Tasting Report: VinItaly San Francisco, October 2009

Wandering around the crowded, poorly-organized, no-signs-anywhere VinItaly tasting of a rather random collections of Italian wines, a fellow attendee asked how I was liking the show. I remarked on the above and added that the program was of absolutely no help in any of this and the man smiled back, shrugged, and noted, “That’s the Italians!”

Sure enough, there were amazing gems to be found among the cheap Soave and Chianti being poured at this event — and if you could catch the attention of some of the famously long-winded Italian wine pourers, you might even get a chance to try some of it.

I sampled a mere 19 wines at this event, but they reflect a wide swath of Italian winemaking regions and styles. My favorites: Masi’s Amarone Costasera, a rich and nuanced example of Amarone and easily the best Amarone I tried during the event. Also was quite a fan of Avide’s Barocco, an intensely chocolate and vanilla-filled red that had many going back for seconds. La Togata’s reserve Brunello La Togata of Togati (hard to distinguish, bottle-wise, from its regular Brunello bottling) was also a winner, a huge wine with a big, creamy body and rich spiciness.

VinItaly 2009 Tasting Report

2008 Piera Martellozzo Pinot Grigio / B

2005 Vinea Trionfo Amarone / A-

2004 Vinea Fontana Antica Amarone / B

2006 Vinea Impero Amarone / A-

2007 La Togata Barengo / B+

2004 La Togata Brunello La Togata of Togati / A

2004 La Togata Brunello di Montalcino / A-

2005 Tenuta di Arceno Chianto Classico / B+

2005 Tenuta di Arceno Chianto Classico Riserva / A-

2005 Tenuta di Arceno Prima Voce / B

2004 Tenuta di Arceno Arcanum I / B

2005 Tenuta di Arceno Arcanum II / B-

2005 La Terrazze Sassi Neri Conero / A-

2003 Avide Barocco / A

2008 Masi Pinot Grigio Masianco / A-

2006 Masi Amarone Costasera / A

2006 Rivera Rupicolo / B

2008 Umani Ronchi Montelpulciano di Abruzzo / A-

2006 Montecappone Tabano / B+

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