A large crowd enjoyed the Italian tasting.

Event: It was standing room only for Wine World’s special Italian tasting as nearly 50 people showed up for the  “Tour d’Italia” tasting Friday night led by   Lisa Brophy, of Grassroots Wines.

Lisa brought 11 wines from 11 different regions of Italy and said she would have brought one from each of the 20 regions, “but they wouldn’t let me,” she added with a laugh as she pointed to Dick and Sally Benjamin, owners of Wine World.

She brought some wines that American drinkers are used to, such as Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, but she also brought some unfamiliar varietals such as Aglianico, Uva de Troia and Nero di Avola. With 1,500 different grape varietals, Italy can be confusing to even the most experienced wine drinkers, but Lisa did a good job explaining the Italian laws, regions and grapes.

Lisa Brophy and Sally Benjamin.

About 1,200 of the varietals are considered indigenous to Italy. Only about one-third of the wine produced is considered fine wine, with the rest often sold without being bottled.

Lisa told the tasters that outside of Italy the United States is the world’s largest consumer of Italian wines. In 2010 Italy moved past France to become the world’s largest wine producer and exporter.

Lisa Brophy

Dick and Sally say “Lisa Brophy is an Italian wine guru and a delightful lady. She’s a knowledgeable, lively, enthusiastic speaker; she welcomes your questions and participation.”

Reglar retail prices for the wines tasted range from about $12 to about $93 per bottle.

Where: Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, SC

e-mail: wineworld@wineworldsc.com.
When: Friday, February 24 2012, 7pm.
Cost: $15. Reservations suggested. $20 at the door provided space is available.

The 11 wines tasted.

Here are the wines presented (click to see more):

  1. Bianca Vigna Prosecco Brut NV
  2. Verdicchio “Macrina” Classico Superiore DOC 2009
  3. Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT 2010
  4. Pinot Bianco Classic Thurner 2010
  5. Poderi Foglia Aglianico 2010
  6. Bottaccia Uva de Troia 2008
  7. Poggionotte Nero di Avola 2009
  8. Parusso Barbera d’Alba DOC “Ornati” 2010
  9. Brunello di Montalcino 2006
  10. Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco “Vigneto Pagliaro” 2004

Here are the detailed wine notes:
Bianca Vigna Prosecco Brut NV
From: Veneto, Italy
Winery: Bianca Vigna

Notes: This was a light, pleasant wine, with lots of fruit. Refreshing.

Verdicchio “Macrina” Classico Superiore DOC 2009
From: Marche, Italy
Winery: Casa Vinicola Gioacchino Garofoli
Year: 2009

Notes:  This is the oldest family-owned winery in the Marche region, and Verdicchio is the predominant white grape in the region.  It has a pleasant aroma and a big flavor that coats your mouth. The wine spends no time in wooden barrels and has a bright, vibrant flavor.

Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT 2010
From: Friuli, Italy
Winery: Scarpetta
Year: 2010

Notes: This was a nice, pleasant wine with good structure and not too much acidity. The taste has good minerality from the soil, which Lisa said was an ancient seabed.

Pinot Bianco Classic Thurner 2010
From: Alto Adige, Italy
Winery: Schreckbichl Colterenzio
Year: 2010

Notes: This wine comes from the mountainous far northeastern part of Italy, where the people speak German as well as Italian. This is a wine you might try when you’re tired of Pinot Grigio. The grapes are from a single vineyard and spend no time in wood. All the fermentation is in stainless steel. This would be a good summer wine, pairing well with shrimp and seafood.

Poderi Foglia Aglianico 2010
From: Campania, Italy
Winery: Poderi Foglia
Year: 2010

Notes: This was an outstanding wine, pleasant, with lots of fruit, but good structure. It is nicely dry, with some hints of coffee flavors. The wine spends a short time on wood. Lisa said the grapes come from vines that are 10-12 years old. The wine will get more complex as the vines age. The younger grapes produce lighter and fruitier wines.

Bottaccia Uva de Troia 2008
From: Puglia, Italy
Winery: Torre Quarto
Year: 2008

Notes: This wine was simple and straightforward, less complex than many of the reds. It would be a nice picnic wine.

Poggionotte Nero di Avola 2009
From: Sicilia
Winery: Poggionotte
Year: 2009

Notes: This pleasant, light, dry wine had a good mouthfeel. It was well-balanced. The wine would pair well with salmon or lean meat.

Parusso Barbera d’Alba DOC “Ornati” 2010
From: Piemonte, Italy
Winery: Parusso
Year: 2010

Notes: The wine producer, Marco Parusso, is the third generation of his family to own the winery. The wines spends six months in large oak barrels. Parusso has gone back to making wine the way it was made 100-200 years ago. This was a very nice wine, with a good mouthfeel and a touch of leather in the taste.

Brunello di Montalcino 2006
From: Toscana, Italy
Winery: Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona
Year: 2006

Notes: This was another good food wine that would pair well with lamb, steak or venison. It spends three years in barrels and one year in the bottle before it is sold.

Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco “Vigneto Pagliaro” 2004
From: Umbria, Italy
Winery: Paolo Bea
Year: 2004

Notes: Lisa said this was her favorite wine of the evening. Grown on hillsides at 1,300 feet elevation, the wine has a big, clean taste. It is from a single vineyard. It undergoes extended fermentation, spending one year in stainless steel, two years in oak and another year in the bottle. They only make 15,000 bottles. It would go well with braised rabbit, roasted chicken and lean meat. It is bottled unfiltered and unfined.

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