Constellation Brands 2017 tasting: when some wines are a first person storytelling...

By Marina La Forgia

Every year, the prestigious Canadian agency Constellation Brands - Marques Constellation organizes a professional event to showcase the latest innovations, boost its already popular labels and discover the icon wines of its portfolio. It was the first time I had the opportunity to participate in this event, which undoubtedly I have to highlight its impeccable organization and the variety of wines available for tasting. But above all, I was impressed by the quality of the exclusive master class offered by 4 indisputable referents of the industry: Bruce Nicholson, Inniskillin Niagara State's chief enologist, Beppe d'Andrea, senior brand ambassador for Ruffino, Mark de Vere, brand ambassador for Robert Mondavi and Joel Peterson, founder of Ravenswood winery, oenologist and "godfather" of the Zinfandel. Eugene Mlynczyk, the director of the agency's high-end level wines portfolio, was in charge of the animation.

During the master class, a selected tasting of 12 wines was made under the passionate commentaries of these wine industry referents, explaining the particularities of each wine, where it comes from and where it is headed in terms of marketing and positioning. Without being a technically complex tasting, I have liked the personal approach that each of these professionals has given when presenting their wines. Actually, it is not easy to raise humbly the flags of these prestigious and international brands! Regarding Nicholson, I was surprised by his precision and perfection that undoubtedly transpire in the quality of his wines, D'Andrea has seduced me with his ability to convey with contagious clarity and authenticity the identity of these Made In Italy great wines, thanks to Mark de Vere I have been able to verify that each of the wines of Mondavi have a unique and different identity, and Peterson has learned to me that there is no grape variety that represents better and with more versatility the Californian terroir than Zinfandel.
From the 12 wines, all storytellings in first person, these were my favorites:

Ruffino Modus 2013 - SAQ Price: 28,55
The freshness of the Sangiovese, the structure of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the elegance of the Merlot blend into this wine with a very modern and sublime character. With an overflowing nose of ripe fruit, tobacco and pepper, in the mouth is an explosion of flavor, very unctuous, fleshy and intense. The tannins still present augur this "super Tuscan" a longevity that will surely round off its slightly rebellious character. For those who like a strong wine, the Modus is a perfect value.

Ravenswood Icon 2012 – Private Imports Price: $ 84,00
The Icon is a blend wine with the best varieties available in Sonoma: Petite Syrah, Carignan, Alicante Bouschet and Zinfandel, of course, which brings the elegance. It offers a bouquet of aromas very intense: wild berry fruits, cinnamon, caramel, and all those notes expected in a great wine. In the mouth, it has an outstanding structure and unctuousness, it is quite enveloping and very tasty. A supreme quality wine, a delight to my humble palate.

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – SAQ Price: $35,00
I highlight this cabernet because of its more vegetable and less fruity and sweet character than we are normally used to find in Californian Cabernet wines. Fortunately, this Napa Valley Cab is a magnificent sampling of all the characteristics of the variety most planted in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape with so many nuances and this wine offers us its most elegant notes: violets, peppers, plums and mushrooms creating a very nice bouquet. The mouth is very delicate and is a easy drinking wine. A tannic structure and  the acidity are slightly noticeable in the end, but are typical characteristics of Mondavi wines style.

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 – Private Imports Price: $28,60
It was overwhelming. His first nose clearly reminded me of peach aromas, and I found it very attractive. Its fruitful character was then completed with very intense notes of pear and bananas, well defined, very fresh and elegant. On the palate, it is also very generous. A true delight that has all the peculiarities of this variety: fruit, unctuousness and charisma. I recommend it with my eyes closed, to better capture its seductive aromas....

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Vidal Icewine 2015 – SAQ Price: $ 50,55
I can not finish this chronicle without doing it on a high note, with the strawberry of the cake, the Canadian nectar the world falls in love with. Inniskillin's Vidal icewine is a supreme product, the perfection in every little bottle, which in my opinion is the trademark of one of the best Canadian oenologists. Its notes of tropical fruits and citrus fruits such as kinoto and orange, its texture and sweetness are very particular and they are the admirable result of an exhaustive work of the grape and a perfect control of the inclemences of Canadian climate. This icewine is a delicious elixir like a dropper, mostly enjoyable by those who know that the icewine is more than a wine. It is part of the local canadian culture and identity, at its highest quality.


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