I can hardly believe it, but our community wine tasting club – The Pacific Pointe Wine Tasting Club (“PPWTC”) is entering its fifth year, and going stronger than ever. Our most recent gathering had an Italian theme. Since we’ve previously tasted Chianti, and Barbera those were not options. But with over 500 different Italian grape varieties, including at least 10 major grape varieties, there were still plenty of options. We settled any Italian Reds, and folks were encouraged think beyond Sangiovese!
Our tastings alway start with a “Happy Hour” where we get a chance to catch up with each other, and grab a bite to eat (we do a themed potluck). Since we had an Italian theme, there was plenty of Italian food (click to enlarge)
Here’s how our blind-tasting went down:
- Italian red priced between $15-$25
- Maximum of 9 bottles tasted
- There were 19 tasters, with a diverse range of experience with wine
- Tasters are required to score all wines
- Both average and median scores are calculated. The winner determined by highest median score. Average score used as tie breaker.
We had a nice selection of wines that showcased some of the diversity of Italian wines. Geographically speaking, Tuscany was the most well represented, but there were also wines representing Veneto, Piedmont, Sicily, and Campania. From a grape variety standpoint, Sangiovese was the most well represented, but we also had wines made from Aglianico, Corvino, Corvino blends, Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah.
The wines tasted were:
- 2010 Poderi Foglia Aglianico Gallucio Concarosso (Aglianico) – $20
- 2010 Montechiara Amarone della Valpolicella (Corvino Blend) – $25
- 2011 Luisi Barbera d’Asti (Barbera) – ($17)
- 2007 Rubbia al Colle Toscana IGT (61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 9% Syrah) – ($13)
- 2012 Rocche di Cusa Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab + Nero D’Avola) – ($15)
- 2009 Fattoria del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva (Sangiovese) – ($19)
- 2009 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico (Sangiovese) – $17)
- 2010 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT (Corvino Blend) – ($21)
- 2011 Straccali Chianti Classico (Sangiovese) – ($21)
The wines were scored based on 4 criteria (aroma, body, taste, and finish) - each on a scale of 1-5 (1-low; 5-high). Therefore minimum score = 4 point and maximum = 20 points
With a median score of 13.5pts
The runners-up were and scores in descending order were:
- 2012 Rocche di Cusa Cabernet Sauvignon (12.5 pts)
- 2011 Straccali Chianti Classico (12.3 pts)
- 2010 Montechiara Amarone della Valpolicella (12.0 pts)
- 2011 Luisi Barbera d’Asti (11 pts)
- 2010 Poderi Foglia Aglianico Gallucio Concarosso (10 pts)
- 2010 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT (10 pts)
- 2009 Fattoria del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva (10 pts)
- 2009 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico (9.8 pts)
Blind tastings are always fun, and there’s almost always a surprise of some sort. More often than not, it’s a $10 wine beating our a $25 wine. Not only did the lowest priced wine, but it was made from a blend of mostly (91%) Bordeaux grape varieties – definitely non-traditional Italian grapes.
Likewise for the second place wine, which was the second lowest price and made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon.
I think the obvious answer is that our tasters prefer the “New World”, rather than “Old World” style wines. Speaking from personal experience the more rustically styled Italian wine can take some getting used to.
Regardless of which style one prefers, I think everyone found a wine or two they really enjoyed, and got a chance to try something new (it was my first Amarone, and Aglianico) while expanding their wine knowledge. And isn’t that what a wine tasting club experience is all about?