I went to the Kobrand Tour d' Italia tasting in Austin last week where they were featuring their Italian wine portfolio. I had a limited amount of time that I was able to spend there but I did enjoy tasting the new vintages and chatting with some of Italy's well-known wine producers.
I started my tasting with Roberto Pighin and his selection of three whites from northeast Italy: the 2011 Pighin Pinot Grigio-Friuli Grave which was light and easy-drinking with fresh pear aromas, the 2012 Pighin Pinot Grigio- Collio with melon flavors and a creamier texture due to some lees aging and the 2012 Pighin Sauvignon Blanc- Friuli Grave which was crisp with grassy notes and a mineral laced finish.
My next stop was at the Michele Chiarlo table where Alberto Chiarlo was pouring some Piemontese classics. I really enjoyed both of the whites; the fresh and citrusy 2012 Gavi Le Marne and the smooth, floral 2011 Le Madri, Roero Arneis. I was pleased to be able to share with Alberto that the 2011 Barbera d' Asti Le Orme was one of my recommendations for my upcoming Galveston Monthly wine feature in October. Next, I tasted the 2010 Barbera d' Asti Superiore Nizza La Court, a wine sourced from a single vineyard. This wine was richer than the other Barbera with a more intense aroma and flavor profile. I ran through some other wines at the other tables before coming back to the Nebbiolo wines. I really enjoyed the 2010 Reyna Barbaresco, it was surprisingly approachable with its smooth tannins and black tea and cherry aromas and flavors. I then tasted his three Barolos: the 2008 Tortoniano, the 2009 Cannubi and the 2009 Cerequio. Each of them was a big wine with great fall pairing potential, I found the Cerequio to be the most intense and interesting.
I moved on to chat with Giovanni Folonari who was pouring selections from Nozzole, Cabreo and Tenuta La Fuga while sharing his family's winemaking history in Tuscany. I really enjoyed the 2011 Tenuta Campo al Mare Bolgheri Vermentino with its crisp citrus and herbal notes, the 2007 La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino with its long spicy finish and the 2008 Nozzole Il Pareto, a bold, ripe dark berry flavored 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
There was a bit of a crowd around Piero Incisa at the Tenuta San Guido table by the time that I approached. I made sure to taste the 2011 Salviano Orvieto Classico which was fruity and refreshing and the 2011 Bodega Chacra Barda Pinot Noir from Rio Negro in Patagonia, Argentina, which is made in a light, elegant style and was my only non-Italian wine on this day. I also tasted the 2009 Agricola Punica Barrua Isola dei Nuraghi Carignan-based wine from Sardinia, it was very smooth with plum and licorice flavors. I really liked it for an Autumn wine. I, of course, also tasted Tenuta San Guido's famed 2010 Sassicaia, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with its classic Cabernet nose and a perfectly balanced structure.
I was feeling my time constraints at this point. I made a quick stop with Emilia Nardi to taste the 2010 Tenute Silvio Nardi, Rosso di Montalcino. I loved this wine with its bright cherry/berry flavors, smooth tannins and spicy finish.
I wound down my tasting back with Alberto Chiarlo and the 2012 Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d'Asti. This light, crisp dessert wine with citrus blossom aromas and peach and mango flavors would be the perfect ending for any meal and it was a surprisingly good follow up to the coconut shrimp hors d'oeuvres which were being served. I wish I had more time at the tasting as I know I missed some really great wines. The good news is that these wines are available. As a friend of mine has said, it is a great time to be an Italian wine lover in Texas.