Zach “the shark” Berntein once said, “Now is the time for a nice Italian Meal.” And he was right.
Recently, The Noble Rot hosted an Italian wine tasting event in Johnny Iuzzini’s Williamsburg loft (the same Iuzzini badass chef).
Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine (currently). But just 25 years ago Italy was making wines to eat, not to drink (look: you can’t believe everything on this blog). Well, either way, we explored Tuscany, Abruzzo, Sicily, and the Veneto. The wines we drank:
- Masciarelli Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2008
- Notorius Nero D`Avola 2007
- Villa Pillo Borgoforte Toscana IGT 2007 (Super Tuscan)
- Federico Giuntini A Masseti Selvapiana Rsv Bucer 2004 (Chianti Ruffina Riserva)
- Mazzei Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2003
- Musella Amarone Riserva 2005
We talked Sangiovese and how the grape derived its name from the Latin “Sanguis Jovis” or “The Blood of Jove” and by Jove, I think we got it: Sangiovese is used in wines from Chianti (where the blend must be 85% Sangiovese to be considered Chianti), Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Morellino De Scansano, Brunello, Rosso Di Montalcino and in many Super Tuscans.
And we did take some talk breaks to listen to the non-Italian, French-flare-phenominally talented Marni Rice as she played for us a number of original pieces upon the accordion, hurling us back into the streets of early Paris with Parisians hurrying about with half-eaten baguettes.
But let’s talk, good patriot, about the wine itself: I must rate this wine according to the Connoisseur Rating System (CRS) that I devised one-fine-day walking along the California shoreline.
The Masciarelli: I give this wine a CRS Rating of: 4,000,001 | For you see, the Trebbiano grape is a delight and whoever thinks Pinot Grigio is an indigenous Italian grape, ought to have their Pinto Gris shot off. Look for other Italian white-varietal-bottlings such as: Gavi, Caricante, Insolia, Grecanico, and taste Italy the way it was meant to be tasted, a forkfull of Carbonara in one hand and the Italian flag in the other! Stop buying Pinot Grigio because it’s the only grape you can almost pronounce.
The Notorius Nero D’Avola: I give this wine a CRS Rating of: 7,835 | It was fine, ya know?
The Villo Pillo receives a CRS Rating of: two french hens and a partridge in a pair tree + 5,000,000,000 | this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese was nice and reminded me of acceptable conversations between distant yet familiar relatives.
The Selvapiana garners a CRS Rating of: 87,456,500,000,000,325,532,235,111,111,111,901 | Yum land! This tasty Chianti Ruffina Riserva came from vines planted in 1968 (just before the Paris riots!) and it was plush!
Mazzei Fonterutoli Chianti Classico receives and honorable CRS Rating of: 10 x 3 million | Here’s the deal: this was an atrocious year (2003), however this producer came out on top. The wine did taste burnt, and I imagined Italians crisping under a hot sun in the thick of July without any suntan lotion in sight and the aroma of Agua Lavanda coursing through the countryside. Nevertheless, it put up a good fight.
The Musella Amarone Riserva takes the cake with a CRS Rating of: 100,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,888,888,777,777,666,666,333,021 | And with good reason. With 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Oseleta Perlar aged three years in oak and one year in the bottle the end result is goodness gracious. This Amarone is not as raisin-y as typical Amarones can be, and I missed that, but it was powerful and fruity, and full bodied with a mid-section like a hippo and legs like an Ostrich. And I cooked up that hippo, lemme tell ya.
All in all, we learned a lot about Italy and everyone was granted honorary citizenship. I have to THANK Marcin JM for his fantastic photographs as he captured a wave of Italian-inspired pride, with pristine images and an eye on the prize (prosciutto?) As a big Italian family, we went and ordered a big Italian Meal: pizza from Fornino. I give the pizza a CRS Rating of: fugazzzzzzi!
Some photos from the event taken by Marcin JM: