Wednesday, November 2, 2011

VinItaly comes to New York

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend VinItaly in New York City, at the Metropolitan Pavilion.  I'm sure that many of my readers are familiar with VinItaly in Italy.  For those who aren't, VinItaly is a massive, multi-day event that takes place in Verona.  Thousands of producers attend, and many more thousands of wine consumers and business people come to taste.  VinItaly N.Y.C. is a significantly smaller event, spanning over the course of a single day, yet still made very enjoyable by providing a number of clinics and hundreds of Italian wines to chose from.

Provveditore, some of the best
Morellino di Scansano I tasted at
This year, there was a large emphasis placed upon Morellino di Scansano. This was very educational for me, since Morellino di Scansano is a wine made primarily from Sangiovese (at least 85%, but known locally as Morellino), yet from a part of Tuscany that I have not had a chance to thoroughly explore; Scansano, in the Maremma.  What's even more interesting, yet not necessarily to my taste, is that Morellino di Scansano is allowed to be bottled very young, literally in March following the harvest.  As I researched this wine, many of my tasting notes started to make a lot more sense to me, since I felt that almost every bottle I tasted could benefit from a couple years’ worth of age.  However, the wines themselves were very good.  What I enjoyed even more were the Morellino di Scansano Riservas, which are aged at least one year in barrel and another in bottle before release.  You can find a number of my tasting notes of Morellino di Scansano Here.

Donnafugata continues to impress me
The Ben Rye was an easy choice for
my top ten wines.
Another standout was the number of dessert-style wines that simply blew me away.  I know that sweet wines have been out of style for decades now in the United States, but I'm here to say that these wines are worth your attention; they were simply stunning.  From as far south as the island of Pantelleria (2008 Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé) to Verona in the north (2006 Villa Almé Raboso Passito El Rásego), these were some of my highest-scoring wines.

In the end, it was a great tasting, filled with many wines that were new to me and a few that have become repeat favorites.  I've provided my top ten wines of the tasting with notes and scores below.

On to the Wines:

2006 Villa Almé Raboso Passito El Rásego – On the nose, this wine draws you in with a mixture of ripe figs, black cherry, dark chocolate and soy.  The palate was rich and weighty yet beautifully balanced with flavors of sweet cherries, raisins, tobacco and poached figs.  The finish lasts for well over a minute, yet it remains fresh and begs you to take another sip. (94 points)

Villa Alme Website!

2008 Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé - Aromas of candied orange rind in brandy with hints of lemon zest and floral notes rose up from the glass in enveloping waves.  On the palate, this wine showed immense weight, yet it remained elegant and fresh with sweet herbal tea, caramel and citrus flavors.  The finish lasted and lasted for well over a minute and all the while left me with a mouth-watering desirer for another sip.  (94 points)

Donnafugata Website!

2005 Travaglini Gattinara Riserva - The nose showed masses of crushed red berries with mint and tea leaves.  On the palate, it was at first smooth and enveloping before its structure took control and tannins coated the senses.  However, a dense core of red fruits and earth were unmistakable and lasted through the long finish.  This is a wine for the cellar.  I know I’ll be putting some away in mine. (93 points)

Travaglini Website!

2008 Agricola Provveditore Morellino di Scansano Primo Riserva - The nose showed deep, dark red fruits with floral and spice notes.  On the palate, it was first full-bodied and smooth with layers of red fruits and herbs, but it then shut down quickly with a stern, structured finish.  The 2008 Primo needs time and should age beautifully. (93 points)

Agricola Provveditore Website!

2007 Barone di Villagrande Malvasia delle Lipari Passito - The nose showed spicy tropical fruit with lemon and florals.  On the palate, it was medium-to-full-bodied with rich peach flavors.  It was almost unbearable to spit this wine as its wonderful balance was both luxurious, yet fresh on the palate.  The finish was loooong.  Highly enjoyable.  (93 points)

Barone di Villagrande Website!

2006 Tenuta Greppo (Biondi-Santi) Brunello di Montalcino - The nose showed whiffs of brown sugar with dark raspberry fruit and hints of herbs.  On the palate, it showed impeccable balance, with a core of rich red fruit.  The finish was long, yet structured, and promised many years of upward development. (92 points)

Biondi-Santi Website!

2008 Luce La Vite Lucente Toscana IGT - On the nose, I found dark chocolate with cranberry sour patch candy.  On the palate, it showed juicy, spicy red fruit with a full body, which led to a long, long finish.  It was ripe, yet balanced, and very enjoyable. (92 points)

Luce della Vite Website!

2006 Argiolas Turriga Isola dei Nuraghi IGT - The nose showed black raspberry jam with notes of dark chocolate and tobacco leaf.  On the palate, this was elegant and weighty with black fruits and spice.  Rich yet refined, the Turriga is another wine from Argiolas that I’d love to spend more time with. (92 points)

Argiolas Website!

2007 Barone di Villagrande Sciara di Villagrande Sicilia IGT - The nose was savory with mixed berries followed by an aroma of rich, meaty broth and earthy stems.  On the palate, it was smooth and balanced with spicy red fruits and minerals.  A bit of firm structure showed through on the medium-long finish. (92 points)

Barone di Villagrande Website!

2007 Fattoria Le Pupille (Elisabetta Geppetti) Morellino di Scansano Riserva - The nose showed dusty dark chocolate with red fruits and hints of wild herbs.  On the palate, I found tart berries with a firm structured backbone.  There was no doubting the quality of what was in the glass, yet this wine still needs a few more years to strut its stuff.  (91 points)

Fattoria Le Pupille Website!


  1. I'm amazed - make that mortified - at how few comments you get. Your reviews are thorough and dripping with genuine passion for Italian wine. Today I was in a wineshop in Lugano (across the Swiss border but less than an hour's drive from Milan) and they were selling off 1990-1998 vintages for under 20 CHF (around $12) - Carmignano, Gattinara, Ghiaie della Furba and an assortment of Chiantis, all from reputable producers mentioned in Burton Anderson's book on Italian red wines. I'm going to sample them this week-end and if I see that they've aged well then I'll be back for more!

  2. Thank you! I've always pushed to give a good amount of content without putting any fluff out there. I tend to break certain rules of blogging and that may account for lack of comments.

    1 rule I break is "keep it short and sweet". The way i see it, is I can give the reader tangible content, or I can give them a blurb about a single good wine. I'd rather give the reader the full experience.

    2nd rule I break, "post often and regularly so people feel they can always come back for something new" -- However, I refuse to waste the readers time with useless posts. If I don't have something interesting to say, then I'm not going to say anything at all.

    Thanks again.

    As for your find, that sounds amazing. Good luck with the bottles. It's finds like that, which make the hunt worth while.

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