Bibemus: In Italy (and Veneto) We Trust

Last night our Italian tasting group (Bibemus) got together at Bottega Restaurant for an ode to Quinteralli and also give thanks to the many other great producers from Veneto.

These are the wines served last night:

1. Pieropan Calvarino Soave Classico 2009
2. Ca’ Rugate Monte Fiorentine Soave Classico 2010
3. Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico 2009
4. Ca’ Rugate Rio Albo Valpolicella 2010
5. Le Vigne di San Pietro Valpolicella 2009
6. Romano Dal Forno Valpolicella Superiore del vigneto Monte Lodoletta 2001
7. Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2001
8. Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2007
9. Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2001
10. Speri Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Sant’ Urbano 2001
11. Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Capitel Monte Olmi 2001
12. And the mystery wine: Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella 2000

And the highlight? Well pretty easy answer. The Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella 2000.

All the wines looked fantastic last night. The bracket of whites showed each wines distinct personality and illustrated the quality of each vineyard site. For me the Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico 2009 was the best wine of the bracket. Whilst it is a worked style and you have to be in the mood to enjoy it, last night showed why for me it was the best white. It was beautifully textured, powerful, had the perfect amount of acidity and finished with layers upon layers of beautiful fruit. You cannot really ask for much more in a white.

Moving onto the reds, all the wines showed well except for the Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Capitel Monte Olmi 2001 which was corked.

It must be noted that whilst I enjoyed the sheer quality of the Romano Dal Forno Valpolicella Superiore del vigneto Monte Lodoletta 2001. It is not a style I like. I found it forward, modern, sexed up and a caricature of Valpolicella.

The Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2001 on the other hand was as perfect as one could ever ask for in Valpolicella. Truly amazing with seamless fruit and loads of complexity.

We finished with the Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella 2000 that was textbook Amarone and again close to the perfect wine.

Drinking the wines of Veneto and saluting the great man Giuseppe Quintarelli capped off the best Bibemus dinner to date. I can’t think of anything better than drinking great wines with great friends and saluting one of Italy’s greatest winemakers.

Sometimes don’t worry about the food and wine match: it is all about the wine…

Yesterday was a scorching day in Melbourne. A top of 38 degrees Celsius with a minimum on 26 degrees. Not the ideal BBQ weather but with air conditioning the only hard part was the BBQ outside.

We started off with some Champagne to begin with before moving onto Chilli Prawns and the 2011 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling. This is one of my favorite Rieslings: great when young but also ages an absolute treat. This wine was singing last night and was the perfect match to the prawns. I would have been happy to stop at that and just eat Prawns and drink Riesling all night.

Next we moved onto some grilled Dory on the bbq match with some salads and in most instances the Riesling or aged Chardonnay (of if thinking Italian a bottle of Etna Bianco) would have worked well. Instead we had an aged bottle of Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2006. This is one of my favorite Chianti’s from the 2006 vintage and it was drinking true to form.

It was also a perfect match to the fish. Whilst the fish was grilled, it still had some pretty strong flavors and the hint of age from the Chianti meant that they actually worked really well together. Fish and Chianti is not something I would normally match together, but on a hot Melbourne night, with the air conditioning on max, it worked out to be almost the PERFECT match.

Huxtaburger = Melbourne’s best burger?….

I have been hearing many great things about the burgers at Huxtaburger and today I finally had the time to go there and try the burgers. I rode my vespa into Collingwood, parked at the front and ate for me, the best burger in Melbourne.

The bun was soft and moist and the meat tender and delicious. The burger was not too big, nor too small, rather just perfect.

This place was pumping and whilst we had to wait a little longer than most burger joints for our meals, they were definitely worth the wait. Will be making Huxtaburger a regular pit stop in the coming months.

May I have your attention please? Would the real Ezio Rivella please stand up?…..

‘The Real Ezio Rivella’?

May I have your attention please?
May I have your attention please?
Will the real Ezio Rivella please stand up?
I repeat, will the real Ezio Rivella please stand up?
We’re gonna have a problem here

I am not sure in today’s world if there is a man that polarizes the Italian wine community more than Ezio Rivella. There has been two great blog posts by Franco Ziliani at Vino al Vino and also Jeremy Parzen at Do Bianchi which will give you all the background information on this uproar.

This is my view on the Ezio Rivella.

For me the big question is do we really know Ezio Rivella? Who is the real Ezio Rivella?

Is he the one who represents 250 wineries as President of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino?

Or as a free man, without any tie to any organisation or company?

According to the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino:

The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino was founded in 1967 after the recognition of the D.O.C., as a free association of producers with the intention of safeguarding a wine whose prestige was asserting itself more and more. It has during the years embodied an instrument of scrupulous and responsible self-discipline, bringing together old and new, small and large estates, in such a way that the wise consolidated customs became a common strategy for qualitative success. The Consorzio safeguards and promotes all four Montalcino denomination wines: Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Moscadello di Montalcino andSant’Antimo Doc; the remaining part is planted with Igt.

Now tell me, when Ezio Rivella tells producers from Barolo and Barbaresco who attended  Strada del Barolo that “Tradition is a ball and chain. At best, it serves as historical anchor.” Is he talking on behalf of the President of Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino? Or as a free man, without any tie to any organisation or company?

For me, if you hold such a title THEN every comment you make must be on behalf on the Consorzio. It is like Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia going to Italy and stating to the Italians that ‘Australia should not recognize the rights of women’ then coming back to Australia and stating the opposite.

As president you represent the whole Consorzio. From large producers to small. To traditional producers to ultra modern. You must respect all positions and work on outcomes for the benefit of all. Not a small minority.

If I was a traditional Brunello producer, I would withdraw my membership and support of the Consorzio. Does Ezio Rivella work for all of the Consorzio or just the select few that benefits from his outrageous statements? Whichever, these sort of comments tarnishes the image and reputation of Italian wine and no good can be made of it.

Le Moire Vino Calabrese on the way to Oz….

After delays due to the snow and shocking weather in Italy, our container of Southern Italian reds has finally left for it’s voyage to Australia. I am so excited to showcase Calabrian wines made from native varieties in Australia.

I think the next ten years are going to be fantastic for the wines of the South of Italy. Our climate in Australia is not disimilar to that of the south so hopefully we get some of our local producers planting these varieties in Australia. It will be fascinating to compare the two.

The reason why I love Friday nights…

Pretty simple really. Once I walk out the door on a Friday night I know I have a couple of days with my family. We eat, drink and spend time together without the frantic craziness of our Monday to Friday lives.

Normally we order some takeaway and enjoy a good bottle of wine. Takeaway for us last night was wood fired Pizza’s from our new local Firechief which is just down the road.

We started with a half bottle of Louis Roederer NV before moving onto a bottle of Salvatore Molettieri Vigna Cinque Querce Taurasi 2006 which was spectacular. I opened the bottle Thursday night just to have a quick look at it and also give it some air. With 24 hours, open in the bottle this wine was mind blowing. Can’t wait to show it in Oz in a couple of months time.