A Taste of Italy at Wine by the Bay

Thinking back to my last wine tasting at Wine by the Bay, where we explored some wines and vines of Italy. Owner Stefano Campanini always does a great job of presenting the wines and giving background. Below was the roster for the night.

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2017 Fonzone Greco di Tufo DOCG, Campania | This wine comes from a vineyard planted in 1994 in Santa Paolina, along steep slopes 500 meters above sea level, where the vines grow in sandy clay with veins sulphurous underlying. The wine is made from 100% Greco. It’s light yellow in color and is so fragrant with orange blossom and pineapple. It’s an energetic and bright wine with citrus and mineral notes. Definitely a nice daytime sipper.

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2014 Stefano Antonucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore |This wine comes from Le Marche, an eastern Italian region that sits between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. This wine is made of 100% Verdicchio (a new one for me). It is more yellow than the first wine and is very aromatic of white flower, and honey. It’s a bit more complex, with notes of marshmallow, pear, and grapefruit.

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Deltetto Langhe Pinot Nero “777” | From Piedmont, Italy, the Deltetto family established the winery in the early 1950s. Even though this is a red wine, by law, wines from Roero, if they are red, must be Nebbiolo-dominant to be called “Roero,” so this wine took the broader, catchall “Langhe” appellation. First established as a DOC in 1994, the Langhe designation allows for ‘varietal’ labeling, which is why Pinot Nero is written across the front of the bottle. Clone 777 is a Burgundian Dijon clone, prized for its thick skins, small berries, and compact clusters. It produces wines that are intensely aromatic, generous with darker fruits, and well structured. Carlo Deltetto, who heads the operation, prefers ‘whole-cluster’ fermentation for this Pinot Noir, a practice which dilutes color but also delivers a more sweet/soothing tannic profile. It is medium ruby in color. Upon opening, this wine is teeth sucking tannic and dry. As it decants, the wine shows more dried berries and earth.

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2012 Palari Rosso del Soprano Red | The grapes are grown in sandy soil in the vineyards located in Santo Stefano Briga (Messina), Sicily, Italy. The fruit of low yielding 80+ year-old head-trained vines is hand-harvested from south-east facing terraces on steep slopes at 1,475 feet above sea level, a few miles inland. The total production is 22,000 bottles. The wine is predominantly Nerello Mascalese (about 60%), Nerello Cappuccio and Nocera (30-35% combined), with smaller quantities of Acitana, Jacché, and Cor’e Palumba (about 5% combined). It has a deep ruby red color and an aroma of red berries and spice. It has a delightful balance between of tannins and spicy black fruit.

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2012 Conte Emo Capodilista Irenèo Cabernet Sauvignon | Irenèo is one of the single vine yard of the estate, the name comes from the ancient Greek and means peace. It’s produced with grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon (90%), Merlot (6%), and Carmenére (4%) cultivated in Montecchia vineyard, located in Monte Castello in the Paduan municipality of Baone, part of the Colli Euganei appellation. It has an intense ruby color and an aroma of black fruit with spice. It was delicious and had a nice balance.

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Towards the end of the tasting, our stomachs were grumbling and we all packed up and headed to ‘O Munaciello, a delicious and seemingly authentic Italian restaurant. With our bellies full and our glasses empty, we opened up another vino—2009 Antonelli Montefalco Sagrantino, which was delicious—but I didn’t take any notes. Was too busy enjoying the moment and company.

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