#SnoothPVA: The Wines of Scarpa Master Class

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join a select group of twenty talented and passionate [wine] bloggers and participate in an insightful and thoroughly enjoyable weekend filled with educational wine seminars, delicious food, great conversation, and a chance to taste a wide variety of wines in one comfortable setting. On Twitter, we social media folks called this series of delightful weekend wine events #snoothpva. These events, put on by the good folks at Snooth, wrapped around their inaugural People’s Voice Wine Awards Grand Tasting – which was very successful and well attended. In the coming weeks, I plan to touch on some of my experiences – starting off with this gem of a wine tasting.

Wines of Scarpa Master Class 

On a Friday evening, in a private room of the Peking Duck House in Manhattan; Martina Zola of Scarpa, along with Snooth's Editor-in-Chief, Gregory Dal Piaz, led us through a ‘Wines of Scarpa Master Class.’ Snooth calls Scarpa “one of the last unknown treasures of the Piedmont.” The winery was founded in 1854 by Antonio Scarpa, an enologist from the Veneto region. Their techniques – cited by Snooth and confirmed later by Martina – have changed little over time. As Snooth pointed out, Scarpa is one of the few traditional producers that remain in the region. The winery is located in Nizza Monferrato -- a Province of Asti, Italy.

Very Good Presentation by Martina Zola

For this class, we had the good fortune of tasting five vintages of their Barbera Bogliana, which spends five years in large oak barrels (resulting in a relatively low amount of oak influence) and eight vintages of Barolo. These wines included some special vintages and aged treasures that I otherwise would not likely have an opportunity to taste (since these wines are not available in the US to the best of my knowledge).

Tasting Line-up

Admittedly, I usually think of Barbera -- Italy’s most widely planted grape variety -- as a light-bodied, red fruit dominated, (fairly) bright, and affordable everyday wine. These examples of Barbera were pretty serious and absolutely delightful; exhibiting wonderful – even intoxicating -- aromas, exceptional depth of flavor and length, complexity, and grace. Barolo, which is one of Italy’s most famous and popular red wines, is made from 100% Nebbiolo, and is often described as “wine of kings and the king of wines.” This line-up of Barolo wines firmly established its noble and robust crown. These well-structured, full-bodied, nicely nuanced, and mouth-coating wines had powerful and intriguing personalities with youthful vigor and vibrancy.

A Few of the Wines Tasted

It's a common misconception that all wines improve with age. In fact, most do not. These wines, explained to us by Martina, respect traditions of old and are built to age gracefully and last for decades -- especially the Barolo. For the wines of Scarpa, careful attention to detail in the vineyard is of the utmost importance. I believe that as a wine matures it starts to reveal its true character. It starts to express more of the vineyard, the farming, its authenticity or lack thereof. With maturity, stylization fades and everything reverts to the wine’s foundation – the vineyard. And you know the old saying about where great wine is made, right? It may be difficult to get twenty-one wine bloggers to agree on anything; but, on March 22nd of 2013 in the Peking Duck House in Manhattan, I would like to think that I speak for all my #snoothpva wine blogging friends when I say we shared a very special and memorable tasting experience with the long-lived and pleasing wines of Scarpa.

See the wines we tasted below with three of my tasting notes. Instead of listing all my notes and turning this into a really long post, I encourage you to visit the Scarpa website and seek out opportunities to taste these wines. All of these wines ranged from very nice to exceptional in quality. And some of them, while showing well now, can use a little more time to really come into their own. Cheers!

The Wines of Scarpa Master Class

Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2007, $72
Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2006, $52
Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2005, $68
Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 1998, $58
Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 1997, $95
Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2005, $74
Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2004, $88
Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2003, $98
Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2001, $130
Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 1999, $105
Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 1987, $250
Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte, 1978, $500

Scarpa 2001 Barolo Tettimora: From color to overall intensity, everything about this wine is youthful with the potential to last and improve for a very long time. Chewy and dense in texture, this wine sports a masculine structure with balanced acidity and a dark fruit core amid underlying red tones that’s complemented by dried rose petals, anise, and sweet tobacco undertones over a solid (tannic) frame and lasting finish.

Scarpa 2005 Barolo Tettimora: Deep color, still possessing a youthful appearance, with inviting sour (dark) cherry and fresh raspberry preserve aromas joined by floral hints, a pleasant mint-like component, and a sprinkling of brown spice and shy citrus peel notes. It still shows a firm, tannic structure with (good) balancing acidity and a mouth-coating, broad texture that ends with a touch of minerality in the lasting finish.

Scarpa 2007 Barbera d'Asti La Bogliona: This wine exhibits a deep (dark) ruby color with enticing tart cherry, rhubarb pie (crust included) and boysenberry aromas alongside floral perfume and what I can best describe as a talc-like quality. The aromas extend to the palate with a velvety texture, good acidity, and integrated tannins. It has the framework to go the distance (5-7 years) should you have the patience to let it rest on its side in a cool, dark cellar – but is drinking quite nicely now.

Read what other 2013 Snooth PVA Bloggers are saying about the Wines of Scarpa Master Class:

Snooth writes "The Wines of Scarpa"

 The Wannabe Wino writes "Scarpa via NYC"

Benito's Wine Reviews writes "Snooth PVA: Wines of Scarpa"

My Backyard Feathered Friends: Lovey-Dovey! 

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This trip was provided by Snooth. Thoughts are my own.

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