Mon | Jul 26, 2021

Good friends, good food, and Italian wine

Published:Thursday | June 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The selection of wines sampled. (From left) Ripanuda Chianti, Masi Campofiorin, Amerone della Valpolicello Classico, Masi Bonacosta, and Bolla Chianti.
Claudine Miller enjoying a glass and possibly a bottle of Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio. - Contributed photos
Jason Clarke
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Jason Clarke, Contributor

Wine, like other things, is always best enjoyed in the company of friends. Recently, under the blanket of a starlit summer night with a slight view of the city lights, in true Italian fashion, a group of friends, aka wine club, had our very own Italian wine sampling.

With about nine different wines to sample, there is no better way to start a evening's festivities than with a cold Pinot Grigio. The Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio is light and refreshing, but really begins to come to life with the perfect munchies. Home-made bruschetta with fresh tomatoes added just the right balance to this wine with notes of peach and apple, which made it a superbly great way to kick-start the evening.

My fellow wine enthusiasts happen to be true red-wine lovers, so we quickly transitioned to reds. Chiantis, I have noticed, are fairly prevalent Italian wines on most supermarket shelves. Typically, you may notice Chianti, or Chianti Classico. Chianti is from the Tuscany region of Italy which is quite popular for its wines made predominantly from the Sangiovese grape. The Bolla Chianti, which has a slightly spicy taste of black cherries and plum, was a great second stop. To balance the equation, the Ripanuda Chianti Classico was a different experience because of its different blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. This Chianti Classico could simply be described as old school and more of a medium-bodied wine.

Masi Campofiorin is an intense red, with very intense cherry flavours, which was smooth and velvety enjoyed with aged cheese. The night progressed to a Masi Bonacosta, which was another medium red with very similar notes of cherries but subtle hints of vanilla. By now, the conversation is roaring and the air filled with laughter. Both these wines worked exceptionally well with pizza.

A night of great Italian wines could not be complete without one of the most revered and possibly most famous - Amerone, which is produced in the Valpolicello area of Veneto. Talk about an amazing wine, the Amerone della Valpolicello Classico DOCG is simply heaven in a glass. Swirling in my glass and taking its beautiful scent of jam and spice is just mind-blowing. This was by far the favourite of the night and, being the most expensive - understandably so. When paired with chorizo (sausage) I could begin to feel myself floating off to a state of bliss. For me, this full-bodied red wine is the definition of great Italian wine, perfectly balanced and very smooth.

Get some friends together and have your own wine night and share your experiences with me. To all the wine lovers and growing wine lovers, I raise my glass to you. Salute!

I am not an expert, merely a wine enthusiast sharing my thoughts and experiences. Feel free to share your own experiences at wineenthusiastja@gmail.com.