Italy and France have always been in a production competition. In some years, Italy produces more than France, and in others it is the reverse. In 2014, France produced more than Italy, but the latter exports more quantity. When it comes to value of wine exports, France wins almost all the time.
Italian wineries in general make more effort to sell, and spend more on promotion than France, although Languedoc et Roussillon along the Mediterranean coast must spend considerable amounts to export more wines in an attempt to reduce inventories.
According to the latest information available, the EU bureaucrats are trying to reduce vineyard acreage in order to balance production and consumption. Of late European wine consumption has been decreasing, especially in France and Italy. On the other hand, Chinese wine consumption is increasing and Chinese investors have been buying wineries in France for some time now. Also, China is now world’s fifth largest wine producer although the overall quality remains sub-standard as compared to that of Europe.
American wine consumption has been increasing during the last decade, and the U.S.A has now become world’s largest wine consumer due to its population (340 million). The average per capita consumption is still lower than those of most European countries.
Canada is also consuming more wine than before, although more is imported wine, especially sparkling wine. Domestic production simply insufficient to cover demand. All these changes require wineries to increase their sales efforts. Small Italian producers are doing just that.
During mid-February this year, several winery owners and representatives from Friuli, Veneto, Lombardy, Tuscany, and Apulia visited Toronto on their way to Florida to inform the trade and wine writers about their wineries.
There were three seminars to shed more light on the wines of Friuli, Veneto, and Lombardy, followed by a walk around tasting.
35 wineries poured their bottlings.
There were about 100, but I managed to taste approximately 35.
The following appealed to my palate:
Bianco Le Bastie, 2008, Tenuta Tomasella, Friuli
Friulano, 2013, Tenuta Tomasella, Friuli
Soave Classico Carniga, 2011, Cantina del Castello, Veneto
Save Classico Campolungo, 2013, Villa Mattelli, Veneto
Chardonnay Venezia Bianco Arnase, 2013, Azienda Agricola Castello di Roncade, Veneto
Pinto Grigio, 2013, Feudi di Romans, Veneto
Varbera d’Asti, 2012, Il Boto, Piedmont
Solo Passia, 2012, Antiche Terre, Veneto
Valpolicella Ripasso, 2010, Cantina del Castello, Veneto
Sebino Pinto Nero, 2008, Ricci Curbastro, Lombardy
Franciacorta Saten Brut Museum Release, 2005, Ricci Curbastro, Lombardy
All of teh above, except Tenuta Tomasella were looking for agents in Ontario.
Prices were not provided.