Piedmont Dinner and Masterclass at Scopri 15/05/12

It is with a lot of pride I can write about the inaugural Wine Depository dinner which took place on Tuesday 15th May 2012.

The only thing prettier is a table full of wine.
The private room at Scopri. An ideal setting.

The goal was to have a casual and informative night on one of the worlds great regions: Piedmont. In many ways it is the Italian equivalent of Burgundy, but has a style and charm of its own.

The wines are imported by Peter Johns from Deja Vu and he kindly donated his time and came along to discuss the wines we had selected.

Scopri put together a magnificent menu to match the wines and came to the party by supplying a lot of glassware. Their wine service was second to none and I highly recommend a visit for any wine lover (yes they allow BYO).

You can see the brief notes I prepared for the evening and the order form if you are seriously tempted by what you’ve read. Orders can be emailed to philip@thewinedepository.com.au

Luigi Pira - polarising the wine lovers.
Pira – One of the modern masters of Piedmont.

On Arrival Zeppole al Formaggio – Parmesan Fritters

Paitin Roero Arneis 2009 Lovely drinking. Appley, floral, mealy, nice mid weight palate, zesty acidity and clean finishing. This matched brilliantly with parmesan fritters and showed the strength of the whites in the area.

Entree Fettuccine al Ragu Lucano – Handmade fettuccine with traditional three meat ragu

Brezza Fossati Dolcetto d’Alba 2008 Choosen to represent the Northern style of Dolcetto. Dry, compost, spice and cloves. Very earthy. The palate was dark, earthy with a stoney minerality. Nice structure too.

Luigi Pira Dolcetto d’Alba 2008 Representing Southern Cru Dolcetto. Red fruits, rose petals, meaty with a hint of ‘funky’ sulphides and terracotta notes.
The palate was dry, spicy and clean. Despite being light of weight it packed a fair punch of tannins which the fettuccine soaked up brilliantly.

Not as flashy as Nebbiolo, but much more accessable.
The first bracket of reds certainly set a high standard.

Brezza Barbera d’Alba Santa Rosalia 2009 Showing unoaked Barbera, this wine had the classic cherry & red berry with a hint of roses. The palate was plush, soft and easy drinking. It was a hint simple, but incredibly drinkable and enjoyable. |

Paitin Campolive Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2008 The superiore refers to a wine that has an extra level of ripeness – something that is celebrated in cold climates. This was definitely a step up in quality. It showed more density, earthy, graphite and tea leaf characters to balance out the red berry fruits. The palate made a nice tart element along with a pretty bergamot note. A really great example of Barbera.  

There seemed to be an even split between love for Barbera and Dolcetto at the table.

Mains Spezzatino Rustico di Capretto al Forno – Kid Goat baked ‘rustico’ with fresh grated pecorino.

This is a trio of awesome proportions.
The big show. Nebbiolo is definitely the pinnicle of Piedmont.
Bruno Giacosa Casa Vinicola Nebbiolo d’Alba 2009 A lovely entry point to Nebbiolo, but don’t let that fool you. This is a seriously good wine! Cherry, roses, tar, spice, waxy apple, earth and tea leaf. The palate showed silky red fruits, tart acidity and spices. It was long, lean and elegant. This is an excellent wine for the price!

Bruno Giacosa Casa Vinicola Barbaresco 2005 Despite its age this was just a baby. Dense, tea leaf, apple skin/waxy, tart red fruits. The palate was savoury, dry, mineral laden, and structured! Young and aggressive now, it was well balanced and has a great future ahead of it. It showed a great core of fruit and a lingering floral note on the finish. This was the most expensive wine on the table and it showed its pedigree really well.

Luigi Pira ‘Marenca’ Barolo 2005 Pira is a modern producer who uses new oak barriques in production of their top wines. This was a fair shift from the much more traditional Giacosa style that uses large format old oak. This really polarised the table, some loved it, some didn’t. The wine did really open up and change with air though.
Initially it showed a lot of oaky, coconut and vanilla notes. It really dominated the nose. With air some plums and cherry came through. The palate was tannic, dry and very youthful. This was just a baby and I believe it will age wonderfully. As was proved with the next wine.

Barbaresco, might be the lesser known brother of Barolo, but not inferior!
So elegant and refined.

Cheese & CoffeeFormaggi Misti – Selection of Italian Cheeses

Luigi Pira ‘Marenca’ Barolo 1998 This really shows how the Pira wines change with a bit of time. It was really tart, zesty, savoury, truffle, aniseed, earth and clay. The palate was silky with a tart mouthfeel. It was still quite young, but the balance was far better. This wine is approachable now but would benefit from about 5-10 (possibly more) years to really come together.

Patrizi Moscato d’Asti 2011 The traditional way to cleanse the palate after a meal before getting stuck into the Grappa. I was a hint sceptical at first, but after tasting it I have seen the light. This is a really lovely, fresh, vibrant slightly fizzy drink that is so refreshing. There was great balance between the grapey, floral notes, the light sweetness and the soft fizz. Contextually it was perfect and really easy drinking.

Brezza Grappa di Barolo NV There were more than a few turned up noses at the poor Grappa. It showed some obvious spirit character. But once you got beyond that you could see hints of the Nebbiolo that had been used to make it. The palate was really clean and I found my self reaching for one of the rejected glasses before too long.

Sadly, that was the end of the night. Apart from our quite old Taxi driver ‘educating’ us on the ‘brilliance’ of Justin Timberlake. But that is a story for another night…


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