Yesterday evening witnessed a special wine tasting event, organised by our partner Puglian Pleasures, at the fabulous Enoteca Argentieri. The focus of the evening’s event was the wine made by the Tinazzi family who we first came across last year at their Feudo di Santa Croce vineyard. The family own estates in both Puglia and Veneto and this evening was billed as a Nord vs Sud battle. From the South we tasted three wines from the estate at Feudo Croce. Whilst the North was represented by two wines from the Ca’ de’ Rocchi line and one from Tenuta Valleselle. Who would win this epic battle?
We opened proceedings with the first wine from the South: Montease, a fresh, vibrant chardonnay with a crisp, slightly acidic, green apple taste. This was especially well received by the Italian members of the party (who actually scored it as the best wine of the evening!) although I have to say that I personally prefer Alea (malvasia bianca) produced by the same estate. This was followed by the first offering from the North: Campo Delle Rose which, as its name suggests, is a rosato; a salmon pink Bardolino Chiaretto (blended from the corvina, rondinella and molinara grape varieties) with a long raspberry finish.
Round two saw us move onto the first of the reds. First up for the South: Malnera, a blend of merlot and malvasia near grapes, rich in colour and loaded with red fruits. It is a very good wine, especially given the price (the cheapest of the evening’s reds by a fair distance) that would really come into its own with a good steak and kidney pie with extra gravy! We followed this with the North’s response: Monterè, a Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso (another blend of corvina, rondinella and molinara grapes) which was quite spectacular. This is the wine that comfy leather armchairs were invented for – just sit back, relax and enjoy!
We entered the final round with North and South neck and neck – the air was thick with tension, which region would win??? The South pulled out its joker: Imperio LXXIV (recently rebranded from Celebration LXXIV) which, as I mention all the time(!), has the honour of having been selected in Wine Spectator magazine’s Top 100 wines of the world in 2014 and 2015. It is a great primitivo full of matured, almost jammy, fruits with a hint of balsamic. The North needed a strong response: Aureum Acinum, an Amarone della Valpolicella Classico (corvina, corvinone, rondinella & molinara grapes) weighing in at a hefty 15% and the most expensive of the wines we tasted during the evening. It hit all the right notes as the different layers of taste released themselves – dark berries, followed by cherry and ending in dark chocolate.
The bout would go to a judge’s decision. As the scorecards for the individual wines came in it was clear that the decision was going to be close and that also there was some discrepancy between the views of the Italian and the British tasters. However, to keep the suspense going a little, first up here is the list of the individual wines in order of preference (left to right in the picture below): 6th – Campo delle Rose; 4th equal – Malnera & Montease; 3rd – Imperio; 2nd – Aureum Acinum and 1st – Monterè.
You might be forgiven for thinking that by occupying the first two spots this would mean that an easy victory for the North was assured. However, we actually had a split decision. the Italian voters scored the battle 53-50 in favour of Sud! Whilst the Brits scored it 70-66.5 in favour of the North. In the end the result came down to a difference of just 0.5 points, with the final score being 120-119.5 in favour of…..THE NORTH!!!!
It was a brilliant evening, enjoyed by all, many thanks indeed to our hosts at the wine shop, our superb sommelier for the evening, Val for organising and of course to the Tinazzi family for putting together such a great selection of wines!