Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tasting at Vinitaly N.Y.C. 2012

If you love Italian wine, then you must know of Vinitaly. Vinitaly is a tasting to beat all tastings that takes place in Verona, Italy each year. For days, the entire city becomes a meca for Italian wines. Every shop, every Trattoria and every parking space is filled with wine lovers, journalists and industry people who are in town to sample the thousands of wines that are available.

Last year, I was very happy to hear that Vinitaly had decided to start a tasting tour with stops in a number of major cities, and that New York was one of them. There may not be thousands of wines to taste, but it’s still done in style. With producers from around Italy, some are staple names, but many are still unknown in the United States. This always provides a great opportunity to discover new wines and producers.

And that's exactly what I was able to do this year. From the obscure Rabosa grape in Verona, to Sagrantino and even a taste of the stunning 2008 Elio Grasso Gavarini Vigna Chiniera. This year's Vinitaly event was a joy to attend. I've narrowed down my tasting notes to my top five. These aren't necessarily my top scoring wines, as much as they are the most exciting wines I tasted that day. There's something here for everyone.

Bosco die Cirmilio (Bosco Viticultori)

This Rosé was spell-binding and just the thing that I wanted to have on hand through the summer. Also a new name for me, the Canal Grando Venezia Rosé Raboso hails from the Veneto region of Italy and is made from the obscure Raboso grape, which lends this wine its unique aroma and flavor profile. If you are looking to try it, buy more than one bottle, because it will go fast.

Bosco Viticultori Canal Grando Venezia Rosé Raboso Spumante Dry - The nose was reminiscent of summer days with watermelons, fresh sliced apples and floral undergrowth. On the palate, a refreshing wave of fruits washed over the senses with a hint of sweetness and a perfect dose of refreshing acidity. The hardest thing about tasting this wine is that I just wanted to keep drinking it. (91 points) Company website!

J. Hofstätter

Hofstätter is certainly not a new name to me, but this wine is. From Trentino, Italy, Martin Foradori, of J. Hofstatter makes thrilling earth and mineral-driven wines from a number of native varieties. Their single vineyard Lagrien is a benchmark wine, and the Gerwurtraminer can be magical. However, on this day it was the Pinot Bianco made me take notice.

2011 J. Hofstätter Pinot Bianco – The nose showed under ripe peach, hints of citrus and spring floral notes. On the palate, it was fresh and vibrant with a hint of sweetness and flavors of green apple, sweet spice and inner floral notes. The refreshing finish had a spritz of citrus and remained enjoyable throughout. (92 points) Company Website!

Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro

From Tuscany and with Luca Currado of Vietti as a consultant winemaker, Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro’s lineup of Syrah seems to be getting better with each vintage. The only sad thing about this wine is the price, but for those looking to experience its racy, palate-coating fruits and hedonistic, yet truly Tuscan bouquet, it’s worth every penny.

2008 Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro (Manzano) Syrah Cortona Migliara – The nose was intense with mixed berries and spice, dark chocolate and earthy herbal notes. On the palate, it was aggressive with its concentrated red and black fruits, pepper and teaming acidity that kept it fresh and lively. The finish was long and palate-coating, showing a glimpse of this wine’s structure as the fruit slowly melted away. The Syrah Migliara gave me hope for Italian Syrah. (94 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!


Two producers from Trentino made it into my top five. That must really say something about how this region is really starting to explode. Concilio is a cooperative winery that has a thrilling lineup of whites that I feel fortunate to have tasted through. Their Gerwurtraminer also deserves an honorable mention. These wines walked the tightrope between rich and racy. The end result was nothing short of magic.

2011 Concilio Sauvignon Blanc Trentino Arjent - The nose was striking with aromas of fresh-squeezed lemon, floral perfume and stony minerals. On the palate, it started soft and enveloping yet quickly turned clean and focused as flavors of lemon zest and granny smith apple filled the senses. The finish was lingering yet mouthwatering with lemon and floral notes. This was a great example of Sauvignon Blanc from a northern climate. (92 points) Company Website!


Many years ago, Cesari was one of the first Amarone I tired. Their entry-level bottle is priced very fairly but has never scored very high in my book. However, the Bosan was everything that I love in a glass of Amarone. If you’re in the mood for a racy style of Amarone that still retains its finesse, the Bosan should be right up your alley.

2004 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Bosan – The nose showed black cherries with dark chocolate-covered raisins and a hint of ripe banana. It flowed like velvet across the palate with great balance and flavors of black cherry and bitters that lasted into the long fruity finish. (92 points)

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