Exploring the Wines of Italy
by Chevalier Wesley Jefferies
As spring winds gently scattered Washington’s famed cherry blossoms across the streets of the nation’s capital, members and guests of the Washington D.C. chapter of Société Mondiale du Vin poured into the subterranean private dining room of the Lupo Verde Pizzeria, located in the heart of DC’s vibrant 14th Street neighborhood. Each member and guest arrived with a bottle of Italian wine to share in an afternoon of blind tasting led by Chevalier Marc Mancher.
Guests enjoyed zesty shrimp, crispy calamari, and tender artichoke appetizers, and ordered their choice of entrée from Lupo Verde’s menu of contemporary and traditional Italian dishes.
Meanwhile, the wines were separated by whites and reds before being hidden in small burlap sacks identifiable only by their numbers. The room buzzed with anticipation as the first wine, 2021 Poggio le Volpi People Frascati Superiore, was poured. Its floral and nectarine notes were a refreshing start to the tasting in a gentle overture to the beginning of the spring season.
A 2020 Le Creete Lugana was next, offering surprising hints of gooseberry and ambergris fortified by a primal musk. Following was a 2021 La Spinetta Timorasso Colli Tortonesi Derthona – a refreshing palate-cleanser, with tasting notes that evoked clean laundry and fresh rain, transporting tasters to a tranquil spring morning.
The 2020 Foradori Fontanasanta Manzoni Bianco introduced a spring pastoral theme with notes of fresh hay. The whites were finished by a distinctive 2007 Dal Maso Ca Fischele Gambellara Classico, with its expressive and powerful cantaloupe and melon flavors.
Moving on to the reds, the 2021 Poggio di Volpi Baccarossa had a chewy cassis cherry taste that lingered on the palate, while the 2020 Grosjean Vallee d’Aosta Torrette brought smoky and woody notes to the table. Maintaining the momentum set by a delicious red, the spice and pepper mix of the 2020 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria complemented it oncologic peers.
The Riserva Pinus Nigra provided a contrast to the other wines with its earthy and tart taste while the 2020 Taliano Michele Tera Mia Barbaresco Riserva offered a more layered flavor profile with its blend of raspberry and truffle notes. The 2021 Talamonti Tre Saggi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo was a bold red with a balance of plum and pepper. The wine tasting ended on a pleasing note with the 2021 Masca del Tacco Susmaniello and its gentle waltz of vanilla, blackberry, and jam flavors.
As the afternoon concluded, participants continued to share their impressions of the wide range of Italian wines they had just experienced and their praise for Chef Justin Phomas’ cuisine. Bailli Judy Mazza presented Lupo Verde’s General Manager Hosna Boussmara and the chef with a Chaîne plate to commemorate the occasion and to thank them for creating such a fun and delicious afternoon for our group.