What a difference a year makes. Remember the Slow Wine/VInitaly tasting debacle a year ago? Maybe it was due to the new venue, or learnings from last year, or, more likely, the fact that this was the industry, not consumer tasting, but this year's event was spectacular.
As a quick refesher, Slow Wine is part of the Slow Food Movement, an international organization the promotes clean, affordable and accesible food to all while preserving the traditions of the region and culture. Local and organic practices play a large part in their philosophy and the group, which started in Italy, now has global reach.
The day started with a seminar on the aromas of prosecco. It was simply illustrated with the key aromatics in glasses. A rather basic lesson but still entertaining.
Then, onto the tasting.
The highlight of the event came at the very beginning. One of my favorite producers, Marchesi di Gresy, whom I visited on my trip to Piedmont, and greatly influenced my passion for wine, was present at the event. Even more exciting? Jeff, the cellar master who guided us through the tastings all those years ago, was at the table. So many memories came back to me and I felt my passion reignited once again.
Of course, the wines were spectacular. He featured Barbaresco Camp Gros 2009, Barbaresco Gaiun 2008, and Barbaresco Martinenga 2010. All were elegant, balanced and finely structured.
I primarily focused on the Piedmont wines as I wanted to delve even deeper into this favorite region. Much was tasted, much was noted, but these below are the other best in shows:
La Spinetta Barolo Campe, Nebbiolo, 2009
Plums smoked with ash. Aromatic violets. Tannins. Acid. Structure. Simply gorgeous.
Contratto Milliesimato 2009
This estate is actually part of the La Spinetta portfolio and produces sparkling wines. This pinot nero/chardonnnay blend showcased pear, lemon, rose and a bit of buttered toast. Very fresh, very crisp.
Contratto For England Rose 2008
This 100% pinot nero was a very pretty sparkling rose option. Sweet cherry, strawberry and a hint of rose came through this berry-forward sparkler.
Casanova della Spinetta Sezzana 2004
La Spinetta also owns property in Tuscany and creates Sangiovese-based wines from these vineyards. The single-varietal Sangiovese was ripe with black cherry, plum and sweet baking spices.
La Gironda Barbera D'Asti La Lippa 2012
An easy-drinking option, this accessible Barbera was a bushel of mixed berries on the nose and the palate also oozed the blueberry, raspberry and blackberry fruits. Quite a bit of earth also came through on this moderately acidic sipper.
Osvaldo Viberti Langhe Nascetta 2012
Nascetta, which is actually another name for Barbera, burst with overripe berries, freshly laid soil and wafts of mocha.
Osvaldo Viberti Barolo 2007
Rich and round, everything one could ask for in a Barolo.
Anna Maria Abbona Dogliani Superiore Majoli 2011
This dolcetto started with raspberry and strawberry but some baking spices and mocha gave it a little depth and intrigue.
Keep tasting, friends...