The Tyrolese are a lovely and talented people who speak both German and Italian. However with the majority of the population being of Austro-Bavarian heritage, I believe you would hear more ‘Ja ja, das ist eine sehr gut wine‘ in your wine travels through the area. Recently Bibemus decided to pay homage to the wines of Trentino-Alto Adige on a chilly Melbourne evening in the warm confines of Bar Di Stasio. While the group did not dress up in Tyrolean costume, I did my best my playing ‘99 Luft Balloons‘ in the background and practicing my favourite Year 7 German phrase ‘Das ist meine hamburger’ and ‘Mein Leiblingsfach ist Deutsch‘ to the poor sod sitting next to me.
On Wednesday 20th March, the Bibemus gang and their fellow Italophiles gathered together to taste a mountain of Barolo from Monforte d’Alba. Fourteen of them, to be precise. Special international guests included Massimo Benevelli of Piero Benevelli wines and Robert Bava and his daughter Francesca from Cocchi Americano.
“Brunello, exceedingly elegant and vibrant, with more complexity than muscle, won my heart.” – Kerin O’Keefe, from ‘Brunello di Montalcino’
Last week I hosted a tasting with Mark Protheroe looking at twenty-two Brunello di Montalcino wines of the 2007 vintage. The aim was to provide a thorough spread of producers to highlight the differences between the unofficial sub-regions of the Montalcino area. Below are some brief tasting notes and detailed information of the tasting, including what I wrote for the tasting booklet. If you do read right until the end, you may come across an interesting character with beady red eyes that some like to refer to as ‘Suckzilla’. You have been warned…
For most of the people who stumble across this blog, the reference in today’s title may be lost. However if you were a young lass like me in the ’90s, you’d be well aware of this ol’ chestnut and the theme song’s tag line, “Say hello to your friends“. It also inspired this:
What is with my infatuation with Brunello di Montalcino of late?
Well there is an event that I am organising with Grossi restaurant’s wine buyer, Mark Protheroe, under the Sommeliers Australia umbrella. We have organised a grand total of twenty-one wines, some of which have come directly from the Brunello Consorzio and are thus unavailable in the country. They all hail from the 2007 vintage and will be available at this one tasting.
During June’s waxing crescent moon and under the watchful eye of team Bibemus, fourteen Italophiles converged in the darkness outside the Carlton Wine Room and craned their necks towards the sparkling night sky.
Together they chanted:
The stars twinkled back at the happy group. Their wish would be granted.
When I came up with the name for this post I had a good, hearty giggle to myself. I know I’m a lame-o, but say “Battlesip” quickly and it sounds like you have a lisp. Hey, come on. I thought it was clever! Small things really do entertain my small mind on a cold and wet wintery evening.
I need to be cautious of what I write on here because even though my nonni (grandparents) do not own the internet or a computer, my dear mother prints off all my posts and reads them out aloud to her elderly audience. Somehow I have not been disowned after all the confessions of my drinking, daydreaming and occasional profanities. So here is hoping that loving feeling they hold deep inside is strong enough to withstand some teasing.
Penfolds Grange is unquestionably Australia’s most famous red wine and has reached celestial heights in terms of adoration and expectation. From its experimental inception in 1951 by winemaker Max Schubert, Grange has been lovingly crafted to shine as a uniquely Australian wine of longevity, power and class.
“Grange’s aesthetic quality and remarkable aging potential is the stuff of legends.”
Andrew Caillard MW
In line with the 20-year celebration of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, an event was arranged that could commemorate the significance of this anniversary. Two bottles each of Penfolds Grange 1971 and 1976 (tested by the clinic in 2011) were obtained from a close friend of the owner of my workplace. The extensive museum Italian wine list was pulled out for perusal. It was like being a kid in a candy store as eight other wines were chosen that hail from Italy which would sit alongside Australia’s most iconic wine. The wines selected are classified in the upper echelon of quality and come from the most respected producers. These include rare wines such as Ceretto Bricco Rocche Barolo Brunate 1990, Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico 1985, Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino Schiena d’Asino 1990, Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella ‘Monte Olmi’ 1991, Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 1997 and even the famous Toscana IGT wine Antinori’s Tignanello 1985 and Bolgheri’s inimitable Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia DOC 1987.
In total, the combined age of these wines is over 200 years. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that I feel privileged to have been able to pour at. Below is a visual diary of the evening with small commentary made as to the condition of the wines.
I once stumbled across a collection of words followed by a gorgeous photograph in a magazine that I used to find quite witty, but which has now fallen to that infuriating level of try-hard.
Hence, I subscribe to it no longer.
I may or may not have written them a letter reading,
Dear off-the-pulse editor of the magazine,
Farewell. You no longer fulfil me.
The point is however, that I believed in the motivational strength of these words so much that I applied it as somewhat of a philosophy for myself to work on in the year 2011 and beyond.
“Get out there. Share your ideas. Find your kinships. Start something new. Two heads are better than one.”
Forgive me Father for I have sinned.
It has been 9295 days since my last confession. I accuse myself of the following sins. Absolve me if you see fit.
Last Wednesday night in a quiet, private room within the Circa The Prince complex, I found myself surrounded by nine much older and wiser gentlemen, where I then proceeded to try the finest white wines that I have ever had the privilege of putting past my lips.
They were not Italian.
They were French.
A week ago on the 27th July 2011, the wonderful Sommeliers Australia association put together a delightful tasting for twenty willing Members at the old Melbourne Wine Room in St Kilda. The tasting was hosted by none other than The Wine Guide’s Dan Sims, with panel members including Speri winemaker Luca Speri, Italian wine importer Matt Paul from Trembath & Taylor and La Donna del Vino. I sat up the front voraciously anticipating the good things to come over the next two hours.
What words do you associate with an Amarone della Valpolicella wine tasting? Let me tell you: Velvety. Voluptuous. Vim. Vibrant. Va va voom! Exaggeration aside, my brain cannot ignore the urge it has to continue that alliteration of the letter ‘v’ by making reference to the script from a scene in the movie, ‘V for Vendetta’. Right here. Right now. Apologies for confusing anybody. Blame my brain.
In view, a humble Vaudevillian Veteran, cast Vicariously as both Victim and Villain by the Vicissitudes of fate. This Visage, no mere Veneer of Vanity, is a Vestige of the Voc populi, now Vacant, Vanished. However, this Valorous Visitation of a bygone Vexation stands Vivified, and has Vowed to Vanquish these Venal and Viulent Vermin Vanguarding Vice and Vouchsafing the Violently Vicious and Voracious Violation of Volition!
The only Verdict is Vengeance- a Vendetta, held as a Votice- not in Vain, for the Value and Veracity of such shall one day Vindicate the Vigilant and the Virtuous. [Chuckling].
Verily, this Vichyssoise of Verbiage Veers most Verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my Very good honor to meet you, and you may call me V.
As spoken in V’s introduction to Evey – V for Vendetta (2006)
Enough of that. Now to the details of the tasting!
Fratelli Speri is located in the the wine zone known famously as Valpolicella within the Veneto region of north-east Italy. It lies within the province of Verona. Working back that’s the winery (Speri), then the zone (Valpolicella), then the province (Verona), then the region (Veneto). Don’t worry, I get confused too. They make a number of wine styles including Valpolicella, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto (all to be explained later). There is also a casual review of their Speri Valpolicella Vigneto La Roverina DOC 2008 to finish things off. But firstly, here is an excerpt by the Speri family that I enjoyed.
Today I present one of the fathers of Langhe winemaking in Piemonte, Italy – Signor Bruno Giacosa. Some might refer to him as a stubborn man; someone who lived by the mantra of doing what tradition displayed to be best for the wine regardless of what trends dictated should be done to sell more. Clearly this philosophy has boasted well for Mr Giacosa. His wines are long-lived, penetrating, and at times, breathtakingly magical. This post is all about the Giacosa estates, coated in lots of love, with a friendly review of his Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa Dolcetto d’Alba 2007 at the end. Allora, let’s delve into the mind and world of Mr Giacosa!
Ah yes, twas yet again another fantastic session at the Prince Wine Store in Bank Street, South Melbourne.
They held a tasting of eight wines from the meticulous producer Luciano Sandrone in Piemonte. His are wines I have yet to look at in a back-vintage line-up so I was super keen to do this Masterclass with a group of randoms to see what we would be looking at.
The last time I’d seen Sandrone’s wines was back in 2008 at ‘The Greatest Tasting of my Life‘ and more recently in January at the ‘2011 Lorenzo Galli Wine Scholarship-Day 1 Tasting‘. Both times I have looked at his Cannubi Boschis Barolo, which was interesting for me to realise and compare notes back. Either way, he is seemingly an excellent producer and the ability to understand the story behind his production, gradual collection of vineyards and philosophy behind his wines was truly a beautiful opportunity to be able to share.
All in all we were a group of about fifteen…yet again, I was the only female. Why aren’t other women onto this? There’s not that many places you can hang out and drink with just men and not get teased for it!? Meh! Maybe I’ll just keep it my little secret…shhhh 😛
Of course it would be inappropriate had I not made reference to the ‘eloquent’ and oh so lovely Apollonia from the Godfather I, considering the fact this is a Sicilian wine tasting I am about to talk about!
Last week on Wednesday I received a call from one of my places of work, Enoteca Sileno, asking me if I was aware I was working the following night assisting with the Sicilian Association’s Wine Tasting event that would be taking place in the function room. I was not aware, however the manager said I would just need to help close the Retail section downstairs then head upstairs to give them a ‘hand’. To me, that infers pouring wine, or merely helping out in some small, mindless way.
How wrong could I be?!
Well it has taken me an awful long time to get around to this but finally I can rave about a tasting I went to in December 2010 with Michael McNamara at the Prince Wine Store in Bank St, South Melbourne. All the wines are available there. After the free oyster and French Chablis tasting in the store, you could pay $35 and go into the Pod to try Italian goodies! You’d be silly not to, right?
Apparently only six other older gentlemen agreed with my logic.