Toronto Vintners Club took a road less travelled this evening to discover the luscious wines produced in the toe and heel of Italy's "boot". Southern Italy's vineyards are ancient and host hundreds of offbeat, native grape varieties from Sicily, Calabria, Sardinia, Campania, Puglia, Abruzzo, and Basilicata.
We were joined on this road by Steve Thurlow an expert on this unique region of Italy that is full of amazingly complex and multi-layered wines. Steve first developed his love for the wines of the South of Italy in the 1990s while exploring the region seeking wines for his wine agency. Over the last 30 years or so he has visited the region over 20 times, often taking groups of wine lovers with him. He is scheduled to take another group there this coming September - see his website for more!
The Directors of TVC once again prepared for what-we-hope-is-our-final-virtual-tasting over the weekend and into Tuesday! Here is Shauna preparing for the pouring of this month's wines into their cute mini-bottles ready for delivery around the GTA to our members.
And what a treat these wines were! The nose was a heady complex mix of fruit and aging and the palate rich and rewarding. These wines were designed to be drunk with food - and that was definitely our experience. They were not overpowering and the tannins were well-integrated, but we did feel we missed an opportunity to make a rich meaty pasta dish to drink them with! Did you prepare something delicious to go along with our Italian night in?
Many of us were thrown by the very first wine tasted - it was absolutely superb and nothing quite matched its smooth complex taste throughout the remaining seven tastings (as you can see from the scores below). It had all of us guessing which of the wines it could be:
Was it the $100 wine from Campania with its Aglianco and Piedrosso grapes?
Or was it one of the Sicilian wines on our list with its consistently bright sunshine and reliably moderate rainfall, that makes Sicily an ideal location for wine production?
Or could it be the only Montepulciano d'Abruzzo on our list with its lack of available professional tasting notes?
See the answers in the Scores table below. Did you guess correctly?
Here's our lineup:
And here are the full scores from the evening:
Please see the original tasting notes for these outstanding eight wines below: