Discover Italian wines off the beaten path

2018/05/16 - Written by Marco Giovanetti
Discover Italian wines off the beaten path
Discover Italian wines off the beaten path
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It is no secret that Canadians like Italian wines. According to the Canadian Vintners Association, the market value of Italian wine imports for the whole Canada was $473,753,672 million or 21.24% of total imports. 

However, I ask myself the following question. Is Italy well represented in the SAQ catalog?. The answer is yes and no. By a quick browsing, you will find that a lot  of these wines represent the biggest or the most well known producers. I am not saying it is bad since you can also find some beautiful wines from a big producer. However, if you want to discover some exciting artisanal producers you must turn to the private import market. 

About two weeks ago, I attended the Raspipav spring wine festival where I had chance to taste wines available only in the private import market. Although smaller in size than the fall edition, I found some really exciting wine gems that you would never find in the SAQ. What I mean here is natural and orange wines.

If you are like me, you may catalog these wines as being the hipster type. If you are looking for a definition, this quote from the article “ How do you spot a hipster wine? “ by Dave Williams in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, could help out:

“ Generally made by a one- or few-person band, hipster wines are in part defined by what they are not: the high-alcohol, over-ripe and oaky or the blandly industrial fare that were summed up by American critic Jon Bonné as “Big Flavour”. They will probably use some of the following techniques in their production: early harvesting to preserve acidity and nerve; the use of neutral containers, such as small egg-shaped concrete tanks or clay amphorae, rather than toasted oak barriques. The fermentation is with the whole bunches of grapes (including stems) rather than just berries in red winemaking, to bring greater complexity and elegance. The extended contact with the skins in white wines is to bring more grip and depth. There may be some playing around with expectations of color. Whites and orange wines may be tannic.  Reds can be light, pale and high in acid.”

However, you do not need to be a hipster to enjoy Italian natural wines. Simply, If you are the kind of drinker that is looking for new sensations and vibrant these are the wines that you should be looking to explore. Go ahead and take the leap foward and don’t let that crowd intimidate you. 

In the following weeks, I will be dedicating some  time at discover some of these artisanal wines that you definitely should try during the summer. This is the first article so keep tuned!!

Ciao a tutti!! 

Private Import wines at The Raspipav festival:

Whites:

Il Peraccio Vino Bianco Toscano 2016 ( Private Import, $29.25/Case of 6)

Contact: Linda Susnik, Agence Vinealis ( 514-576-7206) or www.vinealis.qc.ca

A lovely Trebbiano aged in amphora displaying notes of green cantaloupe rind with soft earth notes and bruised MacIntosh apples. Harmonious with a good palate length and very easy to drink.

Oltretorrente Colli Tortonesi DOC Timorasso 2015 ( Private Import, $37.73/Case of 6)

Contact: Omar Pengue, Agence Bacchus 76 ( 514-802-7627) or www.bacchus76.com 

A beautiful original white wine from an autochthonous Piedmontese variety Timorasso. A very exciting and original nose displaying white pepper, nutmeg with grapefruit and bitter herbs such as quinine. On the mouth, it is just out of this world. Structured and long with a great acidity. A must try wine. 

Le Due Terre Friuli Colli Orientali DOC "Sacrisassi Bianco 2015 ( Private Import, $56.86/Case of 6)

Contact: Omar Pengue, Agence Bacchus 76 ( 514-802-7627) or www.bacchus76.com

This blend of Friulano and Ribolla Gialla has a fascinating nose that exhibits notes of silex, and petrol with dry apricots and other white orchard fruit. On the palate, the wine unfolds very gracefully maintaining balance between acidity and ripeness. Retro nasal flavors bring to mind honey and peach preserves with a great mineral finish.

Rosés and sparkling wines:

Lambrusco di Sorbara rosato secco 'Radice' 2016 ( Private Import, $23.55/Case of 6)

Contact: Linda Susnik, Agence Vinealis ( 514-576-7206) or www.vinealis.qc.ca

An irresistible nose of field berries with subtle nuances of violets. On the mouth, it is very refreshing and digest with a nice effervescence. Buy by the case and make it your official Italian sparkling for this summer.

Reds:

Monte dall’Ora Camporenzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2014 ( Private Import, $35.35/Case of 6)

Contact: Steve Beauséjour, Agence Rezin. www.rezin.com

An alluring nose recalling warm black fruit with oriental spices and touches of balsamic cream with tamed leather. Structured yet fresh and earthy with notes of roasted herbs and coffee candy. It's just an amazing wine and you cannot get nothing like this at the SAQ catalog.

Baricci Rosso di Montalcino Colombaio Montosoli 2015 ( Private Import, $43.50/ Case of 6)

Contact: John Bambara, Agence Bambara Selection. ( http://www.bambaraselection.com/en/)

Enticing notes of fresh violets with hints of cherry, raspberries and plums on the nose. On the mouth, this wine has a great personality and drinkability.

Orange wines:

Gravner Ribolla Gialla 2009

Contact: Omar Pengue, Agence Bacchus 76 ( 514-802-7627) or www.bacchus76.com

To taste a Gravner is a rare opportunity that has to be cherished. On the nose, is completely seduces the drinker with its notes of dried herbs with fresh rosemary, apricot jam and dried yellow flowers. On the mouth, this wine is intense, rich and complex yet very aerial with strong mineral nuances and a long persistence. 

Pinot Grigio, Dario Princic, Friuli, Italy 2013

Contact: Fred Fortin, Agence Boires www.agenceboires.com/

A sexy  natural Pinot Grigio, made with biodynamic principles and without the addition of Sulphur. It has a super complex nose offering aromas of peach, apricot, orange and spice. Rich on the palate yet with the acidity of a  bone dry wine. Amazing depth with a very long finish.

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