The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2015

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20  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2015 SAN FRAN INSIDER A prima vista [at first sight] is an Italian saying that typically applies to love, or—in our case—a first encounter with an Italian wine and its maker. A trio of producers from Italy's pristine Alto Adige region— Tobias Zingerle, Martin Hoffstätter and Ines Giovanett—were in town for a masterclass led by Tim Gaiser, MS at Epic Roasthouse. "Alto Adige is a four-dimensional region," said Gaiser, who shed some light on the Adige Valley's diverse terroirs—white volcanic pryazinic soils of the northeast, glacial soils or scree around Bolzano, calcareous clay of the cooler southeastern slopes and the crystalized porphyry rock found at Cantina Terlano. Each producer addressed a flight of four like-variety wines that included current and older vintages: Zingerle, his own Kaltern Caldero Pinot Biancos and those of Cantina Terlano; Hoffstätter, his Gewürztraminer and those of Tramin; Giovanett's Girlan Pinot Noir and examples from Castelfelder. Intensity, minerality and purity are hallmarks for these wines, with oak play- ing a secondary role. Gaiser remarked on the diversity of Pinot Noir styles as rang- ing from Volnay to Central Otago. As Chiantis classified under the new Gran Selezione category begin making their way to market, Ruffino's Gabriele Tacconi made a rare visit to San Francisco for the release of the 2010 Reserva Ducale Oro. Tacconi, who joined Ruffino in 1998 and became Chief Winemaker in 2009, is a clear supporter of the new category that is based on time in the cellar in lieu of single vineyards. "It's a way of making an initial cut so we can further refine the Classico region," he said. Oro ages in cement and has savory, precise flavors that mirror aromas of black tea, roses, a ferrous minerality, graphite, red cherries and dried herbs. The Brunello wines of Count Francesco Marone Cinzano's Col d'Orcia, his organic Montalcino estate named for the Orcia River that runs at the bottom of the St. Angelo hill, grow in calcium-laden alkaline soils that transmit vintages like a window. During a tasting of current releases and older vintages held at Sociale, the 2010 Col d'Orcia Brunello showed dusty minerality, plum skin, leather and cedar with a long, equally complex finish. Cinzano generously included three vintages of the single vineyard Poggio al Vento (windy height). The oldest, 2001, was a linear study in umami, earthy minerality, young, fruity Pu-erh tea and forest floor. 2004 was broader and richer, with caramel notes and more intensity on the finish, while 2006 was well-knit with leather, cherry, earth and anise seed. A Prima Vista IT'S LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT AS ITALIAN WINEMAKERS HEAD TO SAN FRANCISCO story and photos by Deborah Parker Wong Tobias Zingerle, Martin Hoffstätter and Ines Giovanett with Tim Gaiser, MS at Epic Roasthouse. Col d'Orcia's Francesco Marone Cinzano (right) with Kim Beto, VP of Key Accounts with Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California, included a vertical of his single vineyard Poggio al Vento during a tasting of current releases at Sociale. During a rare visit to the Bay Area, winemaker Gabriele Tacconi shared Ruffino's Gran Selectione 2010 Reserva Ducale Oro.

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