The Tomato

Wine Maven

by Mary Bailey

Vina Falernia

Vina Falernia

Giorgio Flessati, winemaker of Vina Falernia, visited Edmonton in February to tell us more about their vineyards in the Elqui Valley, north of Santiago, reminding of the great value and high quality of wines from Chile. Highlights—a really fresh Sauv Blanc and a lovely Carmenere Reserva made with a portion of semi-dried grapes —appasimento— a technique used in making Amarone (among other wines) to bring softness and richness to the wine. Vina Falernia Pedro Ximenez, Syrah Reserva, Carmenere Reserva and the single vineyard Syrah are available at Sherbrooke and other fine wine shops.

Poli Marconi 46 Gin Jacopo

Poli Marconi 46 Gin Jacopo

Poli is well known for grappa. The Marconi 46 is their first foray into that other aromatic white spirit, gin. It’s practically handmade in the Crysopea, a specially- built, water-bath vacuum still. It smells so good we don’t know if we are to drink it or date it—warm notes of juniper, cardamom and coriander, cool mountain pine and mint, with sweet Muscat fruit. Have it in a cocktail at Bar Bricco.

Valentina Abbona

Valentina Abbona

Valentina Abbona of her family’s Marchese di Barolo estate visited earlier this year for a tasting at Bar Bricco. The wines were a delicious match for the array of cheeses and salumi served, beautifully balanced, elegant rather than hearty—sublime examples of their region Piemonte. The Dolcetto has a heady fragrance, plummy, tart and fresh, with juicy acidity. The 2010 Tradizionale Barolo is a blend of several vineyards, with generous flavours, lots of fruit and a medium finish. The 2011 Cannubi single vineyard Barolo (practically in the centre of the town of Barolo, partly sandy soil, 16 producers share Cannubi) is concentrated, elegant, floral, complex, with scents and flavours of mushroom, velvet and roses. The Barbaresco, elegant with lovely violet and handbag leather aromas, what you drink when you are waiting for the Barolos to age.

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Sean Boyd of Rotie Cellars
Sean Boyd of Rotie Cellars loves the wines of the Rhone Valley made from Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre, Viognier, Rousanne and Marsanne. He wanted to make wine in Washington State. So he set about finding the best place to do that—it had to be warm enough, Grenache in particular doesn’t like it under 10 degrees. His search eventually led to the creation of a new AVA, with rocks like Chateauneuf du Pape, in the rain shadow, possessing ancestral river beds with basalt breaking through due to ancient tectonic uplift. Yes, Sean Boyd has a geology background. The Southern White, Viognier, Roussane and Marsanne with a bit of Grenache Blanc, has a fresh and subtle musky spice with floral and yellow fruits, lemon and yuzu citrus flavours, an interesting oily texture and slightly resinous flavours, juicy acidity, gorgeous balance and a long finish. The Northern Blend Red had great tension with white pepper, berry fruit, subtle herb. The wines were tasted with a terrific menu at a wine dinner at The Marc. Find Rotie Cellars wines on The Marc’s list and at better wine shops.

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2013 Rosario Ermilinda Freitas

2013 Rosario Ermilinda Freitas

Here’s a great value red to get us through the gales of March—2013 Rosario Ermilinda Freitas—a tasty blend of indigenous Portuguese grapes, Touirga Nacional and Castelao along with some Syrah and Cab Sauv. Expect juicy red fruit with firm, ripe tannins and lots of flavour. A delicious buy that rings in under $16.

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