ‘our family recipe’ – nice! By the way, this wine was very refreshing, definitely a summer dream for me! The Campolongo Di Torbe red wine from Masi also left a memorable impression on both Kent and I. It was rich, intense aromas of black berry, pepper and syrup. We loved it.
Trade & Press Walk-Around Tasting
Next came the trade part of the wine show, the signature walk-around tasting experience. This was a rare opportunity to meet some of Italy’s finest producers and to sample a superb selection of over 100 wines – all under one roof! Many of these wines had never been seen in Australia until now.
Participating wineries include: Agriment – Piedmont, Umbria, Brandland – Tuscany, Umbria, Piedmont, Campania, Veneto; Ca’ Rugate – Veneto, Consorzio Terre Nostre – Veneto; International Wine Group – Veneto, Istituto Marchigiano Di Tutela Vini – Marche; Le Rughe – Veneto, Tenute 2 Castelli – Veneto; Tenute Rubino – Puglia, Villa Mattielli – Veneto; Ricci Curbastro – Lombardia and of course, the wineries from our first and second Masterclasses were all here.
Although it’s a trade fair for industry and media, the atmosphere was rather social. I congratulated Paola De Faveri, Trade Commissioner of the ITA for organising this fantastic event. The sun-filled Treasury Room was full of Italian wine lovers, buyers and experts; this was a time for network and feedback, meeting and chatting with some of Italy’s exceptional wine makers. Or, to ignore the tasting etiquette of the silver bucket, and simply indulge in a glass of great Italian wine…