Jane’s Gems: Valpolicella Wine Tasting Tour 2015

Oct 3 2015 Blogger Tour Wine Bottles

 A Taste of Italy, Romeo and Juliet, Shoe Shopping in Verona and Our Little Dessert

By Jane Staples

I went shoe shopping last week.  It wasn’t just any shopping spree, for, to begin with, I was in Verona, Italy.  Any woman who loves shoes will agree that Italy is the place to be if you want to buy shoes.

Now this was in fact a business trip, so my time was limited.  I had 4 days of intensive classes and our group stayed on an Agroturismo farm just outside the city (that is to say, not near any shoe stores).  The room was comfortable and quiet, the view outside my window lovely and the mother of the family baked cherry cake for our first breakfast, along with ham, Oct 3 2015 Jane & Friends in open carartisanal cheese, eggs, four kinds of homemade jam and freshly squeezed peach juice.  So I wasn’t complaining at all.

Each day started like this. Thus fortified, we would then tour several vineyards and wineries, finishing each visit with a masterclass and tasting of wines from the Veneto area.  The evenings were spent over leisurely multi-course dinners with wonderful wines. The Veneto region is known for bright fruity Valpolicellas, rich Ripassos, complex Amarones and a sweet dessert wine, Recioto.

Oct 3 2015 Blogger Tour Bread or Cheese

I should mention that in Italy, there is a delightful tradition of “pre-dessert” followed by dessert.  Of course, a champagne-filled chocolate served on ice is simply a palate cleanser and it is possible that a plate of artisanal cheese is served during the celebration of culinary art that occurs during dinner in Italy.  As our host nonchalantly mentioned, “ this is our little dessert”.

This wonderful trip was organized by The Consortium for the Tutelage of Valpolicella DOC Wines, based in Verona. The Consortium represents more than 80% of the wine producers in the Valpolicella appellation.

It promotes activities that celebrate the whole territory: the wine, Valpolicella history, its traditions, agroturism and the beautiful landscape of the area.  The Consortium has also developed a phone app, “ Valpolicella Wines App”, which is a great way to find the best restaurants  and wine bars.  It also provides space to record wine tasting notes and itineraries to help tourists explore the Valpolicella area.

I was pretty sure I was living my dream…wine, food, travel…  I was also brushing up on my Italian language skills.  So each morning, I greeted my colleagues with “Ciao, Buongiorno”.  Each time we drove through town, when I spotted a shoe store, I would say in a distinct voice “i scarpi”(shoes).  It became a refrain.

Oct 3 2015 Blogger Tour Bloggers

Verona is a charming city, famous for its Opera Festival each summer with performances in the ancient Roman Arena.  It is also famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.  In the old part of the city, you can see the balcony where Juliet waited to catch a glimpse of Romeo.  And of course, it is famous for wonderful wines.

From the first day to the last, I was moved by the common feeling amongst all the winemakers; the love of their history and the attachment to the land.  The beautiful wines of the Valpolicella region express their dedication and artistry.  As the poet Mario Saldati said, “Wine is the poetry of the earth”.

So you’re probably wondering about the shoes…

By the end of the week, my heart was full of happy memories and I had several new friends from the trip. On the way to the airport, I stopped and looked for shoes. With only one hour, I had to move quickly. Finally, I chose a pair of yellow ballerina flats, joyful and imaginative. They remind me of my wonderful week in Verona.

I will return someday.  Verona weaves a magic spell that is enchanting.  But next time, I’ll take an empty suitcase for “i scarpi”.


Villabella Cordevigo Bardolino Chiaretto DOC Classico Biologoco 2014 Veneto, ItalyVillabella Cordevigo Bardolino Chiaretto

A lovely pale apricot, pink in the glass, with grapefruit, lemon and apricot aromas.  The fresh palate shows tropical fruit and ripe apricot with a medium-bodied, silky, satiny mouth-feel.  Refreshing long finish.  Very food-friendly.

Alcohol: 12%
Sweetness: Medium
Bottle size: 750 ml
Drink: Now
Price: $23.00
Score: 92



Masimago Valpolicella Superiore  2012 Veneto, ItalyMasimago

Made from hand-harvested Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes, this Valpolicella Superiore is deep ruby red with good viscosity. The fragrant nose shows ripe cherry, vanilla and slight pepper, then the delicious palate echoes and adds slight herbal sage and rosemary. Dry and mouth-watering, with a medium spicy cherry finish.

Alcohol: 14.5%
Sweetness: Extra Dry
Bottle size: 750 ml
Price: $27.00
Drink: Now
Score: 91



Pasqua Villa Borghetti Passimento Rosso Regional Blended Red 2013 Veneto, ItalyPasqua

Named for Verona, the Italian city of passion and romance, this Rosso Veneto is a blend of Merlot 40%, Corvina 30% and Croatina 30%. Dark garnet with slow legs and a tantalizing nose of vanilla, dark cherries, baking spice, cloves, a touch of pepper and mocha. The delicious palate gives mocha, vanilla and ripe cherries. Extra dry, satiny and very harmonious, with a long spicy cherry finish.

Alcohol: 14 %
Sweetness: Extra dry
Bottle size: 750 ml
Drink: 2012-2015
Price: $11.95
Score: 91



Latium Morini Campo Dei Ciliegi Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2012 Veneto, ItalyLatium Morini

A dark garnet red Ripasso with good viscosity and a fragrant nose of vanilla, cherries and oak. The rich palate shows cherries, spice, leather, tobacco and oak in an extra dry, well-balanced mouth-feel and a long spicy cherry finish.

Alcohol: 14.5%
Sweetness: Extra dry
Bottle size: 750 ml
Drink: 2013-2016
Price: $19.95
Score: 90



Santa Sofia Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2009  Veneto, ItalySanta Sofia

Inviting aromas of dark stewed fruit, tobacco and oak, followed by an intense powerful palate that adds dried herbs and vanilla. Velvety, harmonious and full-bodied with a long, layered finish.
Tasted September 2015

Alcohol: 15%
Sweetness: Dry
Sweetness: Dry
Price: $49.95
Drink: 2015-2020
Score: 91


Jane StaplesJane Staples
Accredited Sommelier & Wine Writer

Jane graduated from Algonquin College’s Sommelier Program with the Gold Medal in Food and Wine Pairing and a score of 94.5% in the final exam.

She completed courses in Winetasting, Grape Varieties, Food and Wine Pairing, Old World Wines, New World Wines, Vinification and Advanced Sommelier Techniques. She also has a BA from the University of Toronto.

Jane is a principal wine columnist for nataliemaclean.com, with this regular column, as well as for her own site, bellovino.ca. Jane is also the regular wine columnist for Ottawa Wedding Magazine and also writes for Alive Magazine.

Jane provides sommelier services and tastings for private functions, and is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian.



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