Christian CALLEC

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Posted by Christian Callec on woensdag, mei 8th, 2013

Three days long, 44000 professional visitors from all over the world gathered at ProWein in Düsseldorf; nearly 3500 more visitors than in 2012, 4783 exhibitors from 48 countries. I enjoyed it very much, especially because I had some beautiful and very enticing (re) discoveries!



It was a great honour and pleasure to meet the living legend Magda Amer Mazerolles alias @LeVinParfait at the Cantina di Soave stand. She is a ‘purrfect’ and logic reinforcement of the social media team at the Cantina. We tasted as previously agreed a few wines from the top-segment project of the Cantina di Soave, BORGO ROCCA SVEVA.  Soon, we got the visit of Dottore Luca Sabatini, the dynamic and charismatic Export Director of the Cantina di Soave. A few more wines followed…

The Cantina di Soave is a major player in the Italian wine industry. Founded in 1898, this cooperative winery is nowadays one of the best, biggest and most dynamic wineries from Italy. The 2.200 member-partners own in total some 6,000 hectares of vineyards in the Verona region. The wines are vinified (and aged) in 6 locations: Via Roma, Viale Vittoria, Cazzano di Tramigna, Illasi, Montecchia di Crosara and… Borgo Rocca Sveva. The assortment of produced wines is huge, from Soave wines to Valpolicella, sparkling wines and more recently Durello wines. Besides the 2.200 member-partners, Cantina di Soave employs 164 technicians and a big team of sales, export, PR and media specialists. The winery exports wines in more than 50 countries in the world. 30 million bottles are produced every year, representing more than 100 million Euros of joint revenues! In 2003 the Cantina launched a new project, Borgo Rocca Sveva: a new cellar with not less than 2500 square meters of underground tunnels carved in the rocks, holding 150 barriques and large ‘botti’ casks combined with study facilities and experimental vineyard, a wine tourism and conference / events centre and a botanical garden. The Cantina di Soave manages nearly half of the Soave DOC vineyards, more than 40% of the Soave Classico DOC, around 50% of the Valpolicella DOC and 70% of the Lessini Durello DOC. Impossible to ignore them with their annual production of 30 million of bottles …

A big part of the produced wine is sold in bulk. Only the best products are bottled and aged at the winery. More information on this winery in this CORPORATE VIDEO 


SOAVE CLASSICO DOC 2012: 100% garganega. Delicately fruity with some floral nuances; easy drinking, fresh, light, elegant, well-balanced. ***

SOAVE SUPERIORE CLASSICO DOCG CASTELCERINO 2011: Garganega with a small percentage of trebbiano di Soave (20%?). Mixed bouquet of white and yellow fruit, green aromatic herbs and some acacia honey on the back. Good freshness, nice fruity and floral aromas, elegant, light, easy drinking, pleasant and well-balanced. ***

VILLA RASINA SOAVE CLASSICO DOC 2011: White fruit in the nose, some herbal scents; fresh and delicate, well balanced, easy drinking and light. **(*)

VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2010: Fresh, very fruity, well-balanced, light and easy drinking, quite enjoyable. **(*)

VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE RIPASSO 2011(?): Intense fruity with a Mon Cheri bonbon kiss from the oak ageing, well-balanced, quite elegant, smooth tannins, long finish. Easy drinking and surely enjoyable! ***

At that time the situation became a bit less serious, friendlier, and I stopped making notes… I only remember that we tasted some nice, fresh, delicately fruity, well-balanced, easy drinking and highly enjoyable sparkling wine from the durello grape… PERLIT MAXIMILIAN 1 Vino Spumante Brut ***

Another noticeable wine was a ROCCA SVEVA RECIOTO DI SOAVE CLASSICO DOCG: The nose was quite strange; besides the voluptuous tones of ripe yellow fruit, vanilla and honey, there was some kind of volatile banana fooling around; was it isoamyl acetate or… ?  Not really disturbing, but I never smelled it before in such a wine. The palate impression was perfectly clean, round, warm, velvety and very pleasant, with a great balance and a long finish. Even not really complex, it is a technically very well made wine, shouting for a portion of apricot pie with a thin layer of marzipan under the fruit and some roasted slices of almonds on the top… yummy yummy! ***

Of course the top wine from this company is the ROCCA SVEVA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA **** The 2006 was absolutely delicious! See HERE 

It is clear that this Cantina di Soave is doing a great job. It is not easy to convince people quickly to change the way of working in the vineyards, during the harvest and the grape transfer to the winery, in the cellar… I have deep respect for what the Cantina achieved already but I am absolutely convinced that the quality will increase even more in the next decades! If all the noses are looking into the same direction, it will work!

After this planned appointment, I brought a quick visit to old friends…

PRIMOSIC (Oslavia, Friuli): Oslavia is a small and beautiful ‘Slovenian’ enclave in the Friulian Collio area. The Primosic family might be one of the very best ambassadors of this wonderful micro-paradise on Earth. I had the pleasure and honour to meet father Silvester and son Marko Primosic many times, in Oslavia of course, in Friuli (Gorizia, Cividale etc.) and on big wine fairs. For more information please see the WEBSITE.

I never met such inspiring people as Marko Primosic… Even when you feel very tired, down and sad, he looks at you, smiles and invites you: “Have a glass op Ribolla Gialla, and you’ll see, the world will get better!” And yes, it does work!

There is something magic in the combination of ribolla gialla (but also malvazija/malvasia istriana!) and this tiny part of the world. Is it the mixed culture? Is it the old Austro-Hungarian spirit? Is it the old Slavic hospitality and way of life? I don’t know, but it just fascinates me. Yes, I do think that if I could manage to speak Slovenian, Italian and/or Furlan, I would surely love to emigrate to this part of the world where life is still alive, like in many parts of the neighbouring Balkan regions, against all odds, they still gently kick asses and steel hearts!

By chance, as soon as Marko opens his bottle of ribolla gialla, the unbelievable happens, like a miracle! A common friend appears at once… How could it be, during such a great event, with such a huge amount of visitors and square meters, don’t ask me, it must be the Primosic Ribolla Gialla… We tasted together, the three of us, Marko, me and our friend Emiliano Firmo (Valdo spumanti, Valdobbiadene) the two types of ribolla gialla proposed by Marko.

The unoaked RIBOLLA GIALLA is a beauty, pure, dry and delicately aromatic, reminding me hay with some little field flowers inside… a fantastic aperitif wine, with the very best pršut (delicious home-made dried cured ham)you can find but also matching all kinds of light first-courses like risotto or orzotto (risotto with orzo = barley) and sea shells, shrimps or scampi… Yummy yummy! ***

The RIBOLLA GIALLA RISERVA is the superlative version of the previous one. The grapes come exclusively from the Oslavia region. The cleared must is partly fermented in wood barrels, the rest in stainless steel tanks like for the basic ribolla gialla. The young wine is kept on its lees for 8 months and aged for 12 months in the bottle. This gives the wine much more complexity, a nice salinity and a final touch of minerality, while offering the typical ribolla gialla aromatic power (acacia honey and ripe yellow fruit); very well-balanced wine with a long and enticing finish. This wine could be a great winter aperitif served with some pieces of grilled polenta and Montasio cheese, but also accompany tasty sea fish (tuna, sea bass…), scampi, lobster, crab etc. I LOVE this wine! ****

Of course, the Primosic family produces more wines than Ribolla gialla. I recommend also the malvasia istriana, the refosco, the Belvedere Friulano, Gmajne sauvignon blanc and Gmajne chardonnay, the Murno pinot grigio, the Collio bianco cuvée Klin, the Collio rosso cuvée Metamorfosis and the totally crazy sparkling (charmat) wine Ribollanoir (ribolla gialla with a good dash of pinot nero).

Another of my all times favourite wine houses is located in the – in my humble opinion – much too underestimated wine region of FRANCIACORTA, above the fantastic of Brescia and around the picturesque Iseo lake. I discovered this winery thanks to some visits to Franciacorta in the glory time of Lucia Barzanò as very active part of the consorzio. Lucia is the daughter of Emanuela Barboglio († 2007), the old owner of this family winery called ‘il Mosnel’. This name comes from an old Celtic dialect word meaning a rock pile… It perfectly matches with the very charming Lucia Barzanò who really is a strong pillar of the appellation Franciacorta.

Lucia Barzanò with her liquid juwels… © Christian Callec

Lucia Barzanò (together with her brother Giulio) produces fabulous wines… See more on the WEBSITE.

Don’t expect blockbusters from a charming and intelligent lady… All the sparkling wines I tasted in many occasions are all fresh, elegant, highly drinkable and strongly gastronomic.


Highly recommended! 

I also quickly met some old friends, from the times that Friuli DOC and the Tourism office had great budgets to invite journalists to Friuli… A great #winelover family at AZIENDA AGRICOLA FOFFANI

Giovanni Foffani and his wife Elisabetta Missoni are always nice people to visit during a wine fair, a press trip or even more interesting… at home in Clauiano, a small picturesque medieval village. This old Venetian village is an historical piece of architectural art, but the farm of the Foffani family is an oasis of wine, food, culture and arts… You can taste the wines at the agriturismo Antico Cantinone, stay for the night or longer at the Bed & Breakfast Casa Antica Mosaici and visit the permanent artistic exposition showing ‘The colours of wine’. 

We chatted quite a while and did taste some wine too.

I really liked the purity, elegance and complexity of their Mosaic wines, the very expressive, crispy fresh but perfectly balanced SAUVIGNON BLANC DOC FRIULI AQUILEIA 2012*** and the lovely aromatic, fresh and perfectly balanced PINOT GRIGIO DOC FRIULI AQUILEIA 2012***, both being great gastronomic wines.

Foffani rosé wine and reds are all very well made and reflecting the grape varietal and terroir characters. My personal preference goes to ROSÉ *** and RED REFOSCO DAL PEDUNCOLO ROSSO***(*), just because of their strong link to the local – delicious – gastronomy.  

This is even more noticeable in the Terroir wines range (ter vinum) offering not only a gorgeous Refosco d.p.r. but also a highly drinkable and enjoyable Friulano, both full of Friuli soul…

The assortment is completed by 3 wines I never tasted before, produced under the FLOWER WINES label. I must have forgotten to taste the MERLOT RISERVA (?) or it might have got a typical modern chocolate, vanilla and mocha taste that I don’t really fancy, even in great quality wines.

I do remember the totally confusing WHITE MERLOT 2012***(*), very fruity, floral, crispy fresh but also quite full on the palate, with a fantastic touch of salinity in the long and luscious finish. If someone really insists to drink red wine with his/her sushi, THIS is the right choice… a white wine from red grapes, with the freshness and salinity of a great white and the full and fruity mouth feeling of  a gentle red wine…  

Talking about gastronomy and aromatic extravaganza, the MOSCATO ROSA 2012*** is an absolute ‘must try’, not only for ladies (and some old guys as well) appreciating a great – pink – muscat wine with a gentle residual sugar (55 gr/litre!) but a nice freshness… I am a great lover of all kinds of Asiatic food. This wine, very aromatic, non-tannic, fresh and mild is a great wine for sweet-sour dishes in the better Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese restaurants. But you can try it as well with chicken and fruit tagines from the North-African countries or Cape Malay dishes from South-Africa, soft curry dishes from the Indian cuisine etc. A big surprise with an enormous gastronomic possibility!   


No*: wimpy wine, * nice wine, recommended, ** good wine with character, *** good wine with character and complexity, **** very good wine, ***** outstanding wine

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