What to taste at the upcoming Grande Degustation in Montreal?

By Marco Giovanetti

La Grande Degustation 2018 of Montreal will take place on Nov 2 ( 3pm-9pm) and Nov 3 ( 1pm-9pm) at Place Bonaventure and on this edition one of the themes is Pinot Grigio and other wines of Italy.

This week I had the chance to taste the top 5 Italian Pinot Grigios that will be showcased at this prestigious Montreal wine industry event. It was a fantastic opportunity to get reacquainted with the primary characteristics of the variety.

Pinot Grigio is grown throughout Northern Italy, but is most commonly found in Veneto, Umbria, Trentino, Emilia-Romagna, and Friuli. The event was organized by the AQAVBS

According to the region and producer, Pinot Grigios can be  light to medium in body and normally showcasing pear, apple, and nectarine notes with a medium acidity and light mineral notes. In general, I found all these varietals traits at the latest AQAVBS. These are easy drinking whites and will provide a good introduction to the variety to the novice Italian wine drinker attending La Grande Degustation.

The wines tasted are intended to be consumed young.

Tasting Notes: 

The first 4 wines will be available as of early 2019. For information regarding availability, please contact the importer or visit saq.com 

Astoria  Alisia Pinot Grigio DOC Delle Venezie 2017. Represented in Quebec by Selections Oeno. Present at la grande degustation at the stand H21

Spicy with nuances of nutmeg,fresh apricots and khaki fruit. Light to medium body with a soft acidity and retronasal flavors reminiscent of quinine and quince jam.

Piera Martellozzo P.M. Pinot Grigio Terre Magre DOC Friuli 2017. Represented in Quebec by Divin Paradis

Aromas of lemon cream with butterscotch. Medium body with ripe flavors of peach and green apple and balanced finale.

Salvaterra Pinot Grigio Tenute Salvaterra DOC Delle Venezie 2017. Represented in Quebec by Le Grand Cellier

Complex nose bringing to mind diverse tropical fruits such as mango with soft nuances of chamomile and other white flowers. Beautiful acidity and long in the mouth with an everlasting finale. My favorite from the top 5.

Masi Agricola Masianco Pinot Grigio DOC 2017. SAQ # 10439404, $15.70. Represented in Quebec by Authentic Vins et Spiritueux

Pretty nuances of lemon peel, melon and grapefruit. Fresh and easy drinking Pinot Grigio. Best vintage tasted from Masianco yet.

Tenuta La Presa Pinot Grigio San Isidoro DOP Garda 2017. Not represented in Quebec yet 

A pretty nose with many complex mineral and citrus nuances. Balanced, elegant and very harmonious.

What to taste at La Grande Degustation?

An Italian  producer worth tasting at La Grande Degustation is  Tenuta Sassoregale

Tenuta Sassoregale is located  on the eastern part of the broad Ombrone river plain in the municipality of Civitella Paganico, in the province of Grosseto, comprising 38 hectares, of which 30 are planted to vine. The estate specializes in Sangiovese, which comprises the bulk of the stock with the remainder divided between Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are located an elevation of between 100 and 150 metres above sea level.

Sassoregale belongs to the Santa Margherita wine group. This is of the most important Italian wine companies  in Italy with a high level of brand awareness  among Italian wine lovers.

Early this fall, I had to chance to taste two wines of Sassoregale: Their Rosso 2014, a super tuscan blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon is Tuscan by birth with a Bordeaux character alike. Aromas of  bell red pepper, dry cherry complemented by  raspberry sorbet and star anise. Structured and silky in the mid palate with fine tannins. Very long and caressing. Available via private imports. ( Vins Fins, Marguerite Aghaby )

Their  Sangiovese 2016 ( 13690127,$15.60) was a revelation for myself. A Sangiovese with a strong Tuscan character. It is still  quite racy with high strung tannins and a spicy finale. Vibrant with an electric heady finale reminiscent of dried blackcurrants, leather, black hummus and a smoke-dried flower sensation. If you pass by La Grande Degustation you can taste their products  at the stand G31

Another producer not to be missed is Cusumano at the stand G29. Maria Leone, export director of the house will be pouring some of their best  wines with Diego Cusumano including the Alta Rosa Etna Rosso ( 13041961, $25.95). This is a beautiful crafted Nerello Mascalese with a Burgundian spirit

Brunello Lovers will be delighted as well to find the wines of Barbi and Banfi . The Barbi Brunello 2012 is built along the classical style of the appellation. It has wonderful animal notes with nuances of leather, funghi porcini and cedar as well. Long with fine tannins. It has that elusive feeling of Tuscan aristocratic elegance. You may find Banfi products at the stand F21

Banfi will be at the stand H22. Their Brunello di Montalcino 2013 ( SAQ # 10268596, $55.00) is a knockout.  Ruby red colored, medium bodied with subdued black cherry fruits, bright acidity, tones of leather and tobacco leaf with nice silky tannins on the moderate finish.

Piedmonte is well represented as well with the wines of Aurelio Settimo, Bava and Batasiolo. The Nebbiolos of Settimo got high marks in the latest Panoram Italia wine guide. Pass by the stand B21 and you will be delighted by the quality of their Barolos. Bava is on stand E22 while Batasiolo is on stand H20.

These are some of the my essential Italian wine producers. However, they are many more for you to discover. The entry fee  for La Grande Degustation is $18 on site ( $15 presale,  https://lagrandedegustation.tix123.com/). Coupons are sold on site for $1 the coupon.

Enjoy and salute a tutti!!!