Yet these wines were the supreme standouts of the event:
Jean Luc Colombo is a renowned producer in the Rhone and Provence of France. The highlight of his lineup was his single-vineyard Cornas. The Terres Brulees” 2006 was beautiful, medium-bodied with blackberry, black currant, licorice and tobacco notes; an elegant Syrah. The “La Louvee” 2006 scores fuller body and lusher fruit, with more power and complexity throughout. And the remarkable “Les Ruchets” 2006 is multi-dimensional, full-bodied, and concentrated with black fruit, herbs, spices, and a touch of vanilla for good measure. Jean-Luc was there, and I had hoped to meet with him, but when I saw him, he was having an intense conversation (in French of course) with his wife so I thought not to intrude. It was the wine world equivalent of standing next to Jeff Beck in my book.
Anselmi, once one of the big 3 in Soave, has since used Chardonnay to give richer, fuller flavor to their wines (and subsequently following Gaja in becoming a declassified, single-vineyard producer). The Capitel Foscarino 2007 is a blend of Garganega and Chardonnay that is full of honeyed tropical fruits and citrus notes, with stone fruit flavors carrying through to the finish. The Capitel Croce is 100% Garganega, showing creamier textures and denser fruit character. The I Capitelli is a sexy, hedonistic dessert version of Garganega, with supple honey and baked apple flavors, intermingling with apricot and white peach. All three of these, along with the entry-level San Vincenzo, are phenomenal Italian white wines not to be missed.
A couple of stunning Italian wines: the Ferrari Reserve Giulio 1999 is a spectacular sparkling wine from Trentino. One of the best sparklers I have had from anywhere (including Champagne) in quite awhile. The Feudi di San Gregorio Patrimo 2005 is a remarkable 100% Merlot I would put against Cheatau Petrus anyday. Just had the most exceptional finish. The Zisola Doppiozeta 2006 is brand new from the Mazzei family’s Sicilian venture. Powerful blend of Nero d’Avola, Syrah and Cabernet Franc! Their first vintage of this soon-to-be-classic. And from San Patrignano, the Montepirolo 2003 is a straight-up Bordeaux-styled blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc that was big, bold, dense and absolutely delicious.
Many thanks to all at Palm Bay International and all of the winemakers who presented their wares to a overly-enthusiastic throng of winos and devotees.