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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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Premiere of the Italian Flavor Forum
Loris Scagliarini– May 30, 2005

As people in the US celebrate the Memorial Day weekend and over 1,000 wineries all over the Italian boot open their doors to the masses for the Cantine Aperte (Open Wineries) event on Sunday, May 29, in Italy, we are compiling the results from the premiere of Italian Flavor Forum, held Wednesday, May 25th in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 
Scagliarini, Palladino, Lepori
 
From Left: Loris Scagliarini, WineCountry.IT President; Dott. Vittorio Palladino from the Commercial Office of San Francisco's Consulate General of Italy; Cristo Lepori, WineCountry.IT Italian Marketing Manager
  Photo by Sheri Montgomery
Couirtesy Marin Magazine
   

We are very pleased with the outcome of the event that drew close to 100 wine professionals to the Drake Room, at Giorgio's Ristorante Italiano in Geenbrae, California, by the water of the San Francisco Bay, just across the Golden Gate Bridge. The wines and specialty products that we presented, generally received warm approval from the guests, many of whom requested to be contacted to work out import and/or distribution deals.

In addition to the wines tasted, importers, distributors, retailers, restauranteurs and wine lovers alike appreciated very much, and showed a commercial interest in the Gelatina di Brunello di Montalcino, the fabulous ruby-hued jelly condiment produced by Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" that was introduced for the first time to the US in this occasion.

Another great entry was the balsamic vinegar from the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele, another new product that will be in distribution starting later this year and was introduced in preview with a vertical tasting, to allow food professionals appreciate the quality of the product at different stages of maturation.

Below please find the data gathered from the simple form that we distributed to all the guests, asking them to please fill in their evaluation for the wines and products tasted based on a 100-point scale. They go from a perfect 100 for the Grappa di Montalcino produced by "La Pescaia", to a still respectable 72.5 scored by the white wine table Colibero Bianco DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima. It is important to keep in mind that, though most who participated in the tasting were wine professionals, the majority have an American palate and are more accustomed to California wines.

Wine Tasting Report

Wine Name Producer Region Type Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Brunello di Montalcino La Togata Riserva DOCG Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 100 79
91.65
Brunello di Montalcino La Togata dei Togati DOCG Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 95 75
88.61
Monferrato DOC "Infinito" Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont Red 96 85
88.41
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore "Vigna del Carlinet" Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont Red 97 80
87.90
Brunello di Montalcino La Togata DOCG Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 98 76
87.55
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore "Cascina Perno" Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont Red 90 80
87.00
Brunello di Montalcino "La Pescaia" DOCG Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Toscana Red 96 76 86.11
Poventa DOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany Red 92 75
85.22
Gorio – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Spumante Extra Dry Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto Sparkling White 94 75
84.94
Thesan Riserva DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany Red 96 75
84.50
Barengo IGT Toscana Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 95 75
84.20
Rosso di Montalcino DOC Tenuta Carlina S.a.s. Tuscany Red 94 60
84.20
Podere Toronta – Cabernet dei Colli Trevigiani IGT Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto Red 95 75
84.08
Rosso di Montalcino "La Pescaia" DOCG Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany Red 90 60
82.10
Prunaio DOC Azienda Agricola Betti Tuscany Red 90 50
81.90
Barbera d’Asti DOC Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont Red 92 60
81.77
Coliberto Rosso DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany Red 95 72
80.60
Cantina del Farnio, Montalbano Chianti DOCG Azienda Agricola Betti Tuscany Red 90 70
80.42
PagginoDOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany White 90 50
79.90
Arrone DOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany Red 89 75
79.78
Ponte Ros – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Frizzante Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto Sparkling White 100 50
79.14
Morello DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany Red 92 70
78.55
Aurora DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany White 95 50
77.86
Colibero Bianco DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany White 95 50
72.50

 
Cristo Lepori, John Dawdi, Loris Scagliarini
 

From left: Cristo Lepori, WineCountry.IT Italian Marketing Manager, John Dawdy, WineCountry.IT Vice President, Loris Scagliarini, WineCountry.IT President

As we at WineCountry.IT already knew, US wine drinkers have a strong preference for red wines, but we also found out that there is a huge difference in the taste of a wine drinker who is already familiar with European wines, or anyway have a palate accustomed to non-American wines, compared to those who have drunk only US-made wines. This can be widely appreciated in wines such as Prunaio, that scored as high as 90 (excellent) and a low 50 (undrinkable). This can also be observed in the scores for the white sparkling wines, with the Ponte Ros – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Frizzante scoring a perfect 100 and a low 50, that is, from "outstanding" to "undrinkable".

We would like to point out though, that the lowest 50- and 60-point scores were assigned by two guests to a large number of wines. Among all the other evaluations, the lowest scores were a few 72s and a handful of 75s (average).

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

Product Tasting Report

Balsamic Vinegar from Modena Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
35 years old Acetaia Malagoli Daniele Emilia Romagna 100 89
95.92
Eight years old Acetaia Malagoli Daniele Emilia Romagna 96 80
91.25
12 years old Acetaia Malagoli Daniele Emilia Romagna 98 80
89.20
Four years old Acetaia Malagoli Daniele Emilia Romagna 96 72
83.60
One year old Acetaia Malagoli Daniele Emilia Romagna 95 70
82.16
           
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+ 20
87.50
Extra Virgin Olive Oil IGP Toscana Fattoria Coliberto Tuscany 97 70
84
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany 97 70
83.44
           
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 200 80
99
           
Grappa Liquor Producer Region Highest Score Lowest Score
Average Score
Grappa di Brunello di Montalcino Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany 100 100
100

 
Italian Flavor Forum - Group photo
 

From Left: Lidia Castellucci of Azienda Agricola Buccelletti, John Dawdy, WineCountry.IT Vice President, Roberta Giaccherini of Azienda Agricola Buccelletti, Francesca Russo, Italian Sommelier, Loris Scagliarini, WineCountry.IT President. First Row: Cristo Lepori, WineCountry.IT Italian Marketing Manager

 
 
Italian Flavor Forum
 

Italian Flavor Forum: a moment of the show

 
 
Cristo Lepori, John Dawdi, Loris Scagliarini
 

From left: Stefano Caccia, co-founder of Project4U, John Dawdy, WineCountry.IT Vice President, Gianluca Grechi co-founder of Project4U, Loris Scagliarini, WineCountry.IT President

 
 
Italian Flavor Forum - Group photo
 

From Left: Roberta Giaccherini and Lidia Castellucci of Azienda Agricola Buccelletti. In the background: Italian Flavor Forum associate, Vail Schaeffer, talking business with a guest.

   

Again, the perhaps uneducated palate of a single taster lowered the average score of the delicious and flavorful, organically produced extra virgin olive oil produced by the Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai to 87.5 by casting a mere 20, whereas most other tasters assigned between 95 and 100 points to it.

The Jelly Condiment made with the noble Brunello di Montalcino wine by the Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" had an almost perfect score, with one taster actually assigning it a 200 and two others a 100+ point on a 100 scale basis. All guests who turned in the form agreed on the quality of the Grappa di Brunello di Montalcino made by the same winery. In fact, the liquor scored a full 100 average points.

Comments

Below, we report some of the most interesting comments:

About the olive oil:
"The olive oils blew me away. They taste like the salad without the lettuce: I've never tasted anything like it."

From the guest who assigned 20 points to the organic extra virgin olive oil:
"Many of these products were nice. Some, however, were unrefined and need more work."

About the Grappa:
"Excellent Grappa, excellent event! Bravo!![sic]"

About the Gelatina di Brunello di Montalcino:
"Wow, it's just delicious on the Taleggio cheese, I keep coming back to the table to make sure my taste buds were not tricked! I look forward to tasting it on grilled red meat as soon as it hits the market."

About the Balsamic Vinegar:
"Muy surprising with strawberries. Excellent!"

Apologies

Finally, we owe an apology to the producers that entered their wines for the blind tasting, especially the US producers. A wine prankster among the guests, thinking to play a funny joke to see just how professional the tasters in the panel were, managed to sneak behind the closed curtains where the tasting glasses had been poured and mix them up. The switch was duly noticed but unfortunately, it was too late to set up the blind tasting all over again.

The US wineries who kindly participated were:

  • Viansa Winery, with the Prindelo 2002, a blend of Primitivo, Zinfandel and Teroldego
  • Ridge Vineyards with Geyserville Zinfandel 2002
  • Cline Winery with Bridgehead Zinfandel 2003

The Italian wines participating were:

  • Azienda Agricola Betti with Prunaio IGT 2003
  • Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" with Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2000
  • Fattorie Coliberto with Thesan Riserva DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima 2001
  • Tenuta Carlina with Brunello di Montalcino La Togata DOCG 2000
  • Azienda Agricola Malibran with Cabernet dei Colli Trevigiani IGT - Podere Toronta

We also thank, and apologize to, the esteemed members of the tasting panel:

  • Lidia Castellucci, Italian wine producer
  • Francesca Russo, Italian sommelier
  • Gina Del Vecchio, US wine consultant
  • Roberta Giaccherini, Italian wine producer
  • Sergio Adami, US wine importer
  • John Konatich, US restauranteur, Tony's Restaurant, Marshall, CA

We look forward to the next event and the next blind tasting. We'll take extra precautions and keep it behind locked doors to ensure that no one other than tasters and the moderator will have access to the glasses at all times.



 
 
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