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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

 Italian Trade Commission Tasting
Roy Thompson Hall
Almost a perfect venue for exhibiting and tasting wine is the fabulous Roy Thompson Hall. Just minutes from Union Station, anyone need not worry about the hazards of transport and/or parking attending events at this magnificent building.
As usual the exhibit hall was filled with exhibits and exhibitors---so much so that I had to very choosy about which exhibits to visit. 
I decided to pick several at random and stick to them considering I had a time constraint as well a desire to not to overload my tasting buds.
Cascina Gilli
Castelnuovo Don Bosco
Formerly called Castelnuovo d'Asti and now named in honour of Saint Don Bosco, a Catholic priest who cared for troubled youth and delinquents, is a commune within the region of Piedmont in Northern Italy.
Cascina Gilli is located not far from Turin (Torino) which is Piedmont's capital!
The winery began its life with the company started by Gionni Vergano in 1983 with the intent centred on developing the typical indigenous grapes of the area.   
The vines are located in three vineyards on blue-grey clay like soil (white soil) within Asti (Montferato Astigiano Hills) province: Bricco Gilli, Cornareto, Schierano.
The vineyards exist from about 300 to 440 metres in height and facing South, South West and South East!
Gianni concentrated on a very rare, local indigenous grape variety called "Freisa ferma" with a first harvest in 1985 and later moved on to  Malvasia.  He now has widened his scope to various indigenous Italian varieties.
Present varieties are Freisa, Malvasia, Nebbiolo, Bonarda, Barbera., Notturno,  Chardonnay 
Wines Tasted    
Cascina Gilli Chardonnay  Piemonte DOC                                                        89/100 points
Colour: White, straw, greenish tinge, clear, vibrant
Nose: Citrus, apple, peach, mango, spice, floral notes of apple blossom 
Palate: Medium body plus, touch of bee honey sweetness, refreshing acidity
Comments: Nice aperitif wine, excellent with seafood, Sushi, cold cuts and smoked salmon
A nice classy white for slow sipping also.
Cascina Gilli Le More   Barbara D'Asti DOCG                                                91/100 points
Colour: Ruby Red, clear
Nose: Blackberry wild cherry, blueberry, violet and grass nuances
Palate: Medium plus body, integrated balance between sugar and acidity, Concentrated juicy flavour on finish /100
Comments: Stainless steel aging promotes the fresh flavours of this wine. Can be used for fine beef, pork dishes but also great with roasted vegetables.  
Cascina Gilli Arvele'Freisa d'Asti Superiore  DOC                                          94/100 points
Colour: Dark red, clear
Nose: Ripe wild cherry, bumble berry, ripe raspberry/blackberry, coffee, smoke, old leaves, vanilla spice
Palate: Medium to full bodied, dry, velvet smoothness, well balanced/integrated, nice length with refined acidity
Comments:  My favourite of the group! Very impressed with this wine. The length is very long and filled with class. I would imagine this wine with venison, lamb or pasta with lamb/beef dressing.
The grapes are quite ripe when picked and are carefully selected by hand from the very best vineyard area.
Cascina Gilli Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco DOC                                88/100 points
Colour: Ruby red, clear
Nose:   Fizz, Strawberry, raspberry, sweet melon, floral, spice
Palate: Sweet, Light to Medium body, fresh acidity,  very pleasant finish
Comments: Nice, aromatic dessert wine that does not over power with sweetness. Suggest chocolate mousse, ice cream and cream cakes. Good on its own , Low alcohol! 
Gilli Vino Roseto Spumante Extra Dry                                                            89/100 points 
Colour: Pink, clear 
Nose:: Strawberry, raspberry, honey, vegetal notes
Palate:  Medium Plus body, strong strawberry flavour, sweet with refreshing effervescence; Nice clean finish. 
Comments: Aperitif, oriental food such as Chinese, Thai as well as other spicy foods. hors d'oeuvres.
a pleasant patio wine!  
General Comments About Cascina Gilli
I tried just five Gilli wines while at the Italian Trade tasting and was impressed by the quality and what seemed to be the passion put into the making of these wines. Gianni Vergnano's son, winemaker Paolo who introduced the wines to me, seems to share the inventive passion and knowledge that impressed me. I think that this is a future winery to watch and will be interested in seeing/tasting the wines in the future! 
As I mentioned before, at a large trade tasting one must be selective in how many booths are visited. The one above was certainly the best of show.
If one is interested in finding out more about these wines contact :the following:

Katherine Mellin, Principal & Certified Sommelier
Apparition Wines & Spirits630 Queen St E, Unit #411Toronto, OntarioM4M 1G3 (416) 557 5145Skype: katherinemellinInstagram: @apparitionwines