Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wines from west Veneto presented by an Italian Wine Expert

Wines from areas bordering Lake Garda. This tasting offered an opportunity to learn about wines from west Veneto; a little further afield from the familiar wine areas of Soave and Valpolicella when one talks about the Veneto wine region.

Consortium Il Veneto in un Bicchiere organized this event for the benefit of local wine specialists over here. Our resident Italian wine expert, Chan Wai Xin, was at hand to introduce the wine region and wines.

Chan Wai Xin
I like to highlight here the latest achievement of Wai Xin. He recently was awarded (in Nov 2016) the Italian Wine Expert certification by Vinitaly International Academy (VIA). He is the first from Singapore (and South East Asia as well) to get this award; something wine enthusiasts from this little red dot can be proud of. It’s a rare achievement as at present there are only 6 individuals (worldwide) holding this certification. This certification comes on the back of other wine credentials he holds; like the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and the French Wine Scholar (FWS). He certainly made an ideal speaker for this tasting.

Wines presented during this tasting were produced by a co-operative winery called Cantina Castelnuovo del Garda. It started in 1958 with 11 members and over the years has grown to currently represent more than 250 wine growers from the west Veneto region. The location of viticulture and vinification is near Lake Garda (Italy’s largest lake), a place which offers ample seafood for those residing there. It’s said of Italy that wines produced in a wine region often goes well with local cuisine. Both elements, over generations, evolve to support and complement each other. It was therefore easy to appreciate why the wines introduced during this event seemed ideally suited for seafood cuisine.

Something easy, something light, something fresh

We tasted 3 whites, 1 rose and 2 reds during this event. Most of these wines were aged in stain steel tanks thus retaining freshness and primary fruit elements. Even when oak aging was used, it was for a short period only. Thus these wines displayed freshness, a lively acidity, soft tannins (where the rose and reds were concerned) and a near delicate body; making them easy to approach, food friendly sips. You would want to enjoy these wines (ideally in generous portions and in a relaxed atmosphere) with good food and pleasant company; without going into a rigorous examination of their personalities or evolution in the glass.

Some details of the wines.
Ca Vegar Lugana DOC 2013. A Trebbiano di Lugana wine. Straw yellow in colour with a noticeable fruity aroma and a freshness in palate. A short aging period of 4 months in stainless steel which helps the wine retain its fresh personality. One highlight from Wai Xin during this event was that not all Trebbiano grapes are the same. Jancis Robinson’s book on Wine Grapes highlights a few distinct Trebbiano varietal (a good start if one likes to learn about Trebbiano grapes. Further, the Trebbiano from Lugana has been identified via DNA profiling to be identical to the Verdicchio varietal found in the Marche region. (You can read “Native Wine Grapes of Italy” by Ian D’Agata if you are curious to know the connection between Lugana’s Trebbiano and Marche’s Verdicchio).

Ca Vegar Custoza DOC 2015. A blend this one; comprising of Garganega, Trebbiano Toscano, Trebbianello and Cortese varietals. Straw yellow in colour with 3 months aging in stainless steel tanks. Exhibits mild floral notes in aroma and a freshness in palate. An easy, approachable light bodied wine.

Bosco del Gal Albarell Custoza Superiore DOC 2013. A white blend made using Garganega, Trebbiano Toscana, Trebbianello and Cortese varietals. Aged for 4 months is barrique. Straw yellow colour with vanilla hints in aroma. Wine with some structure in its body. A light-medium bodied wine.

Ca Vegar Bardolino DOC Chiaretto Classico 2015. A rose wine made with Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara varietals. Aged for 3 months in stainless steel tanks. Red cherry notes and a hint of floral aromas. This wine’s appeal is in its delicate body and fresh red fruit primary flavours.

Ca Bardolino Classico DOC 2015. A red wine made with Corvina Veronese, Rodinella and Molinara varietals. Aged 4 months in stainless steel tanks. Ruby red in colour with upfront red berry aromas and violet notes. Palate reveals vibrant, fresh red fruits flavours in a light body.

Bosco del Gal Pra dell Albi Bardolino Classico Superiore DOCG 2015. A red wine with Corvina Veronese, Corvinone and Rondinella varietals. Aged for 6 months in oak casks. Bright red in colour (pinot noir like comes to mind). Aromas of ripe, fresh red cherries and a hint of spice in the background. Palate reveals ripe, warm red fruit flavours with a noticeable structure in its mid-body (though not overly firm).

Though Italian wines are well represented in local wine retail outlets in recent years, its still challenging to lay one's hands on wines from the 'less famous' wine producing areas (at least less familiar to those in this part of the world). I must say it is a good effort on the part of the consortium to reach out to local wine specialists and share with them information on such wine producing areas. It certainly goes toward learning and appreciating a little more about what Italy has to offer.

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