Words: Henry Yuen
Fortunately for me, Valpolicella came this way! The Director of the wine consortium of Valpolicella, Olga Bussinello was in Vancouver and hosted a tasting session of all manners of Valpolicella wines and this time, I was one of the first to show up.
As with any business, the importance of trade association to facilitate, lobby and promote the trade is never undermined. The gathering of forces and having a strong voice continue to help secure long term benefits. Formed in 1924, The Consortium for the Tutelage of Valpolicella DOC Wines is an association serving 80% of grape growers, wineries, winemakers and bottlers in the 19 municipalities of the Verona province under the DOC & DOCG designations of wines. Dating back to ancient Greek and Romans eras, Valpolicella has long history of crafting wines. However, only after the formation of the Consortium the concerted efforts to improve the wine quality took place, and gradually led them to international recognitions.
To introduce us to the different varieties of Valpolicella wine styles, Olga Bussinello selected four wines to pair with the dinner at the Glowbal Telus Garden. First up was the Valpolicella DOC Classico 2015 (Scriani) to pair with Fresh Garden Salad. Fresh, savoury and juicy upon entry with a tingle of herbs and spices surfacing to charm the finish. Definitely a good example of a young wine ideal for immediate consumption and a palate teaser for bigger wines to come. Next up was the Cantina Valpantena Verona, Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2013 Torre del Falasco to go with Rabbit Three Ways. Earthy, leafy and a mist of forest floor and red fruits aroma for a medium-bodied wine with balanced acidity . Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2012 Campo del Ciliegi spilled soft tannins laced with black berries, dry plum and hints of spices. A tantalizing wine with layers to sip with the Roasted Venison Loin. After all the talk about what Amarone was, the classic Amarone hand-picked by Olga was poured. The Tinazzi, Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2012 Ca’ de Rocchi La Bastia was a perfect fit to go with the Slow Cooked Lamb Belly. This full-bodied robust wine offered beautiful velvety tannins yet not too sweet. Brushed with dry herb and berries aroma, this very pleasant wine was indeed a wow factor provider and prompted everyone to ask for a quick refill.While the four wines we tasted were only a tiny representation of all things Valpolicella wines, nevertheless we felt that all the styles tasted were really approachable and unpretentious. The only challenge is to remember their long names and making sure the spelling are correct!