Apologies about the delay in getting this out there, real life has been getting in the way.
Anyway, we had a great trip to Vinitaly this year, having missed the last couple of years. We really just wanted to meet up again with our existing producers, taste the new vintages and maybe try some new stuff along the way. The first hurdle we had to overcome was to try and convince our suppliers that the sky hasn't completely fallen on our little Ireland and theat there was still business to be done. There was a lot of sympathetic nods of the head, anxious smiles, at times we felt as though we were being comforted at a funeral! The overall insecurity about Ireland as a market does impact on us as importers, however, as more and more suppliers ask for payment in advance - in most cases though, we have been working with them for so long that they know we are reasonably trustworthy! On to the wines....
St. Michael Eppan
For many years now our favourite pitstop for refreshing, aromatic, well-made whites. Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Gewurztraminer all showed terrific purity and clarity. Brilliant wines.
We tried these just to make benchmark against St. Mick and their Pinot Bianco had got a great write up in Decanter. Nice, but not as nice as St. Mick, we thought.
From one end of the country to the other, we were keen to try wines from Puglia as a cheap and cheerful red from Southern Italy was on our wish list. We weren't expecting to nail it in one however, but San Donaci have just launched a new entry level range, with a red, white and rose that all show terrific fruit - perfect house wines - we are very excited about these and they are on the way. The Salice Riserva (old favourite) was great as usual and a new wine - Contrada del Falco - a Malvasia/Negroamaro blend was amazing - silky texture, smooth, fruit bomb style but elegant as well. One of our favourites of the trip and definitely coming in. Great wines, nice people.
This up and coming Slovenian outfit were on the stand of their Italian importer, so it was a good chance to taste the 2010 vintage and wangle some extra stock out of them. Wines were great, especially Sipon and Pinot Gris.
We think these aren't being brought in by O'Brien's any more, so we thought we would try them as we were passing. Rude people and bland wines meant we didn't hang around too long.
My headcold was in full flow here, so my tasting notes aren't worth a damn, but suffice it to say that Paolo and anna Rita were as charming as ever and their wines continue to grow in popularity with our customers. New label for Poggerissi will be a relief to us all!
We usually have to call out to Aldo's house to taste, but he's gone all fancy now with his stand at Vinitaly and his snazzy brochures. His wines continue to get better and better, classic Valpolicella, silky Ripasso and elegant (yes elegant!) Amarone.
La Riva dei Frati
What was supposed to be a quick tasting of prosecco turns out to be a 2 hour msaterclass of prosecco and the new DOCG regulations. FINALLY understand it, loved the DOCG frizzante need to haggle on price...
A quick Pinot Grigio tasting turned out to be a 2 hour masterclass in the white wines of Northerrn Italy - Antonio really opened our eyes with some amazing whites that we hadn't tried before including a sulphites-free Soave as part of the "Freewine" project - more on that another time. Soaves were very good. Didn't taste the Pinot Grigio in the end as we know the 2010 already and it's cracking.
Lovely tasting of the range from these new(to us) producers, really nice proseccos - will definitley consider some of their elegant rose...
This is where it gets scary - massive wines in every way....is it too much?
Didn't have time to taste properly, but we did taste a new Barbera at a very interesting price - will have to come back to it later in the year. Current 2004 Barolo is amazing!
Cantina del Pino
Another new (to us) producer - classic, elegant Piedmont wines. We like very much!
These wines are done by someone we think, so we weren't tasting with any degree of intent, we just wanted to try some Chianti Classico. These are excellent wines, great examples of Chianti.
That's it! Didn't make it to Bellavista for our usual tasting of wines we love, but can't sell!!