Wednesday, October 26. 2016
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend a wine dinner at the Halifax Westin Hotel hosted by the well-known Italian producer, Sartori of Verona. On hand to lead the proceedings was the knowledgeable Sartori representative, Daniele Cristanelli, who is based in Verona.
The evening commenced with a Prosecco reception followed by a five course dinner paired with appropriate wines from the Sartori collection. Compliments go to the culinary and service staff of the Westin who did a fine job of preparing and serving dishes that helped bring out the best qualities of each wine.
Sartori, despite being a very large producer, has in recent years managed to greatly improve its offerings, even in modestly-priced, entry level wines. As the evening progressed, it was also clear that Sartori’s premium wines offer fine quality and authentic regional character at very competitive prices.
All the wines served are currently available at the NSLC. Below are my reviews together with the evening’s food pairings.
Sartori Prosecco DOC 11% $19.49 NSLC Opens with inviting floral and ripe apple scents with a hint of vanilla spice. Generous ripe apple and pear flavours are supported by gentle, refreshing fizz a touch of sweetness and well-balanced acidity. ***
Sartori Arco di Jovi 2014, Pinot Grigio Trentino $13.99 NSLC General List. Shows clean green fruit with a touch of spice, a distinctive dry savoury note and refreshingly crisp acidity. An excellent match for spicy scallop cevice. ***
Sartori Arco di Jovi 2014, Valpolicella DOC 12.5% $14.99 NSLC General List. Straightforward, everyday style showing a bright fresh cherry scent and a whiff of dry herb. Lively sweet black cherry flavours are supported by well-balanced acidity and light tannic grip. ***
Sartori 2013, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore DOC 13.5% $21.49 NSLC General List. Expresses good depth of cherry fruit on the nose with rich, concentrated dark bitter cherry flavour, a subtle trace of wood, a dash of vanilla and a splash of chocolate on the harmoniously integrated finish. This wine, together with the previous one, were deftly paired with fresh rolled pappardelle with marinara sauce. ***
Sartori Ferdi 2014, Bianco Veronese IGT 13.9% $20.99 NSLC (Limited Selection). Made from 100% Garganega grapes sourced from hillside vineyards in the Soave zone. The hand-selected grapes are left to dry for 40 days to reduce water content and concentrate sugar and colour. Partly fermented in oak, the wine is matured on the lees for 6-7 months with another 4 months in bottle before release. The result shows deep green/gold in the glass with intense floral fragrance and elegant pear and citrus flavours with mellow, leesy richness balanced by subtle refreshing acidity. ****
Sartori l’Appassione Rosso delle Venezie IGT $17.80 NSLC. A blend of native Corvine Veronese with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is an international style wine offering fleshy ripe fruit with a dash of cinnamon spice and a splash of chocolate on the finish. ***
Both the Ferdi and l‘Appassione were paired with a very good mushroom and chive risotto. For my money, the Ferdi was a perfect match for the creamy richness of the risotto.
Sartori 2012, Amarone della Valpolicella DOC 15% $44.99 NSLC General List. This is a first rate Amarone offering concentrated developed dark fruit on the nose with refined notes of cinnamon, vanilla and clove. Rich dark plum and black cherry flavours come encased in a firm tannic structure with good weight and balance. A deeply satisfying, powerful wine with room for further development. It made a fine accompaniment to Osso Buco prepared with roasted garlic jus. ****
Sartori Reciotto di Amarone DOC $32.48 (500ml bottle) NSLC (Limited Availability). The final wine of the evening, paired with Tiramisu, was this Reciotto which is the sweeter, original version of the more familiar Amarone. It showed enticingly aromatic blackcurrant with gently sweet marmalade character in the mouth. Fermented in oak for 18 months, it demonstrated elegance, richness and complexity. ****
*Acceptable ordinary quality
**Good quality, everyday standard
** Very good quality in its price range
**** Exceptional quality, top 15% - 20%
**** The finest possible, top 5% - 10%