What a fun, fantastic and frenzied week it was! I am still coming down from the extra sparks of excitement that filled me up this past week during the 38th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival. I tasted delicious wines from wineries I hadn’t heard of, I met interested and interesting consumers, I had a ball working behind the booth at the Valpolicella station and learned a great deal more about the feature country – Italy – and its wine.
Where to start? Well, the wine of course! I had the opportunity to work at the Valpolicella tasting booth with some of my favourite wine friends. The booth was located in an absolutely prime location and we had a constant flow of people. It was so cool to hear how passionate people are about either Ripasso or Amarone wines. I was delighted to pour the 16 well made wines we had on hand to sample…yes – 16 bottles! I came away with a few favourites:
- Domini Veneti ‘Verjago’ Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC 2009 – I have a contact for this so let me know if you are interested. $33.99 + tax per bottle and comes in 6 x 750 ml bottle packs.
- Cesari ‘Ripasso Bosan’ Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore DOC 2010/2011
- Monte del Frà ‘Lena Di Mezzo’ Amarone DOCG 2011
A quick GGG guide to Valpolicella:
Valpolicella is a wine region of the Veneto located in the province of Verona in northern Italy that produces red wine – no white grapes are permitted. Three main grape varieties reign supreme – Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Most often, a blend of these grapes goes into making Valpolicella, Ripasso and Amarone wines. Valpolicella can be quite simple or more complex if it comes from the Classico zone of production. Amarone is a popular wine that usually packs a heavy 15% alcohol punch and is chalk full of chocolate notes. The grapes used for Amarone wines are picked last during harvest and are kept in drying rooms for up to four months so the water evaporates and they start to raisin. The juice is concentrated and contains a higher sugar content which delivers a full bodied, bold flavoured wine. Ripasso is made by taking the leftover pomace of the seeds and skins used to make Amarone and adding it to basic Valpolicella for another maceration which enhances the wine giving it more complexity, tannin and balance – quite delightful and often overlooked. Grab a bottle and experiment next time you are shopping.
I attended three seminars at the festival: Tuscan Trailblazers, Chianti Classico Close-Up and A Roccato Retrospective. I sampled some outstanding ‘Super-Tuscans’ and learned a great deal about Italy’s immense landscape of wine. I will be following up on these seminars with an article for The Alcohol Professor.
I love the vibrancy that comes to Vancouver during the Vancouver International Wine Festival and am delighted that Canada will be the feature country for 2017.