Question: Is Trebbiano a respected white grape variety?
Answer: Well yes & no! Lots of respect for Trebbiano Abruzzese when it is timely harvested in the Abruzzo region of central eastern Italy producing a very good white wine indeed. However, generally there are just too many versions of Trebbiano that are mass-produced from high yields into simple table wines that are not impressive. Also somewhat confusing as many Trebbiano grapes globally go under different names like Ugni Blanc in France – including for brandy and Cognac production.
The Gambero Rosso International are on their 2023 World Tour stopping in Vancouver on Friday June 2, 2023. Their extensive Vini D’Italia 2023 yearly (now 26th edition since 1988) Wine Guide is out claiming to review the amazing total of 2626 wineries in Italy of 25421 wines with 455 Tre Bicchieri (3 Glass) awards. Also includes a useful Vintage Guide by region that interestingly shows for this Century the very highest ratings for both Barolo & Barbaresco in only 2016, 2013, 2010, and 2001. They presented a special Masterclass of 12 representative Italian wines conducted by Senior Editor Marco Sabellico:
VILLA SANDI: Cartizze Brut La Rivetta 2022-Veneto. Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG Extra Brut (only 3g/l sugar- new trend)
TENUTA BORGO CONVENTI: Collio Bianco Luna di Ponca 2019-Friuli Venezia Giulia. Blend Friulano Chardonnay & Malvasia – elegant 13.7 abv
MONVIERT: FCO Ribolla Gialla Ris. 2019- Friuli Venezia Giulia. Autoctono grape variety on 100% Ribolla Gialla vines planted 2000-Dry
ITALO CESCON: Madre 2019-Veneto. Organic Manzoni Bianco is balanced with vitality and lees aging
FRESCOBALDI: Chianti Rufina Terraelectae V. Montesodi 2019-Tuscany. Sangiovese at 400 metres on schist soils shows ripe freshness.
SAN FELICE: Chianti Classico 2020-Tuscany. Value for full body cherry/plum Sangiovese
FAMIGLIA CECCHI: Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Villa Rosa 2018- Tuscany. 15 months French oak with good spice acidity. No rush.
TENUTE DEL CERRO: Nobile di Montepulciano Silineo 2019-Tuscany. Full rich and creamy at a reasonable price.
POGGIO LE VOLPI: Baccarossa 2020-Lazio. Lots of colour from Nero Buono grape variety. Ripe balsamico styling.
TORREVENTO: Castel del Monte Rosso V. Pedale Ris. 2016- Puglia. Nero di Troia planted in vineyards shows a warmer, richer, more generous body in a slightly rustic character. Approachable now.
TORRACCIA DEL PIANTAVIGNA: Ghemme 2015-Piedmont. Excellent value region on the move after Roberto Conterno’s purchase of Nervi Gattinara in 2018. LIghter than the Sangiovese with a big tannic presence requiring patience. Here 90% Nebbiolo + 10% Vespolina.
GIACOMO BORGOGNO & FIGLI: Barolo Ris. 2015-Piedmont. More depth of Nebbiolo fruit with structure and patient ageability needed. Some finesse on the nose is already slowly developing in the glass. More time needed to come together.
Question: What about 2023 Spring frosts in North American vineyards?
Answer: Yes, frost is becoming an increasingly difficult issue almost everywhere for grape growing vineyards. Earlier bud break and shoot growth makes the vines more susceptible than before to dangerous Spring frost-freezing damage. Check out the last decade in Chablis. Losses vary a lot by individual vineyard sites but at least grape vines are able to produce a second bloom compared to fruit trees – like apple & peach – which can’t. The month of May saw widespread frost damage in the Eastern regions of North America with New York Finger Lakes very badly hit with obviously a much reduced anticipated wine production for 2023. Continue to monitor the results. Another important freezing concern is extremely cold winter temperatures that affect the production of the vines. Winemaker Severine Pinte & Managing Partner Rasoul Salehi of Le Vieux Pin & La Stella in the South Okanagan tell me that their impressive Syrah vines have been very badly affected by the extremely cold prolonged winter temperatures with up to nearly 100% loss for 2023. They may have to diversify further in the future to include hardier grape varieties. Worrisome.
Wonderful initiative by the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver to bring together 6 recently recognized Michelin Guide restaurant chefs to celebrate their innovative cooking styles. They previewed this Pac Rim Pop-Up Patio feature to the media on May 24 and it will be launched on 4 consecutive days for each one spread over the next 3 months. Well worth checking out!
JUNE 1 – 4: PUBLISHED ON MAIN (CHEF GUS STIEFFENHOFER-BRANDSON) PORK SCHNITZEL SANDO
JUNE 15 – 18: BURDOCK & CO (CHEF ANDREA CARLSON) WARM ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH DUNGENESS CRAB & SHRIMP, ELDERBERRY SABAYON
JUNE 29 – JULY 2: ANH AND CHI (CHEF LY NGUYEN & CHEF VINCENT NGUYEN) VERMICELLI BOWL CHARGRILLED TWO RIVERS PORK, CRISPY SPRING ROLL, PICKLED DAIKON & CARROTS, ROASTED PEANUTS, VIETNAMESE HERBS, CHILI FISH SAUCE
JULY 13 – JULY 16: BOTANIST IN FAIRMONT PACIFIC RIM (CHEF HECTOR LAGUNA) CHARRED SCALLOP CEVICHE WITH RHUBARB, ELDERFLOWER, FERMENTED JALAPENO
AUGUST 10 -13: L’ABATTOIR (CHEF LEE COOPER) STEAK & OYSTER TARTARE STICKY RICE, FRIED SHISO, SESAME
AUGUST 24 -27: BACARO (CHEF MICHAEL ZAFIRIAN) DUCK RAVIOLI PICKLED PEARL ONIONS, PECORINO CHEESE, ONION & DUCK JUS
As well as the featured chef dishes the popular patio concept includes the innovative food truck on site of Fairmont Pac Rim Executive Chef Damon Campbell with fresh Summer menu selections for outdoor dining. Creative Beverage Director Grant Sceney also has assembled a well-chosen variety of craft beers, wines, and cocktails. Enjoyable fun concept!
Answer: Just tasted at Top Drop Vancouver 2023 a delicious Riesling specifically crafted to pair well with Thai food. The wine is named “The Riesling Project” from the 2022 vintage. It is the inspiration of Chef Angus An, proprietor of Maenam restaurant (outstanding Thai cuisine), Sommelier Kurtis Kolt, and two RIesling devotee winemakers contributing fruit while working together to realize the dream – David Paterson of Tantalus Vineyards in the Okanagan Valley & John Weber of Orofino in the Similkameen. The result is a Riesling well described on the back label as “a dry-ish multi-layered, juicy wine loaded with charisma … to be a pitch-perfect match for Thai cuisine”. Well done!