Photo: Sebastian Dahl
For norwegian translation read HERE
The unexpected elegance and freshness of the south of Italy.
I got an invitation with restauraneures and sommeliers to go to a Sommelier themed lunch at restaurant Onda at Akerbrygge in Oslo. We were going to taste and discuss the two Mediterranean wines, Masseria Altemura and Feudo Principi di Butera, two of CasaVinicola Zonin’s labels.
-The wine-maker’s aim is to gather sommeliers from various top-quality restaurants to discuss interesting themes in a relaxing atmosphere at a prestige venue.-
Where did I fit in this? I do not know. My interest for wine has grown over the years, so to me this was very interesting lunch and this was the first time to my knowlege that I have tasted Sicilian and Puglian wines.
-The rich and long history of Southern Italy can be of endless inspiration in the rediscovery of its indigenous grape varieties: each one of these is far more capable of retaining its acidity in this warm climate than any of the international grapes.-
Casa Vinicola Zonin’s wine ambassador, Lorenzo Zonin, hosted this venue where we were going to blind test two of Casa Vinicola Zonins estates, Masseria Altemura from Puglia and Feudo Principi di Butera. With each course we got two different wines and we were supposed to guess from which area and which vintage the wines where from. Mr. Zonin guided us through the tasting, explaining the difference between the two wines. We looked at the color, we smelled the aromas and then tasted the wines.
For the first course we had Masseria Altemura-Fiano Salento IGT 2013 and
Principi di Butera-Insola Sicilia IGT 2013
The Fiano is a high-quality white wine grape variety used in southern Italy specially in Campania, the shin of Italys boot . It is mainly used as a varietal wine, wines that are being labeled after the grape variety they are prodused from. Fiano Is nutty and textured with floral and honey notes, spice and tropical fruit flavores
Like I had mentioned I had not tried any wine from these regions before and found it quite difficult since I did not have any refrence point to go by. First of all I do not drink much wine and Second pretty much the same as the first one 🙂 and I must say that I think he tried to confuse us a little 🙂
My way of telling if it is a good wine or not is if I can keep a straight face when drinking it and the more expencive, the straighter the face, he he he. Jokes a side, over the years I have gotten to know and taste different wines and have learnt that price and taste does not necessarily correlate with eachother. you can get inexpensive wines that taste grate and expensive wines that are less than average.
I got the estates wrong and I got one vintage wrong. Some of the clues he gave us was that they were booth young, one more sophisticated than the other and one more fruity than the other
The second course we had braised shoulder of lamb fom Solun and bean casulet.
This time I manage to place the wines and guess the vintage, lucky guess I think.
Principi di Butera-Deliella Nero D’Aviola 2008 from Sicily and the puglian Massera Altemura wa a Sasseo Primitivo Salento IGT 2012
The Deliella Nero D’Aviola has an intense ruby red color, with notes of black fruits with a touch of balsamic notes and hints of cocoa. The wine has well defined tannins and a touch of bitterness on the finish.
The Sasseo Primitivo Salento IGT 2012 has also an intense red color with scents of tart cherries, violet and sweet spicy hints, a warm and persistent wine.
Last course was Norwegian cheeses with nut bread and marmalade. The wines was Principi di Butera-Symposio Sicilia IGT 2010 and Masseria Altemura-Altemura Primitivo di Manduria DOC 2010
The first one was a dark red wine with ruby reflections with a nose of ripe dark berries, plums, cherries, orange peel and hits of and black tea. Nutty nuances with a seductive bouquet of cedar, cloves and mocha and on the palate it is elegant, balanced and harmonious with a lingering finish of dark and red berries.
The latter was a deep ruby red wine with a nice nose and accents of roasted coffe and bread crust opening up to fragrances of nutmeg, eucalyptus and green pepper. It had a unusual full palate mixing spiced fruits with brandy and tobacco and a lingering aftertaste
Surprize Wine- guess the estate and the vintage
This time we only got one glass so we could not compare it to anything but memory.
This last wine reminded me of one of my old favorites a Cabernet Sauvignon, mid 1990s vintages from Napa Valley California and with what I have learnt by listening to Mr. Zonin and what I had previously tasted. I guest it to be from Sicily and from 2006. Why 2006? I guess because one of the clues was that it it was a little older than the previous vintages. I was wrong, it was a 2000 vintage and since it turned out to be a Cabernet Sauvignon, no wonder it reminded me of my old favorite 🙂 I think I can enjoy this wine as well:)
Principi di Butera-Sanrocco Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Intense garnet red with clean complex aromas of ripe dark red fruits and berries, pleasent notes of vanilla and spices. Harmonious and structured, the palate mirrors the berries and sweet spices with a lingering finish.
Is situated deep in the heart of the Salento Peninsula, an area permeated with Mediterranean characters where the light breeze and the sea coalesce in unique alchemy. The total area of the property is over 300 hectares, of which 40 consist of olive groves and 150 are vineyards, planted with indigenous grape varieties and producing great wines such as Primitivo di Manduria. Masseria Altemura now represents one of the flagship estates in Puglian agriculture, restored with total respect for the environment and the original architecture
-Feudo Principi di Butera
Is situated in the south-eastern part of Sicily, near the cities of Caltanisseta, Agrigentto and Catania.
The estate once belonged to Sicily’s first prince, Ambrogio Branciforte “Principi di Butera”, whose title was bestowed on him in 1543. After an in-depth research on the area best suited for cultivating Nero d’Avola grapes, the Zonin family acquired and restored the estate. Its hilly terrain, proximity to the sea, optimal altitude, and abundance of sunlight, combined with a unique limestone-based soil, provide ideal conditions for yielding outstanding wines.