Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tasting Tenuta Maggiore

Tenuta MaggioreTenuta Maggiore

Tenuta MaggioreTenuta Maggiore

Tenuta MaggioreTenuta MaggioreTenuta Maggiore

Tenuta MaggioreTenuta Maggiore

Tenuta MaggioreTenuta Maggiore

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Nohkrin Wines to taste wines from Tenuta Maggiore, a producer in the Lombardy region of Italy. Interesting for me, as I had virtually no experience with Lombardy wines; this tasting was going to be my introduction to the region. A representative of the winery was there, as was a local wine writer. Tenuta Maggiore is not yet represented in Ontario.

Lombardy is in north Italy, neighbouring the great regions Piemonte and Barbaresco. The region is known mostly for its most famous city - Milano - rather than its wines. Vinously, the region is noted for its sparkling wines made in the Franciacorta and Oltrepò Pavese areas; red, white and rosé wines are also produced. More background to this region is better described here: Wine Lovers Page, Cellar Tours, Food & Wine.

Tenuta Maggiore produces quite a large portfolio of wines, from sparkling to still, and from a wide range of varietals. Founded in 1850 by an officer of the Kingdom of Savoy (hence its name), it produces about 5 million bottles a year. With 56 hectares of its own vineyards, they lease and operate another 150 hectares, exporting about 82% of its production. Its main markets are Germany, Scandinavia, Russia, the U.S. and Japan, with Hong Kong and Mainland China on the horizon. The two lines in the portfolio are the Sentito line and the more premium varietal line, proprietarily named (Cielia, La Pianta, Parsilone). Guido was certainly an interesting character, starting off the tasting with No one in the world can compare with our varietal wines.

What I was most interested in tasting were the two sparkling wines, as well as the local varietal croatina, and the nebbiolo. The wines are all priced below $20. As can be expected from this pricepoint tier, regional/varietal specificities are not readily apparent. No surprises there, but I don't see anyone being disappointed by the wines. We tasted mostly young wines, beginning with the sparkling wines, then the Sentito line, then the 3 premium red wines. They were: Pinot Noir Spumante Brut; Moscato Spumante Brut; Sentito Malvasia; Sentito Pinot Grigio; Sentito Cortese; Sentito Pinot Noir; Sentito Barbera; Sentito Croatina; Cielia Nebbiolo; La Pianta Cabernet Sauvignon; Parsilone Croatina. Please email or leave comments if you'd like the tasting note for any of the wines. In the end though, when you deal with these types of wines, who cares whether it's IGT or DOC, or what grape varietal is labelled. That Roman orgy label is all that really matters.

Much appreciation to the Nohkrins for inviting me, and Tenuta Maggiore for showing the wines; new perspective about modern Italian wines is always helpful. And the prosciutto served was delicious.


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