After a one year hiatus, fine wine and spirits importer, Kobrand Corporation, hosted their annual ‘Kobrand Tour d’Italia,’ an eight-city tour where their iconic Italian wine makers showcased their upcoming releases. I had the privilege of attending this incredible trade show tasting held at the Portofino Hotel in Orlando. And the honor of meeting the leaders of Italian wine making from the most prestigious regions in Italy.
Wines were offered from Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Piedmont in the North as well as wines from more central regions such as Tuscany and Umbria, to wines from the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
Wine and food are inextricably linked in most parts of the world, in Italy they are fervently wedded. Italian wines have the grip and edge to slice through the dauntless flavors of Italian food. Wine and bread are as essential to an Italian dinner as fork and knife (probably more so). Along with olive oil, they make up what the Italians call the Santa Trinita Mediterranea. Italian wines can vary substantially in flavor, texture, and body, even when the wines being compared are the same type. Ancient traditional wine making, sophisticated modern methods, or the tangle of different microclimates powerfully influence their individual characters.
So be it Italy’s vibrant and racy whites like Pinot Grigio, from Fernando Pighin & Figli or Bollini, big and powerful Amarone from Masi Agricola; majestic Barolo and Barberesco from Michele Chiarlo; Sangiovese – one of the greatest red grapes of Italy, producing the romantic Chianti from The Folonari family, Tuscany’s most revered wine Brunello di Montalcino from Silvio Nardi; avant-garde Super Tuscan from Tenuta San Guido, Tenuto del Cabreo II Borgo, and Tenuta Sette Ponti; classic Orvieto from Tenuta di Salvino; solid Carignano blend from Agricola Punica; or spicy and herbaceous Nero d’Avola from Feudo Maccari, Kobrand Tour d’Italia, showcased the breadth and diversity of Italian wines where each wine expressed unique site specific terroir. A tasting any wine aficionado would have been proud to attend.
Here’s a humble attempt at capturing the event with a glass in one hand and my iphone in the other….No particular preference per say, the photographs are in chronological order with the table numbers.
A specialist in producing Amarones and Reciotos using historic wine-making techniques, Masi is headed by the humble Sandro Boscaini. I particularly enjoyed the Riserva di Costasera and the Masi Mazzano Amarone with it’s deep chocolate, mocha, dried fig, and earthy flavors. Alas, I didn’t get to taste all the wines on the table.
Tenuta San Guido
The most popular table in the room: Tenuto San Guido for it’s famed 2010 Sassicaia, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. What impressed me the most was the Guidaalberto 2011 – mocha, espresso, plums, and cloves create a smogsborg of aromas and flavors, silky tanins with a fairly long finish. It is a great wine to enjoy now or over the next decade. Fabulous option for budget drinkers who appreciate Super Tuscans.
Tenute Silvio Nardi
Aside from the brilliantly delicious Brunellos, it was a pleasure chatting with the elegant Ms. Emilia Nardi, a distinguished leader in Brunello and one of the most respected women in the wine world. What a treat! The Rosso di Montalcino expressed vibrant red cherry color with ripe fruit aromas showcasing hints of leather and spice, firm on the palate, medium body, velvety tannic structure with a long finish, it was drinking well even now. The Manachiara DOCG and Silvio Nardi DOCG, were both elegant, supple, and concentrated. Even though Brunello di Montalcino have a reputation for longevity, they both were soft enough to appreciate now.
Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari
The charming and passionate Giovanni Folonari and his father formed their own group of estates—Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute—making small-production wines in the most prestigious appellations. Eager to share his ‘babies’ with us, his table consisted of wines from Tenuta La Fuga, Tenuta del Cabreo, Tenuta Campo al Mare, TorCalvano, Tenuta di Nozzole, Santa Martina, and Spalletti. The Cabreo Ii Borgo was absolutely delicious and tasting beautifully now. Mr. Folonari was kind enough to allow me to interview him, detailed version of his wines coming up in another post.
At the Michele Chiarlo table, Mr. Alberto Chiarlo was pouring some Piemonte classics from Gavi to Barbera d’ Asti, Barbaresco, Barolo, to Moscato d’ Asti from the production areas of Monferrato, Langhe, and Gavi. Chiarlo’s single-vineyard Barolos (Cerequio and Cannubi) are counted among the greatest and most collectible wines of Piemonte, each one a marvelous example of terroir expression. The Reyna Barbaresco DOCG was exciting with red cherry, tea, and chocolate aromas with notes of leather and earth. Round tanins and long finish, it was a stand out of the table.
Fernando Pighin & Figli
Now this should have been the first table I visited or should I say it was luck that saved the best for last? Mr. Roberto Pighin of Fernando Pighin & Figli is in the heart of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region with estates in Risano, Fruili Grave DOC, and Spessa di Capriva in Collio DOC. The Pinot Grigio Collio DOC was an expression of pure varietal, lively acidity, and spicy-fruity flavors.
People from the wine industry including me had the pleasure to meet producers from Agricola Punica, Fernando Pighin & Figli, Feudo Maccari, Masi Agricola, Michele Chiarlo, Santa Martina, Spalletti, Tenuta Campo al Mare, Tenuta di Nozzole, Tenuta di Salviano, Tenuta di Salviano, Tenuta La Fuga, Tenuta San Guido, Tenuta Sette Ponti, Tenuta TorCalvano, Tenute del Cabreo & Tenute Silvio Nardi.
The line up was incredible, the wines exquisite, for more information about these iconic Italian Wine Makers and how to procure their wines, check out Kobrand via their website, Twitter, or Facebook account.