Wine-tasting on March 16, 2006 – Italian wine

We had an over booked wine-tasting session on March 16, 2006 joined by, amongst others, Louise Barrington and her mother.

We were introduced to Italian wine and the following is an extract of the notes given to us by our Wine-master, Dr. Anthony Cheng.

1. Introduction

Italy is the most productive (in terms of quantity) wine growing country with over 1000 grape varieties. The quality of Italian wines ranges from exceptional to awful. You have to know the DOC (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata) regions and their wines – and the vineyards before you buy.

2. History

Viticulture and viniculture was introduced by the Greeks and Etruscans to Sicily, Puglia and Tuscany in 4th century B.C. The country was then swiftly carpeted by vines. During the reign of Rome, wine making enjoyed its golden age. After the fall of Roman Empire, the country was ruled by city-states and Italy had a profusion of wine styles and types under different flags. With a high level of home consumption, there was no incentive to make quality wines even after the country’s unification in 1861. After the 2nd World War, economic stability demanded better wines. There were new investors, new wine makers and new technique in the wine industry. The 1960s saw the emergence of the super-Tuscan i.e. Sassicaia which changes the whole concept of Italian wines. From then on, the Italian winemakers realize that they can compete on the world stage.

3. Wines tasted

(a) Gaja’s Barolo Sperss 1996 – 100% Nebbiolo. One of the most expensive Barolos from a top winemaker, Angel Gaja.

(b) Allegrini’s La Poja 1998 – 100% Corvina

(c) Antinori’s Tignanello 1997 – Sangiovese 80% & Cab. Sauvignon 20% (one of Super-Tuscans)

(d) Falesco’s Montiano 2000 – 100% Merlot

(e) Abbazia Santa Anastasia’s Passomoggio 2000 – Nero d’Avola & Merlot

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