Saturday, January 9, 2016

2012 Vieni Estates Briganti (Ontario VQA)

I was delighted to recently find this wine on general list in the LCBO. Vieni Estates' Briganti is a three-way blend of Foch, Baco and De Chaunac—at one time, three of the most common red hybrid grapes in Ontario.

You just don't see much innovation in this category of wine anymore. Up to the turn of the millennium, there were quite a few very good varietal Fochs, and even a few varietal De Chaunacs. This release seems to represent something of a rebirth for the genre, and I couldn't be happier. Having tried Vieni's excellent Foch Vintage Reserve last month, I was excited to see this release from the same winery.

The wine is bottled in a smart, screw-top bottle. It pours with a saturated, deep garnet colour that fades to a cherry-garnet hue at the meniscus. Baco Noir seems to lead on the nose, with briny, plummy fruit and some complex rootsy notes that are typical of many wines with V. riparia lineage. On the palate, there is brisk, clean acidity and very good texture; the wine is dry and cleansing. On the mid-palate, I seem to get more of the Foch notes, but in general, no single grape dominates. The finish is dry and clean—this is a wine made for the dinner table. It is well balanced at 12.0% alc./vol.

For stylistic comparison to other wines—think of a brisk northern Italian red like Barbera.

My food pairings would be lasagna, ribs, and pizza. The wine has the acidity and heft to invigorate and refresh the palate.

My only suggestion would be to give this wine some time in oak: even just 6-8 months in American (or Canadian!) oak would be sufficient. Aged this way, it would be very reminiscent of the excellent Harrow Estates Baco that Carlo Negri used to make in the late 1990s.

This Vieni Estates Briganti is a very welcome addition to Ontario's winescape. It is $12.95 on general list in the Ontario VQA section of the LCBO.

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