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Italian Fine Wine Masterclass 31st August '22

I’m aware one or two others have attended the Italian fine wine masterclass tasting so thought I’d start a new thread for some comments.

First a quick overview. I sadly thought it felt a bit rushed; 6 wines in an hour means just ten minutes per wine. Which seems a lot until you start talking about the production as well as the tasting. Could have easily done with an hour and a half but only a small niggle. @Sarah was great and imparted loads of useful knowledge. Thank you!

Out of all the wines tasted I had only previously tried the Taurasi which I loved. I always love Tuscanny so the Chianti and Brunello were no brainers. I have struggled with Barolo and I’m afraid this hasn’t changed. Amarone is a style I have started buying but not yet opened any; this one has fired me up to get going on them lovely! Big surprise for me was the Scicilian Nerollo Mascalese; I’ve only had one before - the Pietradolce - which was okay but didn’t really blow me away. This one did!

My personal ranking of the wines was:

  1. https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/amarone-della-valpolicella-tenuta-novare-2018 (sadly sold out whilst I was typing I think!!!)
  2. Brunello di Montalcino, Conti Costanti 2013(sadly sold out during the tasting but fortunately I bought some earlier and got the discount!)
  3. Taurasi, Feudi di San Gregorio 2016
  4. Nerello Mascalese Versante Nord Terre Siciliane, Eduardo Torres Acosta 2018
  5. Chianti Classico Riserva, Quercia Al Poggio 2016
  6. Barolo Mosconi, Anselma 2010

Sorry Barolo lovers but that’s my personal preference! So in reverse order then I’ll make a separate post:

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A bit unfortunate that your two top wines are showing out of stock, Mike, but it must be an indicator of your good taste I suppose!

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  • Barolo Mosconi, Anselma 2010
    I do seem to struggle with Barolo. This was, to me, a massive mouthful of tannins. 12 years old and still not resolved. It’s given until 2030 and maybe it will get there. Very perfumed, red fruits, leather spice, black tea, tar. Really not very approachable and didn’t give me much pleasure.

  • Chianti Classico Riserva, Quercia Al Poggio 2016
    I’m rather surprised this didn’t score higher for me. I love Chiantis but I do slightly prefer the Rufinas. Still this is good, very good even, but I have bought a number of Chianti Classicos from TWS that I much prefer. The nose had a slightly strange cola/Dr Pepper element which I’m not sure I took to. lots of dark cherry and grippy tannins but nowhere near the Barolo levels. Good but, for me, not the best Chianti.

  • Nerello Mascalese Versante Nord Terre Siciliane, Eduardo Torres Acosta 2018
    The big surprise for me of the evening. Not a grape I’m very familiar with but this one blew me away. Lots of red fruit, a light touch, very approachable. Very fine tannins but some grip to them. Apparently blended with some white grapes giving it a lovely fresh brightness. wonderful and one to buy I think!

  • Taurasi, Feudi di San Gregorio 2016
    I’ve had this one before and loved it. Exceptional complexity for the price. A touch floral with black cherries and berries, mocha and dried fruit. Very fine tannins. Very rounded and very approachable. a great easy drinker.

  • Brunello di Montalcino, Conti Costanti 2013
    No big surprises here; this is a big mature Brunello. Quite a sweet profile (though not actually sweet). spice and pepper and herbs. Plenty of tannic grip but not overpowering. Still remarkably fresh.

  • Amarone della Valpolicella, Tenuta Novare 2018
    This was lovely (and now sold out whilst I was tying 'doh!!!) I’m just getting started on Amarone with a few recent purchases but none opened yet. So this tasting is very promising on that front! Another with a sweet profile though actually very dry. Soft grippy tannins. Sweet red cherries. Absolutely ready to drink now. So easy and fresh. a remarkably gorgeous wine!

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Yes I had planned to get some but must have sold out either during the tasting (like the Brunello) or whilst I was typing. Never mind I have some other Amarones already and I’m sure this will come around again!

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One can never have enough Amarone

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I love the different responses wine provokes!

For me, the Barolo was top, followed by the Brunello and then the Chianti Riserva which I though was terrific vfm.

Didn’t like the Amarone at all - so sweet and Black Forest gateaux-ey - but enjoyed the other 2 (and already had a case of the Taurasi in reserves…).

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Definitely off my list then.

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Yes it’s strange how Barolo keeps leaving me cold. I was listening to Sarah at the end - she clearly loves it and more power to her - but it just didn’t work for me. However I do seem to love Valpolicello in all it’s forms; straight, Ripasso and, now, Amarone!

The Brunellos was great and I’m so glad I negotiated some with the tasting discount a week or so back when it first appeared! The Chianti was lovely (to be fair they all were) but I just seem to much prefer the Rufina and, for Classico, the Fontodi style. So I suspect it suffered by comparison.

I had a bottle of the Taurasi a few weeks ago and was very impressed and marked it for reordering. Must do that now!

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To be fair it wasn’t overpoweringly so and I only really noticed it once it was mentioned. But it definitely lost points from me for it.

The Brunello was the one that seemed to unify opinion - a great wine. I reckon Barolo can be a marmite wine but if you love it, that 2010 is special.

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The one I don’t understand is how far down my list the Chianti came. I love Chianti. But I kept checking and rechecking my scoring (100ml per sample is really quite generous!) and it stayed stubbornly in the same place! I guess the style just didn’t work for me!

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The Chianti was my least favourite wine of the evening, which surprised me too. The Brunello was wonderful and I snaffled most of it although the OH had the lions share of all the rest. Was quite glad it was oos as it was way above my budget for a bottle but very glad to have tasted it. Really enjoyed the tasting and was surprised how much Sarah and Anna managed to fit in. Your thoughts much appreciated too Mike!

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I thought it was atypical, certainly, but found myself enjoying it despite that. Hard to compare anything to Fontodi, though.

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I was looking forward to the Barolo but as per others on the thread found the tannins still overpowering. Thought I would give it another go 2 hours later and the difference, just delicious.

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Yes I think it would have benefited from a long decant.

Future events surely need to have enough stock for customers to buy after tasting . Surely it’s simply a matter of holding sales until after the event

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Agreed, there was some discussion on this a while back; we couldn’t understand why they launched them so long ahead of the tasting. I looked at the numbers on the Brunello and rang member services and asked if I could get the discount on an order placed then and, as they had the record of my booking of the tasting samples, they agreed so at least I got that one at the discount price!

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The Brunello was my favourite. Being sold out before even tasting it was poor imho.

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Thanks for this. I’ve got a Pietradolce Nerollo Mascalese too, which I’ve not tried yet. Need to do so soon to compare I guess, but will manage expectations after your experience. Incidentally I had a bottle of the Pietradolce Etna Bianco on Monday and really enjoyed it, although iirc whites are not really your thing?

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No, I’m not big into whites, though I do keep trying! And, regarding the Pietradolce red, there are plenty of others in the community who love it, so take my not being thrilled with a pinch of salt! :wink: Definitely preferred last night’s though!