Italians at the Dorchester Hotel

Recession? What recession? The credit crunch apparently hasn’t hit the Italians as the annual Wines of Tuscany tasting (sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission) was held at one of London’s poshest hotels, The Dorchester in Mayfair. Can’t get any nicer then that. I’ve been slowly educating my tastebuds to the wines of Italy but there are so many different varieties that it’s hard to try them all. The Italians like to say that “every village has it’s own grape” and with over 2,000 varieties, you could spend a lifetime just sampling all of them, a pastime I would gladly take up. The tasting covered  the DOCG’s, DOC‘s and IGT‘s of Tuscany only and included over 70 producers and their wares. I know they’re trying to sell me their wines but really, those Italians are sooo charming and friendly. It probably helped that I went late and I think some of them were definitely taking samples along with everyone else. At least that’s what it seemed like! The first table I talked to were the folks of Poggio del Gello, a small vineyard in the Montecucco DOC which is in southern Tuscany. All of their wines are organic which was a common theme at the tasting. Almost every other producer seemed to be organic. They had 3 wines but the most interesting was the Pugnitello which is an ancient, indigenous vine of  Tuscany. If I understood them correctly (their English wasn’t so pretty and my Italian is crap), it was only re-discovered about 20 years ago and in 2004, Poggio planted 2000 plants and  began producing wine in ’07. It’s a very small production, only 500 bottles but they are planning on increasing production. The wine itself is quite floral and spicy on the nose with a deep, intense colour. It was full bodied with persistent black fruits, hints of anise and a wonderfully spiciness about it. I was enjoying it but time to carry on. I then spotted a wine called “Psyco”. Gotta give it to those Italians they are good at catching the...

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