Including wine. Some of the country’s most famous vino — Prosecco and Amarone — can only be made within Veneto.
Despite their popularity, however, we see only a fraction of those wines in Canada.
But a group from Italy is trying to change that. About 20 winemakers and winery representatives from Italy’s famous Veneto region came to Calgary in early June to promote their region and to search for new business opportunities in the city.
Producers included Astoria, Colvendra, Conte Collalto, Montecariano, Sorelle Bronca, Tenuta degli Ultimi, Santa Sofia, Val D’Oca, Zyme and more.
The Italian delegation poured samples of their internationally renowned Valpolicella, Amarone and Prosecco wines during a day of tasting, education and fun at Q Haute Cuisine on June 3.
About 100 trade (wine importers, retailers and sommeliers) attended the afternoon tasting, which featured a seminar on Prosecco and Amarone by local sommelier Brad Royale, wine director for Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts.
Then, in the evening, about 80 people attended a casual tasting and dinner with the winemakers. The buffet-style dinner, created by the culinary team at Q Haute Cuisine, featured myriad Mediterranean-inspired dishes, all designed to pair with the range of wines.
The event was organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada – West, a non-profit agency with offices in Calgary and Vancouver.
Many of the wineries are celebrated by the world’s best-known critics, and their wines are found on some of the world’s finest wine lists.
But, with the exception of Sartori wines, which are found at fine wine shops around the city, none of the wines featured at the tastings are available yet in our market.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for Calgarians to try wines not yet available in Calgary wine stores,” said Petra Saccani, who heads up the Italian Chamber’s Calgary offices. “Everyone had a good time and the wines were outstanding.”
The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada – West has held similar events in previous years, and plans are to host more tastings in the future.
Many of the Veneto winemakers — who also made stops in Vancouver and Winnipeg that same week — are hopeful that they’ll find representation for importing into Western Canada.
Likewise, many of the importers in the crowd said they also had a wonderful experience. “The event was very well put together and gave us the opportunity to grow our book,” says Jeremy Raaymaker, owner of North by Northwest Wine Imports. “We haven’t reached an agreement yet, but are in talks with four of the producers that were at Q Haute.”
Fingers crossed, both for the winemakers and for Calgary fans who tried the wines in June.
— Shelley Boettcher
Wines from the Veneto
Want to know more about wines from Italy’s Veneto region? Here’s a short guide to a handful of easy-to-find wines from the region:
Prosecco — Italy’s most famous sparkling wine. Made primarily from Glera grapes, it is a dry white sparkling wine from the Veneto region in northeastern part of Italy. Many examples are available in Calgary; popular labels include Nino Franco Rustico, Canella and Villa Teresa. Prices range from about $16 to about $40 per bottle.
Valpolicella — Basic Valpolicella wines are medium-bodied, value-priced red blends, made from indigenous Italian grapes, mostly Corvina Veronese, Molinara and Rondinella. They’re easy to drink, and they pair naturally with tomato-based pasta dishes and pizza. Prices start at about $14 a bottle.
Amarone — This rich red blend is made mostly of Corvina and Rondinella grapes, and can only be made in Italy’s Veneto region. After the grapes are picked, they are dried for about three months before pressing; the result is a ripe, velvety, low-acid red. Popular labels listed in Alberta include Zenato, Allegrini and Sartori. Prices start at about $50 per bottle and can cost hundreds.