The Hon. Joe Volpe, Publisher
TORONTO - At the Corriere, we receive many requests to attend at or cover wine presentations of wines. Most of these are from agencies and/or distributors who are [rightly] interested in having the public become aware of their product.
Some of them are organized through a government agency (Italian). You have probably been to some of them. They have their value. It is always stimulating to learn about new products. After a while, though…
Franco Misuraca insisted that this invitation on behalf of Cipelli Wines, the Promoter and Distributer of the Zenato Wineries product line (from la Tenuta S.Cristina in San Benedetto di Lugana, near Lago di Garda), would be different. He was right.
First, and importantly, it was about the wines, notwithstanding the opulence of the locale. Similarly, the “dinner” was especially prepared to stimulate and excite the flavour buds most suited to bringing out the “taste” of the wines. The food served as a means of “washing away” the taste of the previous wine and to usher in that of the next – it was not envisioned to distract from the wine itself. It did not.
Second, it was about “experiencing the wine”. From the moment guests arrived, they were served just the right amount of wine as an introduction - the wines offered according to a pre-arranged graduation of character (the quality per category was, to say the least, impeccable). There were no “refills”; instead, the subsequent wine was presented for differentiation.
By the time we sat to begin the “dinner” accompaniment portion, we had already savoured the pleasures of the LUGANA SAN BENEDETTO DOC and LUGANA BRUT, this generated by the fruit of Trebbiano di Lugana grapes exclusively.
You can imagine that the organization and management of the event was not left to chance. The servers for the roughly 70-80 guests must have been especially selected for their ability to remember who had already imbibed what and in which measures.
The Master of Ceremonies, Vincenzo Sposito was unobtrusive, yet timely in his explanations and introductions. The Master Chef, Christopher Thompson (despite his name, an Italian lad with origins in the Lago di Garda area) seemed to produce just the right quantity, variety, and consistency of “pietanze” to enhance the wine about to be poured. We were transitioned into the first course with S. CRISTINA CHARDONNY GARDA DOC, followed by LUGANA RISERVA DOC Sergio Selection to delight our senses.
The real star(s) of the event for me, though, were the red wines: ALANERA ROSSO VERONESE IGT, the VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE DOC “RIPASSA” (served in the Second course), the SANONINA MERLOT IGT and the AMARONE (della Valpolicella) CLASSICO DOC during the third course, and , closing the dessert with the AMARONE RISERVA DOCG Sergio Selection. They were like thoroughbred performers specifically trained to delight.
They came, as one can guess, with their director/producer/manager/vintner, Alberto Zenato. He explained in the minutest of detail, for those interested, the biology, environmental and chemical interactions, and the technological adaptations and developments from vine to wine for each sample of the finished product.
A personable and accommodating individual exuding the personality of one whose attention and firmness of in his business was directed to ensure that his creations would live up to expectations.
A teacher, storyteller, he brimmed with pride as if to say: here is why “these wines are kings”.
Like Franco, he, too, was right.