I went to a different tasting this week, one that I don't particularly enjoy. It's crowded, there tends to be a lot of wine, and most of it's a little pricy for me (and I don't think most of it justifies the price). Ideally at a wine tasting, there needs to be enough space for people to sit and contemplate a wine, or if you're showing a lot of wines, have several people presenting two or three wines a piece at separate stations, so that you can actually pay attention to what you're tasting. Here we had two people pouring fifteen wines and it was in such a small room that you had to fight your way to the front, get a splash of wine, and retreat to the back of the room to stand around and try to figure out what you're drinking. I don't know if I'll go back to this one unless I'm really into the region or theme that's being showcased.
I'll provide links where possible, but this is going to be a very abbreviated set of notes. The theme was Italy, namely the northern regions of Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto. Also, I've linked to a lot of reviews rather than vintner websites, as these are from pretty small producers.
While I don't have a lot of nice things to say about these wines, I'm sure most of them would taste fine with a proper meal. On their own, it's difficult to run through fifteen wines in a short period of time, and due to the high levels of tannins in the reds, my tongue was fairly numb by the end. I'll also admit that I don't know a lot about highbrow Italian wines; I've been focusing on France, California, and Australia for the past year.
Wine 1: 2003 Inama Soave. Tart and crisp white wine, lacking in complex flavor. $14.
Wine 2: 2002 Valditerra Gavi. White wine; dry and musky with a slight aroma of bananas. Not bad. $24.
Wine 3: 2002 Icardi Cortese. White wine, my only note was "boring as hell". $16.
Wine 4: 2001 H.Lun Muller-Thurgau. This region is a little weird--Alto Adige used to be part of Austria, and German is still natively spoken there. This white wine was lightly sweet and smooth. $19.
WIne 5: 2003 H. Lun Riesling. (Link goes to a review of the 2001 vintage, but provides useful information on the winery and region.) Not bad, some of that musky riesling flavor, but dry and easily drinkable. I don't know if I'd go out of my way to pick this over a German riesling, but it's definitely interesting. $19.
Wine 6: Braida Moscato d'Asti. I love this variety. Lightly sparkling, great aromas and flavors of honey, delicious. $20.
(Note: all of the following wines are red)
Wine 7: 2003 Parusso Dolcetto Pian Noce. Some hearty toast aromas on top, light tannins, smooth. $23.
(Another note: every wine from here on had really heavy tannins)
Wine 8: 2002 Parusso Barbera Ornati. Bright cherry flavors, well balanced. $26.
Wine 9: 2003 Icardi Barbera d'Asti. I thought this had a very harsh finish. Nothing special otherwise. $17.
Wine 10: 2002 Parusso Nebbiolo. I don't remember anything special about this wine. $29.
Wine 11: 2000 Seghesio Barolo. Smoother than the other selections, but these wines are supposed to be amazing in the 10-20 year old range. Don't know if I'd pay this price for this wine. $55.
Wine 12: 2001 DaVinci Chianti Riserva. The one wine red out of the month that I really enjoyed, and might actually purchase. Softer tannins, none of that cheap chianti flavor. $22.
Wine 13: 1997 Vito Arturo Sangiovese. Blecch. I've had many old wines and expensive wines, but neither of those automatically mean that they taste good. Slightly sour, a faint aroma of brett, and I poured out most of my sample. Possibly a flawed bottle that no one wanted to speak up about, or maybe I'm just way off base. I typically love sangiovese wines, though. $100 (1.5L).
Wine 14: 2000 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre. Supposedly a classic wine, but I wasn't impressed, though I don't think I could taste anything by this stage. $23.
Wine 15: 2000 Bottega Vinaia Pinot Noir. So this wine contained much of what I dislike about Italian wines and nothing that I like about pinot noir. Eh. $19.