An Astounding Variety in Quality Red Wine Products
Le Velette is one of our Italian suppliers and is based in Umbria. They produce four quality red wine products, all of which we tasted and reviewed recently. There were two other sommeliers offering their feedback and ideas on these products, along with myself. The notes below represent the consolidated details of all three reviewers.
For the record, the four products we tasted include:
- Rosso di Spicca
Today’s article focuses on the first two products: Rosso di Spicca and Accordo.
What is Canaiolo?
In the case of a tasting between Le Velette’s Rosso di Spicca and Accordo, Canaiolo is one of the reasons why there is a noticeable difference between these two products.
The Rosso di Spicca has 15% Canaiolo (and 85% Sangiovese) whereas the Accordo is pure Sangiovese.
Canaiolo is a native Italian grape that was very important in Chianti blends. In the days before electricity was ubiquitous, wine makers needed to moderate the risk of depending on one grape when it came to wine production. In essence, the relationship of Sangiovese and Canaiolo is very similar to that of the grapes in a classic Bordeaux blend like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Canaiolo shows an exceptional ability to dry without rotting, giving it a higher sugar content than other varieties. When a producer’s fermentation process was halted because of unexpected cold weather, the semi-dried Canaiolo could be added to the mix, kick-starting the process again.
This relationship was common up to the late 19th century when phylloxera decimated most of Europe’s vineyards, but unlike most other varieties in Europe, Canaiolo didn’t take as well to grafts to North American plants. As a result, it fell out of commercial use, but the truly passionate producers kept it alive. Le Velette is one of those producers.
With that in mind, lets get to our reviews.
Rosso di Spicca:
Since Rosso di Spicca is partly made with Canaiolo, you’re getting a ‘classic’ Classic Chianti experience.
The appearance of Rosso is a medium ruby core to pale ruby rim.
On the nose, the Rosso di Spicca is clean and possesses hints of cherry and other red fruits, touches of vanilla, with hints of blueberry, pepper, light spice and even mint.
On the palate, the wine offers a medium structure with lower tannin and light pepper and blueberry is repeated in the taste.
This wine is 13% alcohol and sells for $13.95. It is a perfect ‘starter’ wine or entry-level red suitable for almost any North American meal. Because of the use of Canaiolo, meals can include the following:
- Wild boar and mushroom pasta (tagliatella cinghiale e porcini)
- Lamb and tahini koftas (kafta bil tahina)
- Wild mushroom and eggplant phyllo
Rosso di Spicca is definitely a ‘drink now’ wine that doesn’t need further aging or cellar time.
Accordo is 100% Sangiovese and is aged longer in smaller oak barrels called barriques. They allow for slightly more oxidation and contact with the oak barrel, resulting in stronger chocolate and caramel characteristics.
There’s also further further contact with the skins for 15 to 20 days after fermentation.
We see how both of these vinification details alter the impact of the wine compared to the Rosso di Spicca.
The appearance of Accordo is a medium ruby throughout, from core to rim.
On the nose, we get a slightly more complex combination of cocoa, cedar, licorice, oak, vanilla, blackberry, plum, cherry and even dates.
On the palate, we get similar structural notes as the Rosso, but we all detected a slightly better balance with acid and a long finish showing cedar notes and hints of black fruit.
The consensus was that this is a very well integrated red wine that can be enjoyed with a very wide array of meals, but can also be enjoyed on its own in casual drinking environments.
Accordo is a fantastic representation of the ‘Chianti’ style of wine production and at $17.95 in Ontario, it’s a wonderful drinking experience to be shared with friends over long meals.
Accordo can be consumed now, but will also benefit from a little bit more aging (2-3 years maximum).
The Rosso di Spicca could best be described as an event wine that is adaptable to most meals. It’s something that you’d order for 300 guests or that you’d have for your dinner every other day.
Accordo is something you might want to share with friends as you dine and talk the night away.
Either way, both of these products offer an exciting entry to the family of Le Velette reds and should be a part of your cellar for years to come!