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A Niagara Wine That Tastes Just Like Italy

Niagara Wine

Have you ever tasted a Niagara wine that transports you to Italy? Our Savvy Sommelier Derek, told us that the first time he interviewed Betty Colaneri from Colaneri Estate Winery, he was so enchanted by her story that he, “found myself just listening, forgetting to take notes and ask questions.  The second time we talked, I was more prepared!”

The story of the Colaneri Estate Winery begins in 1967 when Joseph & Maria Colaneri came to Canada from Italy with their two sons Michele (Mike) and Nicola (Nick).  Several years after their arrival, one of the sons, Mike married Angiolina, while the other son Nick, married Liberina or Betty.  What is touching about this is that two brothers (Mike and Nick) married two sisters, (Angie and Betty).

The Colaneris have been growing grapes in the Niagara region for 34 years.  However, they did not become directly involved in the wine making business until 2003.  Betty told Derek that the family agreed to take advantage of an opportunity and replant their grape vines… “It was either grape vines or Christmas trees” she recalls. Now, having tasted their wines, we’re glad the family agreed on grapes!

What makes Colaneri different is that the family made a decision to produce their own wines in a uniquely Italian style using the ‘appassimento’ technique where some or all of the grapes are kiln-dried to enhance the concentration & depth of the aromas & flavours.

Derek gives us a quick 101 on Italian Wine Styles

Italian wines are as diverse and as unique as the people and the country.  Given this, I thought I would dedicate a portion of this article to provide you with basic information about the styles you will be enjoying. 

Appassimento: A style of wine in which some or all of the grapes are partially dried before they are fermented into wine. By drying the fruit, there is more sugar, less water and therefore a greater concentration of flavour with the finished wine.

Ripasso (pronounced ree-PAH-soh):  In Italian ripasso literally means “re-passed”.  After the wine is fermented in the usual way, it is placed in casks containing the lees (winespeak for grape skins) from a prior batch of wine.  Usually, the lees of an Amarone wine are used. This process, which lasts from 2 to 3 weeks, adds colour, tannins, body and complexity of flavors to the new wine.

Our Niagara Wine Recommendation: Colaneri ‘Corposo’ Cabernet VQA

This Niagara wine is made similarly to the style of an Italian Ripasso, where the must from dried grapes used to produce Amarone-style wines are added to a wine, causing a second fermentation to add body & depth of flavour.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A blend of Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of dried cherries, white pepper, herbs & earth, with intense flavours of red & black plums & some tobacco – or is it fresh ground pepper? – on the finish.

Suggested food pairings: BBQ sausages, meat-based pasta or herbed encrusted roast lamb would be delicious!

 

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