In this episode of IntoWineTV, host Lisa Kolenda and wine experts Rob Renteria, Cezar Kusik, and Bartholomew Broadbent convene at one of San Francisco's finest restaurants, Incanto, to taste and discuss Italian Whites.
Theme: Italian Whites
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2007, $25, Region: Alto Adige
Bollini Pinot Grigio 2008, $15, Region: Trentino
Caposaldo Pinot Grigio 2008, $9, Region: Veneto
Alcohol: Santa Margherita 12%, Bollini 13.5%, Caposaldo 12.5%
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Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Notes:Santa Margherita introduced Pinot Grigio in 1980, and has become one of America's favorite premium wines. Recently voted the most popular imported wine, red or white, in top restaurants for the 13th consecutive year (Wine & Spirits 4/08), Santa Margherita remains a favorite among wine enthusiasts for its crisp, ripe character and consistent quality. Pinot Grigio was an unknown varietal in the United States in 1979 when Tony Terlato, then a young importer of Italian wines, went to Italy in search of the "next great white wine". He believed that as Americans' appreciation and knowledge of fine wines continued to grow, there would be demand for a complex, high-quality white wine. At a Milan hotel, Tony tasted a Pinot Grigio with a medium body, an elegant aroma that was fruity and spicy, and a crisp taste--he knew he had found his grape. He changed his travel plans and immediately drove to the small town of Portoguaro in Northern Italy's Alto Adige region, the premier area for growing Pinot Grigio. Upon arriving, Tony sat down at a small restaurant in a local inn and ordered 18 bottles of Pinot Grigio off of the wine list. Seeing the wealth of wines at a table with only one diner, the inn's proprietor joined him, and they tasted through the wines, testing each bottle against a variety of foods. By the conclusion of the dinner, they agreed on the best wine at the table: Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. As is the nature of small-town life in Italy, the inn's proprietor knew the owners of Santa Margherita. The next day Tony met with Santa Margherita's president, Count Marzotto. When he left that evening, Terlato Wines International (then Paterno Imports) was the sole importer. Back in the United States, Terlato made Santa Margherita a mainstay on wine lists in the nation's finest restaurants. Today, as Pinot Grigio has become the most popular imported wine in America, Santa Margherita continues to be the varietal's standard-bearer of quality, and Tony Terlato has been widely-recognized as the father of Pinot Grigio. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is the benchmark by which all other Pinot Grigios are judged. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio was named the leading Italian wine and continues to be requested by name. Its crisp, elegant character makes it versatile for a wide array of cuisines.
Bollini Pinot Grigio Notes: The Trentino zone lies within Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy's northernmost wine producing region. Trentino, a sub-zone of the southern Valdadige appellation, is comprised of several non-contiguous vineyard areas running north and south parallel to the Adige River. Their hillside exposition, stony, alluvial soils and cool, dry highland climate converge to produce ideal conditions for aromatic white vine varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, resulting in a crisply defined, fruity style. The Pinot Grigio grape, a variety with dusky purple skin and white pulp, was the result of a genetic color mutation of the noble Pinot Nero, or Pinot Noir, variety. Like its relative, the Pinot Grigio may be vinified as a rosé (but not as a red) wine if left in brief contact with the skins during fermentation. The cool, even climate of Trentino is particularly well-suited to the Pinot Grigio variety, lending it a characteristic personality and especially fragrant, perfumed bouquet. Bollini Pinot Grigio is produced at vinification facilities near the city of Trento from hand picked grapes grown in superbly exposed, meticulously cultivated hillside vineyards. Overseen by consulting oenologist Franco Bernabei and styled according to the specifications of Neil Empson, the wine is crafted by winemakers trained at the nearby Istituto Agrario Provinciale di San Michele all'Adgio, renowned for its oenological research.
Caposaldo Pinot Grigio Notes:Pinot Grigio is Italy’s most well-known white wine and is synonymous with Northeastern Italy, where this varietal shows its best expression. A small boutique producer, Antonio Fattori produces Caposaldo’s flagship Pint Grigio from select hillside vineyards. This wine has a fresh, vibrant character that is sought after in the best quality wines of this grape. Caposaldo was created in honor of the Roman Empire’s most famous racing horse of the Circus Maximus. Competing for an astounding 24 years and winning 1,500 of his over 4,000 races this horse gained the favor of Emperor Nero, who anointed the horse “Caposaldo”. In today’s modern world the classic icon of the horse still resonates as a symbol of superior achievement and quality. Standing as a benchmark of classic Italian wines from select regions of Italy, Caposaldo blends the best of a family / hand crafted artisanal approach to wine making with modern quality standards and techniques. The Caposaldo product line includes a handcrafted Pinot Grigio and Chianti, as well as a Prosecco.
Rob Renteria, Wine Director at Napa Valley's Martini House.
Bartholomew Broadbent, CEO of Broadbent Selections. Bartholomew was named as one of the "fifty most influential people in the wine world" by Decanter Magazine. He is also widely considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on Port and Madeira. Learn more about Bartholomew Broadbent.
Location: Incanto Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, Situated in the heart of one of San Francisco's most charming residential neighborhoods, Incanto's rustic Italian setting, with its handcrafted stone, antique brick and woodwork, 16th century Latin parchments, and private dining room dedicated to poet Dante Alighieri, provides a uniquely warm and inviting dining environment.
Incanto's daily-changing menu honors old-world traditions including house-cured meats, unusual regional pastas, fresh local seafood and a commitment to sustainably grown and harvested produce. Incanto's award-winning wine program features one of the most diverse Italian wine lists in the United States and an ever-changing lineup of more than twenty wines by the glass, half-glass, half-liter, and flight.