Friday, March 15, 2013


An Odyssey of Wine 2013

Paolo of Palari (and Banfi)
Hong Kong Jockey Club
Happy Valley
Learning about the different soils via Debra's scarves
Yesterday producers, importers, distributors, and writers alike, came together for a tasting all about Sicilian wines.  It began with a Master Class led by Debra Meiburg MW. 

She taught us about macro and micro climates, varietals, soils, and trends that have effected Sicily throughout history.
Lauren and VIP Bill in class
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and produces 14% of all of Italy's wine! 200,000 hectares of plantings.  That's twice the size of all of Hong Kong!

The soils range from dark and fertile volcanic in the East to limestone and sandy colored in the West.

The hot Scirocco winds from the South West heat the coast, dehydate the land, and create dust. 

So what did we drink?

Started with Luna Sicana, Luna Y Sol 2011.  Sparkling Nero d'Avola made using the Charmat method (same as Prosecco).  This was fresh and fruity with pear and apple flavours dominating.  Not Champagne, but I don't think it claims to be either.

No 2.  Bentanti, Rovitello, Etna (volcano) Rosso DOC 2007.  This was my second favorite of the 6 wines tasted and a new grape for me; Nerello Mascalese.  It had a cool ashy/charcoal-iness to it that I was into.  And at 14% it's a good start to your evening!

The next 2 Nerello Mascaleses to follow were too astringent for me, so I'm going to skip to my favourite of the tasting; Palari, Faro DOC 2007.  This was also a Nerello Mascalese, but spent time in new small oak.  Lovely strawberry and cherry flavors that was both structured and elegant.  Word.

We ended with Gregorio de Gregorio, Enjambee Rosso 2010.  This was quite purple, light, with high tannin which Debra explained was natural grape tannin as the wine spent zero time in oak.  Interesting.

Then it was time to head downstairs to try one of the roughly 40 other Sicilian wines.  I would approximate I probably tasted 30 of them.  Well done.

I think everyone's favorite of the day was in line with our favourite from the master class:
Palari Santa Ne Sicilia IGT 2007.  This is made from a blend of....of....well no one knows as the vines were planted over 70 years ago and are a mix of whatever was planted then!  This was rich with subtle hints of toffee.
Hills on the Palari vineyard

Spadafora dei Principi di Spadafora  had a lovely Grillo (white), which I really liked too.  Then there was a short supply of a dessert wine that was quite delicious.  Bernati Moscato Passito.

I can't forget to mention the olive oils.  Shots of olive oil, no joke, and they were amazing.  Shoot the youth down your throat.  Olive oil is the key to staying young, and my best friend's mom is a testament to this.  60+ and she doesn't look a day over 30 with zero plastic surgery.  You heard it here kids, olive oil!

Have a wonderful sunny weekend!  And if you have a chance, pop by the Island East Market this Sunday for a taste of what we're pouring!

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