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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 IX
Loris Scagliarini – May 20, 2008
Photos by L. Scagliarini

Italian Flavor Forum IX

 

On May 14, 2008, San Francisco, the rest of the Bay Area, and the Sacramento Valley are in the midst of a heat wave which keeps almost some of the expected guests to the invitation-only Italian Flavor Forum IX, at the Museo ItaloAmericano (Italian American Museum), located in the Landmark Building C of Fort Mason, in the heart of the cool San Francisco Marina district, from attending.

That said, the staff of WineCountry.IT had the opportunity to get to know the wine buyers and distributors who visited the show better. In addition, we were honored by the visit of the new Italian Consul General, Fabrizio Marcelli, who recently took office and is responsible for the West Coast consular jurisdiction, which includes an area many times the size of Italy, expanding from California to Alaska, Washington state, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.

We had a long chat about the current state of the import business, which has been hit badly by the drop in value of the dollar, which makes everything imported more expensive, at a time when the US economy is in dire straits.

IFF IX

For the ninth Italian Flavor Forum we decided to change the layout for the wines. Instead of setting the wines in the order in which we would like to serve them, we divided both white and red wines by region and by variety, closing with 21 Sangiovese 100%, or Sangiovese-based wines. This way the guests have the opportunity to compare wines made with the same grapes, whose characteristics are affected by the terroir, environment, and winemaking techniques.

Italian Flavor Forum IX - Azienda Agricola Barollo
Azienda Agricola Barollo, guest of honor of the show, was brought to the Italian Flavor Forum IX
by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West, of Los Angeles, CA

First of all, the first table after checking in features the Azienda Agricola Barollo, from Treviso, in the North Eastern Veneto region of Italy, who presented four white wines: one Chardonnay DOC Piave, two Chardonnay IGT Veneto (Frater White and Vintage Zero), one Pinot Grigio IGT delle Venezie, and two red wines: a 100% Merlot and one Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon blend called Frater Red IGT Veneto.

Italian Flavor Forum IX
Two sparkling Proseccos and 17 white wines followed the opening by Barollo

Following the Azienda Agricola Barollo we presented two varieties of Prosecco, the Brut and Extra Dry by Azienda Agricola Malibràn, one sparkling rosé and two sparkling red Lambrusco wines from Azienda Agricola Mauro Zini, 17 white wines from seven different Italian regions, 42 red wines from eight regions and three dessert wines from as many regions.

Italian Flavor Forum IX
One frothy rosè and two frothy red Lambruscos are offered after the whites and before the dry red wines

All together we presented 71 Italian quality boutique wines. The breakdown by region of the wines presented, is the following:

Italian Flavor Forum IX
WineCountry.IT's Cinzia Mandati pours a Primitivo di Manduria using
the Centellino, the amazing top-of-the-bottle decanter made in Tuscany.

We also presented two organic extra virgin olive oils from Apulia and one from Tuscany in addition to balsamic vinegar from Modena from the Emilia Romagna region. Alberto Malvestio, owner of the gelateria (ice cream parlor) Al Mare Gelato in Berkeley, presented vanilla or strawberry gelato (Italian for ice cream) with 32-year old traditional balsamic vinegar from my private stock, and Fior di Latte gelato with organic extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt.

Italian Flavor Forum IX - Al Mare Gelateria

Another successful product which scored 95 points average, turned out to be the balsamic vinegar from Modena. This is a new product line of 12-year-old, for which WineCountry.IT is currently conducting a study to give it a marketing name, create the logo, and design the label appositely for the US market.

Italian Flavor Forum IX - Balsamic Vinegar from Modena
The new line of aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, for which WineCountry.IT is currently devising the name, logo and label especially for the US market, to emphasize the true origin and quality of the product, comes in a special, cone-shaped, 250 ml bottle. Please note the thickness of the aged vinegar, as it slides slowly down in the bottle after being poured. This is the result of long years of ageing in small, aromatic wood barrels.
Find out more about how the original balsamic vinegar from Modena is produced.
Download original recipes featuring the balsamic vinegar from Modena.

Of course, we poured all the red wines using the Centellino, the amazing top-of-the-bottle decanter that WineCountry.IT imports from Tuscany.

Italian Flavor Forum IX
Pouring Caliscana Sangiovese wine with the top-of-the-bottle decanter, Centellino

The feedback sheets which were filled in and returned by many guests showed wide appreciation for all products presented, with the exception of one guest who tasted most of the wines, awarding 20 to 60 points to most of them. Amazingly enough, though, the wine-stained feedback form is filled with appreciative notes such as "good", "cool", "OK", so I don't know how to take this. In any case, we added the evaluations as is to calculate the average score.

The Buyers' Feedback

We asked our guests, all wine and food professional buyers, to please judge the products using the following 100-point scale.
  • 95-100 = Excellent
  • 90-94 = Very Good
  • 80-89 = Good
  • 70-79 = Average
  • 50-69 = Not recommended

Italian Flavor Forum IX
Guests compare notes and exchange opinions about our wines

The Best of the Show

Should you be interested in purchasing the products featured in this article, please use the links provided below to contact the right person.

Italian Flavor Forum IX
WineCountry.IT Jenny Snodgrass (left) explains the characteristics of the wines she pours to a client.

Sparkling White Wines

       
Wine Name Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Ruio– Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Spumante Brut 2006 Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto 95 60
85.8
Gorio – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Spumante Extra Dry 2006 Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto 94 60
83.5


Sparkling Red & RosèWines

       
Wine Name Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Rosato Italiano IGT Azienda Agricola Mauro Zini Emilia Romagna 88 30
78.3
Lambrusco Emilia IGT Azienda Agricola Mauro Zini Emilia Romagna 90 31
77.4
Lambrusco Rosso IGT Azienda Agricola Mauro Zini Emilia Romagna 86 30
76.3

Italian Flavor Forum IX


Dry White Wines

       
Wine Name Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Verduzzo DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli 2005 Mosolo Gleni Friuli Venezia Giulia 93 80
89.8
Bianco D'Elisa Vermentino IGT 2007 Toscana Azienda Agricola La Carletta Tuscany 89 75 85.4
Falanghina Pompeiano Bianco IGT 2005 Casa Vinicola Ferraro Campania 87 82 83.8
Tocai Friulano DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli 2005 Mosolo Gleni Friuli Venezia Giulia 90 83
83.8
Frater White IGT Veneto Azienda Agricola Barollo Veneto 88 72 83
Antosa Ansonica IGT 2005 Toscana Azienda Agricola La Carletta Tuscany 89 75 82.4
Soave Classico DOC 2004 Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto 92 50 81.3
Gavi DOCG di Gavi Rovereto VignaVecchia 2004 Castellari Bergaglio Piedmont 92 60 80
Sereno Toscana Bianco IGT 2005 Montalpruno Tuscany 89 60
80
Gavi DOCG di Gavi Rolona 2004 Castellari Bergaglio Piedmont 89 60
79.4
Aurora Monteregio di Massa Marittima DOC 2005 Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany 88 60
79
Fior Fiore Ansonica IGT 2005 Caliscana Tuscany 88 50
78.5
Gavi DOCG di Tassarolo Fornaci 2004 Castellari Bergaglio Piedmont 90 50
78
Pinot Grigio IGT delle Venezie 2006 Azienda Agricola Barollo Veneto 92 51 77.2
Vermentino di Sardegna DOC - La Pagliastra 2004 Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia 89 60 77
Langhe DOC Arneis 2005 Azienda Agricola Gagliardi Piero Emilia Romagna 90 50 76.3
Vintage Zero Veneto IGT 2006 Azienda Agricola Barollo Veneto 89 70 75.2
Solaluce – Monferrato Bianco Classico 2004 Azienda Vitivinicola Colledoro Piedmont 89 40
74
Pinot Grigio DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli 2005 Mosolo Gleni Friuli Venezia Giulia 87 50
73.5
Chardonnay DOC Piave 2005 Azienda Agricola Barollo Veneto 88 60 71.2
Gavi DOCG Pilin 2000 Castellari Bergaglio Piedmont 89 30
70.5

Italian Flavor Forum IX

Dry Red Wines

       
Wine Name Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva 2001 La Togata Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany 96 93 94.3
Brunello di Montalcino La Togata 2002 DOCG Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany 98 87 92
Thesan Riserva 2002 DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany 96 86 90
Montalpruno Toscana IGT SuperTuscan 2003 Montalpruno Tuscany 92 87 89.2
Frater Red IGT Veneto 2006 Azienda Agricola Barollo Veneto 88 72 89
Maclura Toscana IGT SuperTuscan 2003 Terre di Nano Tuscany 92 84
88.6
Il Tempio Maremma Toscana IGT 2002 Azienda Agricola La Carletta Tuscany 95 72 87.5
Occhini  IGT Toscana 2004 Fattoria `"La Striscia" Tuscany 93 75
86.2
Il Canto del Leccio Chianti Riserva DOCG 2004 Montalpruno Tuscany 90 20 85.8
Merlot DOC Piave 2003 Azienda Agricola Barollo Veneto 92 79 85.5
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore Vigna del Carlinet 2003 Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont 92 75
85.2
Poventa DOC Valdichiana 2003 Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany 89 20 84.2
La Carletta Morellino di Scansano DOC 2005 Azienda Agricola La Carletta Tuscany 89 70 83.4
Caliscana Poliphemus 2004 Toscana IGT Caliscana Tuscany 92 60 83
Le Baccanti – Primitivo di Manduria DOC 2004 CantOlio – Cantina ed Oleificio Sociale di Manduria Apulia 86 20
83
Caliscana Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Toscana IGT Caliscana Tuscany 91 65 82.8
Perbacco Maremma IGT 2006 Azienda Agricola La Carletta Tuscany 89 20 82.8
Caliscana Merlot 2004 / 2005 Toscana IGT Caliscana Tuscany 90 70 82.2
Caliscana Occidental 2004 Toscana IGT Caliscana Tuscany 91 60 82.2
Mandonion – Primitivo di Manduria DOC CantOlio – Cantina ed Oleificio Sociale di Manduria Apulia 88 70
82
Merigge 2004 IGT Toscana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany 88 75
82
Azzurreta IGT Toscana 2005 Super Tuscan Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany 90 20 80.8
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore Cascina Perno 2003 Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont 91 79
80.7
Caliscana Sangiovese 2004 / 2005 Toscana IGT Caliscana Tuscany 89 50 80
Barbera d’Asti DOC 2004 Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont 90 60
80
Toscana IGT Sangiovese 2005 Montalpruno Tuscany 87 50 79.6
Sito Romano Dolcetto d'Alba DOC 2004 Tenimenti Marchisio d'Osasca Piedmont 90 50 79.2
Chianti Bernardino DOC 2004 Fattoria `"La Striscia" Tuscany 88 60
78.8
Quercialsale Orcia Rosso DOC 2003 Terre di Nano Tuscany 92 40 77.8
Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC 2005 Casa Vinicola Ferraro Campania 90 30 77.2
Monica di Sardegna DOC 2004 Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia 91 30 76.4
La Marina – Cannonau di Sardegna DOC 2003 Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia 89 50 75.6
Infinito – Monferrato DOC 2003 Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont 91 50
74.6
Laran 2003 DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany 85 40 74.5
Jennos – Cannonau di Sardegna DOC 2004 Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia 87 60 74.3
Chianti dei Colli Senesi DOCG 2006 Terre di Nano Tuscany 88 40
72.2
Cabernet Franc DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli 2005 Mosolo Gleni Friuli Venezia Giulia 86 30
72
Fontetinta Morellino di Scansano DOC 2004 Azienda Agricola La Carletta Tuscany 88 30 71.5
Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli 2005 Mosolo Gleni Friuli Venezia Giulia 86 30
71.5
Aglianico Sannio V.Q.P.R.D. 2005 Vini Iovine s.n.c. Campania 86 30
70.2
Penisola Sorrentina Rosso V.Q.P.R.D. 2005 Vini Iovine s.n.c. Campania 87 30
70

Italian Flavor Forum IX

Dessert Wines

       
Wine Name Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Moscato di Sorso Sennori DOC Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia 90 60
82.6
Recioto di Soave DOCG Tre Colli Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto 82 75
81.5
Abeterno – Primitivo di Manduria 2004 DOC CantOlio Manduria sca Apulia 92 60
80.8

Balsamic Vinegar from Modena

Product Name Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Balsamic Vinegar from Modena (New Product) Emilia Romagna 98 92
95

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Product Name Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Olivolo – Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Organically Grown Olives Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany 94 90
92
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil DOP Dauno Sub-appennino Azienda Agricola Masseriola Apulia 93 90
92
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Azienda Agricola Masseriola Apulia 93 87
90

Centellino

Product Name Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Top-of-the-bottle mini decanter TableTop Tuscany 100 97
98.5

Italian Flavor Forum Ix
Italian Flavor Forums offer the opportunity to socialize, taste, and planning what to purchase.

The Blind Tasting

One Italian and six US experts participated in the blind tasting face-off between three California and three Italian wines.

The California wines:

  1. Barbera 2003, by Kunde Estate
  2. Il Brigante 2002 (Cabernet / Merlot blend), by Castello di Amorosa, produced by Suttui for the new Castello di Amorosa label.
    [Castello di Amorosa is the realization of a dream for Daryl Suttui, owner of the vineyards and popular picnic area at V. Sattui Winery, on Highway 29, between the towns of Rutherford and Saint Helena. The construction of Calistoga's Castello di Amorosa was completed by Paolo Ardito, an old friend of mine from Bologna, Italy.]
  3. Pinot Noir 2001, by Seven Lions Winery

The Italian wines:

  1. Barbera D'asti DOC 2004 Superiore Vigna del Carlinet, By Poderi Rosso Giovanni
  2. Barengo Toscana IGT 2004 (Sangiovese), by Tenuta La Carlina
  3. Il Tempio Toscana IGT 2002, by Azienda agricola La Carletta

The experts who kindly accepted to be part of the jury are Loretta and M. C. Wong, wine buyers, Aaron Luna, wine expert, Nicola Barollo, Italian wine producer, Dominick Sebastiani, wine buyer for Wine Viking, Lisa Grzelak, wine lover, and Walter Vornbrock III, a wine writer and journalist.

Italian Flavor Forum IX - Blind Tasting
Italian Flavor Forum IX - Blind Tasting
Italian Flavor Forum IX - Blind Tasting
The Blind Tasting

The winner turned out to be the Cabernet / Merlot Il Brigante 2002 by Castello di Amorosa with the average score of 7.314 on a ten scale point.

Unfortunately, two of the Italian wines had problems, the Super Tuscan Il Tempio was oxidated, and the Sangiovese Barengo was lightly corked, so it was practically one Italian Barbera facing off three select California wines.

Wine Producer
Region
Overall Score
Il Brigante 2002 Castello di Amorosa
Napa
7.314
Pinot Noir 2001 Seven Lions Winery Mendocino County
7.29
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore Vigna del Carlinet 2003 Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont
7.18
Barbera 2003 Kunde Estate Sonoma
7.08
Barengo Toscan IGT 2005 Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany
4.86
Il Tempio Maremma Toscana IGT 2002 Azienda Agricola La Carletta Tuscany
4.64

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