Set The Bar
Lifestyle in Style

The Tyranny of Tuscany!

Don’t get me wrong Tuscany is a beautiful area of Italy and produces brilliant wines. However in the LCBO June 22, 2019 Vintages release catalogue there are seven wines from Tuscany and only one from Campania. In the July 6th release there are six Tuscan wines and none from Campania. Now I am not going to act like Peter Finch from the movie “Network” and get you to shout out of your window, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore”. I think I’ll just mope a bit and be disappointed about the “tyranny” of Tuscany when it comes to Italian wine releases. Puglia, Sicily, Piedmont, Veneto and other regions of Italy also receive the cold shoulder from LCBO buyers.

These regions are all producing great wines so why are they not getting the shelf space?  Is it because Tuscan wines are big tried and true LCBO sellers? Is it because Tuscan producers market themselves so well?  Is it because journalists are being ferried over to Tuscany to write about Tuscan wines giving them more press?

If memory serves me well the Tuscan Consortium holds its own show in Toronto each year and puts out a good spread and a good tasting. There is nothing like good grub, a nice venue and good wine to keep journalists happy. A simple rule not paid attention to by many wine producing countries when hosting a local show in Canada your food better be good or the wine writers will not be happy.  I used to take a dim view of Torontonian wine writers about this but given the endless stream of “wine pairing with food is so important” coming from the wine producing countries perhaps the journalists have a point. Put your money where your mouth is! Put on a cheap show with crappy food and run the risk of bad press. Given all the wine shows I have been to locally the Italians and Greeks impress. However go abroad on a media tour and food is next to godliness particularly for the Italians as it should be. I mean the food I had in Naples on my recent trip was unbelievably good and the wines served matched the food to a tee!

About the only thing we can do is express your opinion about this to your Vintages sales rep and just keep trying “the other Italian wines”. What is the expression, “Money talks bullshit walks?”

Well let’s walk to a Fiano from Campania called Porconero, meaning black pig. Fiano is a very important Campanian white grape. It has a light gold colour. Along with timid floral notes on the nose it has apple, pear, melon, honey, peach and mango. On the palate it is a midweight wine with notes of white peach, pear, mango and it has a surprisingly long finish. It has a delightful gruffness to its back plate reminding me of an Encruzado from the Dão region of Portugal. This leads me to believe the presence of volcanic soil or granite?

 This would match well with a white pizza or homemade pasta with zucchini julienne topped with toasted walnuts. I certainly would not argue pairing it with fried calamari doused with freshly squeezed lemon. I had both these dishes with Fiano in Naples recently so I can vouch for the match!

Very generally speaking I am not a great fan of many whites as they are dry, simplistic and bland. Having been to Campania in May I have really been attracted to their whites. Like this wine there is complexity, great minerality and the tremendous ability to pair with local foods. This wine is delicious and priced so reasonably I’d say given its quality it is a steal.

It is produced by “The Establishments of SA-6792” leading me to believe it is a co-operative?

(Tenuto el Porconero, Campania IGT Fiano 2017, A.A.S.S.G.P C/DA Zerilli, Salerno, Italy (Establishments of S.A. 6792), $17.95, 12.6%, LCBO # 485201, Set The Bar Rating 94/100).

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