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Italian quality wine and food selected by WineCountry.IT
WineCountry.IT
Extensive online database listing Italian wine producers, exporters, importers and distributors
Italian Wine Hub - Extensive online database listing Italian wine producers, exporters, importers and distributors
Extensive online gallery featuring over 1,000 Italian wine labels
Extensive online gallery featuring over 1,000 Italian wine labels

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Italian Flavor Forum II
Loris Scagliarini – October 27, 2005
Photos by S. Kaplan, B. Solè-March, C. Tessari, L. Scagliarini

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 was an unusual beautiful sunny day for this time of year in San Francisco. The sky was blue and there was no trace of the fog that had enveloped the Bay the day before and would the day after, to hide the fabolous view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz or the Marin Headlands across the bridge. We took it as a very good omen for the Italian Flavor Forum II.

About 120 wine and food professionals participated in the event, held in the Commodore Room at the Golden Gate Yacht Club, perched above the water of the the Bay on one side and the San Francisco Marina and city skyline on the other. Overall, the over 40 Italian quality wines and the select regional food products presented turned out to be truly appreciated.

The Gelatina di Brunello di Montalcino, a fabulous ruby-hued jelly condiment produced by Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" from the noble Brunello di Montalcino wine, introduced for the first time in the US on the occasion of the Premiere of the Italian Flavor Forum, reconfirmed its popularity product this time around as well.

Other products that met with the favor of the guests include the small panettone, the balsamic vinegar and the Nocino (walnut liquor) from Modena, the excellent grappas and the gourmet Caffè del Principe coffee, presented and distributed by Mary Wells, exclusive US agent.

Mary Wells

Below we provide the data gathered from the feedback forms that we distributed to our guests, who kindly filled them using a 100-point scale evaluation for the products tasted.

Wine Tasting Report

Wine Name Producer Region Type Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Recioto di Soave DOCG "Tre Colli" Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto Dessert 99 85 92
Brunello di Montalcino La Togata Riserva 1999 DOCG Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 100 70
87.5
Brunello di Montalcino 1999 "La Pescaia" DOCG Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany Red 95 75 87.1
Occhini Rosso IGT Toscana Fattoria "La Striscia" Tuscany Red 96 69
86.72
Brunello di Montalcino La Togata 2000 DOCG Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 95 65
86.63
Cantina del Farnio, Montalbano Chianti DOCG Azienda Agricola Betti Tuscany Red 90 69
86.63
Thesan Riserva DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany Red 95 80
86.15
Prunaio DOC Azienda Agricola Betti Tuscany Red 92 78
86
Gorio – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Spumante Extra Dry Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto Sparkling White 99 75
85.65
Cannonau di Sardegna DOC – La Marina Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia Red 89 85
85.5
Barbera d’Asti DOC Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont Red 95 75
85.5
Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2003 Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 93 75
84.4
Ponte Ros – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Frizzante Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto Sparkling White 92 72
84.23
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore "Vigna del Carlinet" Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont Red 89 80
84.2
Poventa DOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany Red 95 69
84.17
Soave Classico DOC "Le Bine Longhe" Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto White 89 80 83.67
Monferrato DOC "Infinito" Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont Red 94 75
83.38
Chianti Classico Piegaia DOC Fattoria Villa Calcinaia Tuscany Red 92 70
83.38
Vignamurata Merlot – Sovana Superiore DOC Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany Red 90 60
83.20
Brunello di Montalcino 2000 "La Pescaia" DOCG Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany Red 90 79 82.43
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore "Cascina Perno" Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont Red 94 76
82.15
Rosso di Montalcino  DOC Ridolfi – I Mercatali Tuscany Red 92 70
81.13
Morello DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany Red 90 68
81
Vignamurata Sangiovese – Sovana Superiore DOC Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany Red 90 60
80.8
Pinot Grigio DOC Collio Scolaris Vini S.R.L. Friuli - Venezia Giulia White 89 65 80.5
Spumante Brut Aldobrandesco Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany Sparkling White 88 70
80.45
Vin Santo di Sovana Gregorio Vii – Vino Liquoroso Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany Dessert 85 78
80
Merlot DOC Collio Scolaris Vini S.R.L. Friuli - Venezia Giulia Red 89 70 79.8
Bianco di Pitigliano DOC Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany White 89 75 79.25
Vermentino – Bianco Toscano IGT Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany White 89 60
79.2
Vermentino di Sardegna DOC - La Pagliastra Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia White 90 65 79.13
Arrone DOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany Red 85 73
79
Chianti Bernardino DOC 2004 Fattoria `"La Striscia" Tuscany Red 90 70
78.6
Rosso di Montalcino "La Pescaia" DOCG 2003 Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany Red 88 70
78.2
Rosso Rubino 2004 Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany Red 88 65
78
Soave Classico DOC Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto White 82 75 78
Tocai DOC Collio Scolaris Vini S.R.L. Friuli - Venezia Giulia White 94 65 77.6
Paggino DOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany White 85 55
73.89
Bianco DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany White 84 65
72.25
Aurora DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany White 80 60
70
Rosso DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany Red 79 60
69.67
Barengo IGT Toscana Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 76 60
68.67

As expected, the red wines received in general higher evaluations than the whites, as the average US wine drinker usually has a strong preference for powerful, jammy, red wines.

Possibly because of this, sometimes there is a huge difference in the taste of wine drinkers familiar with European wines, or anyway accustomed to non-American wines, compared to those who usually drink US-made wines. This can be appreciated observing the gap in the point scored by the same wine during the event. The Brunello di Montalcino La Togata Riserva 1999 DOCG, for instance, scored several perfect 100s on one end, but received points as low as 70 as well, which dropped the average score to 84.9, below the 92 points average scored by the Recioto di Soave DOCG "Tre Colli" by the Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I , a delightful dessert wine that was the true revelation of the show.

John Dawdy

The Brunello di Montalcino La Togata 2000 DOCG registered a 30-point gap as well (95-65, average 86.63), as did the Vignamurata Merlot – Sovana Superiore DOC (90-60, average 83.2), and the Vignamurata Sangiovese – Sovana Superiore DOC (90-60, average 80.8).

Among the white wines that marked huge gaps between the maximum and minimum score, there were the Vermentino – Bianco Toscano IGT by Cantina di Pitigliano (89-60, average 79.2), the Scolaris Vini S.R.L.'s Tocai DOC Collio (94-65, average 77.6), and the Paggino DOC Valdichiana by Azienda Agricola Buccelletti (85-55, average 73.89).

Few wines registered a relatively smaller gap, such as the Cannonau di Sardegna DOC – La Marina by the Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia which, with just a four-point gap between the highest and lowest scores (89-85, average 85.5) was unanimously appreciated. T•E•S•S•A•R•I's Soave Classico DOC (seven-point gap, 82-75, average 78) and Soave Classico DOC "Le Bine Longhe" (nine-point gap, 89-80, average 83.67), as well as the Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore "Vigna del Carlinet" by Poderi Rosso Giovanni (nine-point gap, 89-80, average 84.2), registered relative consensus.

Italian Flavor Forum II

Another surprise was the lowest average scored by the Super Tuscan Barengo IGT Toscana 2003 by Tenuta Carlina S.a.s., just 68.67, with the maximum score a low 76 points, lower than the average 84.2 points scored at the previous Italian Flavor Forum, in May 2005.

Finally, a (not so) funny note.

Unfortunately, two wines from the Cantina di Pitigliano that were originally listed in our evaluation form, did not arrive. Notwithstanding, one of our guests evaluated all the wines listed, including the missing ones. Not to surprisingly, all the scores in that form where fairly low, starting at 55 points assigned to the Paggino DOC Valdichiana.

Below we provide the scores of the other products introduced at the event.

Product Tasting Report

Spirits Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Nocino Riserva Notte di San Giovanni Acetaia La Tradizione Emilia Romagna 100 95
97.5
Grappa di Brunello di Montalcino Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany 100 85
91.7
Grappa Fiara di Vin Santo Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany 99 89 91.11
Grappa del Fauno da Uve Chardonnay Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany 95 80 90.02
Grappa Caluvia Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany 94 82
89
           
Balsamic Vinegar from Modena Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Capsula Argento (Silver Foil) Acetaia La Tradizione Emilia Romagna 90 75
85.92
Capsula Rame (Copper Foil) Acetaia La Tradizione Emilia Romagna 90 70
84.25
Traditional Extravecchio (aged 25+ years) Acetaia Malagoli Daniele Emilia Romagna 100 95
99.1
Traditional Affinato (aged 12 years minimum) Acetaia Malagoli Daniele Emilia Romagna 100 92
98.2
           
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Olivolo – Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil IGP Toscana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany 100 84
91.2
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil DOP Dauno "Sub Appennino" Azienda Agricola Masseriola Apulia 96 73
85.1
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany 94 70
84.9
Extra Virgin Olive Oil IGP Toscana Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany 90 73
84.6
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Monte Tolla Azienda Agricola Dessole Sardinia 97 65
83.84
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Azienda Agricola Masseriola Apulia 90 70
82.44
           
Gelatina di Brunello di Montalcino Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Jelly Condiment made with Brunello di Montalcino wine Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany 100 80
91.5
           
Dessert Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Small Panettone 'Buono & Sano' (Good and Heltful) Quality Bio s.a.s. Friuli - Venezia Giulia 100 90
95
           
Gourmet Coffee Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Caffè del Principe - Italian Roast Caffè del Principe s.r.l. Liguria 99 85
95

Though there are substantial differences between the top and bottom evaluation of the products listed above, the gaps are noticeably smaller that the ones observed for the wines.

Italian Flavor Forum II

The typical walnut liqueur from Modena, Nocino Riserva Notte di San Giovanni, distributed by the Acetaia La Tradizione, scored fairly evenly from perfect 100s to 95, averaging 97.5 points. The Grappa di Brunello di Montalcino by the Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia", scored some perfect 100s as well, but some lower evaluations lowered the average to 91.5 points. The other grappas fared pretty well to, with average scores ranging from 89 to 91.11.

The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena aged over 25 years, or Extravecchio Classico (Classic Extra Old), average score is 99.1 (high 100, low 95 points), and the Affinato type (Refined, aged for at least 12 years), scored an average of 98.2 with the top evaluations at 100 and the lowest at 92 points. The two other balsamic vinegars, which are not made according to the traditional method and are aged from several months to about one year, scored fairly well too.

Photo group
From left: Giovanni Zini, Italian Wine Exporter, Palazzo Rosso; Brigit Solè-March, Senior Editor, English, WineCountry.IT; Loris Scagliarini, President, WineCountry.IT; Cristo Lepori, General Manager of Sales, Italy, WineCountry.IT; Cornelia Tessari, Co-owner of Azienda Agricola Tessari; John Dawdy, Vice President, WineCountry.IT.

Two new products presented at the Italian Flavor Forum II, the totally organic small Panettone by Quality Bio and the gourmet coffee Caffè del Principe - Italian Roast, both averaged 95 points.

Blind Tasting

The face-off of three Italian and three California red wines, judged by three Italian and three US enogastronomy professionals, saw the Italian wines taking the first, third and fifth place. The wines were of simila price range ($15-$30) and,in the case of the California wines, produced from Italian vines and / or by winemakers of Italian descent.

Wine Producer
Region
Vintage
Points
Occhini Rosso IGT Toscana Fattoria "La Striscia"
Tuscany
2003
83.17
Cabernet Sauvignon Mastantuono Winery
Paso Robles
2001
79.83
Monferrato DOC "Infinito" Poderi Rosso Giovanni
Piedmont
2001
76.34
Bambino Grande (Big Child) Fratelli Perata
Paso Robles
2000
74.34
Rosso di Montalcino DOC Ridolfi – I Mercatali
Tuscany
2003
73.67
Ca' Del Solo Nebbiolo Bonny Doon Vineyard
Santa Cruz
2003
72

The Blind Tasting Jury
The Blind Tasting Jury – from left (above), from right (below):
Cristo Lepori, Giovanni Zini, Marco Bertaccini, David P. Jones, Bob Colombo  e Cornelia Tessari.
The Blind Tasting Jury

The Judges  
Cornelia Tessari Wine Producer, Azienda Agricola Tessari (Italy)
Giovanni Zini Wine Exporter, Palazzo Rosso (Italy)
Cristo Lepori General Manager of Sales, WineCountry.IT (Italy)
David P. Jones Writer & Consultant, Wine Works (US)
Marco Bertaccini Enologist, Gattopardo Wines (US)
Bob Colombo Restauranteurs, Capellini Restaurant (US)

 
Tessari
Zini
Lepori
Jones
Bertaccini
Colombo
Occhini Rosso IGT Toscana
90
80
90
89
60
90
Cabernet Sauvignon
80
70
80
89
70
90
Monferrato DOC "Infinito"
90
70
80
88
50
80
Bambino Grande (Big Child)
90
60
60
86
70
80
Rosso di Montalcino DOC
77
80
60
89
50
90
Ca' Del Solo Nebbiolo
76
70
70
82
60
70

That's all for now. The appointment for the next Italian Flavor Forum III is coming in early 2006.




 
     
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