From the GrapeVine: Viva Vino LA


Dr. Joel M. Fisher


Dr. Joel M. Fisher Ph.D is a renowned wine enthusiast, educator and columnist.  He also leads Los Angeles’ biggest and most prestigious wine, brew and spirits festival LA WineFest.  This week Dr. Fisher tells us about his recent visit to the Viva Vino LA:

There are times during the year when wine tastings are being hosted all over Los Angeles. A recent week proved that point with several opportunities. On Tuesday I attended a session at the Skirball Center’s Viva Vino LA on Wines of Veneto.

Our panel was delayed by traffic and we finally began even with a reduced crowd in attendance. A shame, since this was an excellent program.

We began with the Conegliano Valdobbladene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. I liked this selection. It was nice, spritzy, good fruits and a medium long finish. The grape was Glera. One of Italy’s scores of indigenous grapes. I was taken aback to learn that 60 million bottles of this selection are produced annually

The Soave Classico DOC followed. This was fresh, a clear bottle, with a bit of citrus to it and a brisk finish. Hailing from the Verona area, the main grape here is the Garganega, providing a white floral fragrance. The is a wine with a bigger body than the alcohol would suggest. They also make sparkling and sweet versions, utilizing the Trebbiano grape.   I thought this a pretty good selection.

Next, we had the Lison DOC poured. Another white wine, from the Tocai Italico grape, all which is left of the former Tokai designation taken away by the European Union and restored to its origins in Hungary. I thought this a formidable wine, albeit somewhat bitter with campari type influences on the nose and on the palate. Yet, it still was a rounded version.

We eventually reached the wine that had spurred my interest in this seminar: Amarone della Valpolicello DOC. Our selection was from the 2003 vintage, and was a deep red, providing a solid nose with dark fruit chocolate and tannins were present, giving a sweetness to this rounded,full bodied and big (15% alcohol) wine. Suffice to say, I really liked this selection.

We moved on, although with a feeling of regret from me, to the Colli Euganei Flor d’Arancio Spumante DOCG, a lovely sparkling selection. The wine had a great nose, was lovely on the palate, sweet, with rose petals and flowers on the palate, and showing a long finish. This is a great wine!

Our seminar closed on the Torcolato di Breganze DOC. This was a heavier wine, with depth to it. Somewhat sweet, and grassy, roses and candy flourished. The wine had a bit of bitterness in the finish, again like campari, or bitter almonds. A good choice, though.

Afterwards, I moved through the hall, tasting various wines. I met one Italian vintner, the producer of interesting wines from far south of the region of the morning’s panel. His wines were good, and I regretted having to leave for an early evening meeting downtown.

He and his American relative invited me to a dinner they were doing on Thursday evening. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make that, considering I had a tasting that day beginning at noon.

Stay tuned for next time where we discuss the Italian Vintner’s dinner.
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