With much of the world in a quarantine, companies are shutting down (permanently and temporarily) or finding creative ways to thrive. That’s the case with Schlossadler International Wines! We discovered this relatively small wine importer at a street fair in March … just before COVID-19 forced us all indoors. What luck! At that street fair we ordered a case of wine and became a member of the club. Three weeks into the shutdown, an email popped up from Liza. Schlossadler had figured out how to do virtual wine tastings! WOOHOO!!!
We chose one of the sessions featuring Italian wines, paid via PayPal and got our taste buds ready for a stay-at-home date night. Dale delivered our three bottles of wine just after lunch on Friday. We popped all three into the wine fridge, chilling the white and slightly cooling the reds. We moved a computer to our home bar so we could create a wine tasting atmosphere and logged in Friday night just before the 8pm kick-off.
Schlossadler President Hans Fritsch stepped into view and welcomed us live from California. He introduced his team: Liza in Phoenix, Ema in Alaska and winemakers Patricia and Mauro Figaretto from Corte Figaretto in Italy (where it was FIVE AM the next morning!)
Hans took us into the warehouse for a brief tour. Then it was time to taste the wines. We kicked things off with Secco di Corte, an indigenous white. Greg and I had created a little pairing plate of goodies to go along with the tasting and we nibbled as we listened to the descriptions of the wines. Patricia and Mauro’s described their vineyard and their boutique wines. In Italy, an annual production of 80,000 bottles is “boutique.”
Ema offered insights into the meaning of the import label and explained the DOCG band. DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, DOCG), the highest official Italian wine classification.
We sampled the first of two reds and learned more about how Corte Figaretto blends ELEVEN grapes to create Bacca Nera. The mild red delighted us as we listened to Mauro talk about his grapes like a proud father and how they are picked by hand in two phases. About half of the grapes are harvested when they are perfectly ripe. The other half is done about three weeks later when the grapes are just overripe.
Moving on to the star of the tasting, we poured a generous taste of Amarone del Valpolicella into our glasses. Patricia wowed us with the story behind the oak casks this wine ages in after the grapes are dried for four months. Mauro travels to France to hand select the oak used for his casks, insisting the care that goes into each cask makes a better wine. He must be right, because the Amarone was MAGNIFICENT! The deep, ruby red color and the fragrant nose tease just a bit as that first sip dances on your tongue and tantalises your taste buds.
Once the three tastings wrapped up, Hans and the team at the California headquarters opened up the live chat feature and we “met” our fellow tasters, asked questions and bantered back and forth for another 45 minutes. What a delight. We’ve already signed up for another virtual tasting this Friday.
After all, there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored, sometimes you might have to explore some of it virtually.
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