Ask Chuck

Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Two Phenomenal Events Part Two: GIV Bolla Meets Donatello

Stefano Puppini stood as usual---slim, tall and elegant in his designer suit as he welcomed members of the Wine Writers Of Canada and other select media members to Donatello's Restaurant in the heart of downtown Toronto. It was June 1st and the new month brought a feeling of discovery. We were about to discover some magnificent wines along with a very fine meal.Stefano mentioned that Bolla has re-discovered itself. After a period of being owned by an American company, Bolla is now owned again by an Italian one: Gruppo Italiano Vini. Going back to its roots, Bolla is making some magnificent wines which reflect the Italian terroir that they come from.The wines matched very well with the meal provided by the staff of Donatello.

Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore (Contact Philip Dandurand Wines)
Nose: Clean, fresh with some floral and much citrus/pear nuances.
Palate: Zesty, refreshing with the same citrus/pear flavour. A nice wine that makes a truly fine aperitif.

Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie IGT 2008 (general list #363622)
Nose: Citrus/peach very clean and fresh
Palate: Refreshing with light body and clean finish. Served with Smoked Salmon Organic Salad

Pinor Noir IGT Provincia di Pavia 2008 (general list # 135483)
Nose: Light cherry/raspberry/strawberry with some peach nuances
Palate: Light bodied, fresh and full of fruit flavours. A nice Pinot Noir that does not break the bank. Served with Ravioli stuffed crab meat, roast pepper, goat cheese with pesto tomato rose sauce.

Valpolicella Classico DOC 2008 (general list # 16840)
Nose: Red fruit on nose with some spice
Palate: Fruity with some pepper on the finish. Served with Artisinal Salami

Le Poiane Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC 2007 (PDandurand Wine)
Nose: Dry fruit (dark cherry) with spice mix of cloves, cinnamon and anise)
Palate: Dark fruit (cherry, black berry) pleasant acidity and big body. Served with Lamb Chops with sweet potato mash.

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2006 (general list # 352757)
Nose: Rich in rich dry fruit. Black cherry, plum, raisin
Palate: Black fruit, toffee, some chocolate, mild tannin with great acid balance, dry fruit finish.
Served with Assorted Cheese Platter. Would love to have it with game such as Bison, Venison, Elk or similar meat. Also great with Lamb and Osso Buco

As I said many times, the perks with being a wine writer and television host is that I get invited to events such as these. Ah the price one has to pay for being in this business. The best part is that I get to let you know about the wine and food matches and the great products available for you to choose from.
A big thanks to Zenato and Bolla (Gruppo Italiano Vini) for being such gracious hosts.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Phenomenal Italian Dinners Part One: THE HOUSE OF ZENATO

The House of Zenato was well represented on May 1st when Alberto Zenato (who I visited last September in Valpolicella) visited Fazio's Ristorante in Oshawa, Ontario. With him were Inerio Cinque, President of Cipelli Wines, Dana Prancer-Cinque,Brand& Strategic Initiatives Manager
and Martin Jordin, Sales and Marketing Manager for the company.
As usual, Tino Fazio provide a superb multi-course meal to match the wines that are listed below.
The wines are mostly familiar to those who enjoy fine wines with the exception of a couple of new comers which I found very interesting---those being the Cormi a blend of the Corvina and Merlot grapes and the Cresasso, an amazingly concentrated wine that certainly gained my favour.
Here are my notes on the following wines!
Bardolino Chiaretto DOC 2008 (vintages #45203)
Nose: light and floral with raspberry and strawberry.
Palate: pleasant light fruit, dry and refreshing.

Soave Classico DOC 2008 (vintages #413146)
Nose: not a criticism, this wine reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc. Light in style with lovely fruity citrus and grassy aromas.
Palate: Crisp, clean and with refreshing acidity that is able to handle many foods from salads to fish to fowl. Great mussel wine in my opinion.

Pinot Grigio IGT 2008 (vintages #37648)
Nose: Citrus, apple, pear all take their turns competing for the nose.
Palate: Fruitiness with minerality thrown in provide the foundation leading to a pleasantly crisp and acidic finish. Very refreshing on the palate. Great seafood wine!

Lugana San Benedetto 2008 (vintages #707158 to be released November)
Nose: Multiple scents of nuts, citrus, flowers
Palate: citrus lemon, tropical fruit (pineapple, mango), pleasant acidity.
Made from the Trebbiano di Lugana (Ugni Blanc). Nice wine for the price ($14.95)

Valpolicella Superiore DOC 2008 (#95704 to be released September)
Nose: Ripe red and black fruit with some herbal nuances.
Palate: Medium bodied, nicely integrated and harmonious wine. Super with pasta or anti pasta.

Valpolicella Superiore DOC ‘Ripassa’ 2007(vintages essentials #479766)
Nose: Black fruit dominate with nuances of fume and chocolate.
Palate: Chocolate, anise, black berry/cherry along with a great body. Great with ripe hard cheese, beef or just pasta.

Cormi (Corvina/Merlot) IGT 2006 (vintages #108282)
Nose: Very complex with chocolate, coffee, black fruit
Palate: Similar to above with great body and ripe flavours. An excellent wine with game, steaks and gourmet fare. Highly recommend this blend for all those who wish to try something different yet very safe for the price ($19.95)

Cresasso 2004 (Classics Catalogue #69484)
Nose: Another truly amazing wine from Zenato shows what winemakers can do when they go for quality rather than quantity! Dark purple in colour this wine goes through many incarnations in the glass---from ripe red cherries and blackberries to very ripe black fruit (plums, cherries and prunes). The wine can be almost liqueur like in some instances.
Palate: Big and round 100% Corvina is a must try to see what Veneto truly produces. The wine keeps its elegance right to the fine Velvet finish of a great wine. Would love to try this wine in five years----but would not be able to keep my hands off it for that time!!!!!! Food! Game: Bison, Elk or the best cheeses one can get!

Amarone Classico 2005 (vintages #413179 to be released October)
Nose: Black fruit, chocolate, leather, some smoke offer complexity that is expected of this great wine!
Palate: Liquorice spice, dark fruit, chocolate with an elegant finish. A large wine with a large future!
What else could one want when faced with wines of this calibre. Fine wines that were enhanced by the phenomenal cooking of Martin Polidano of Fazio's Ristorante.