At an Italian wine trade event on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at Isola Blu, Ginza , Tokyo organized by wine importer, Shinji Nishida.
The guest of honor was wine maker and negotiant, 25 year old Eleonora Gottardi, from her family winery, Contra Soarda in Veneto, Italy. Eleonora Gottardi has worked getting wine making experience in France’s Jura and Germany’s Mosel, besides at her family winery in Veneto, Italy.
Also, she has worked in Japan’s importing business. Gottardi is not only confident, outspoken , knowledgeable and gutsy, but is as smart as a whip and multilingual.
The pyramid on the labels of her white wines represents the family’s steep vineyards, while the white square on the pyramid shows the exact location of each vineyard’s grapes within the bottle.
Many of her red wines have labels with donkeys, as she says her donkeys add to each red wine’s ‘Terroir ‘.
My favorite undiscovered grape was the white ‘Vespaiolo’. Vespa ( like the moped) means ‘wasp’. Gottardi said the Vespaiolo grapes must be harvested as soon as they are ripe, otherwise the wasps will eat them. As Vespaiolo grapes within a vineyard ripen unevenly, the pickers must go the vineyards several times to pick each bunch when it just is ripe. Vespaiolo grapes were traditionally used for Passito wines, and cannot be affected by botrytis.
The Vespaiolo wines were refreshing when young with lots of high ,up front on the tongue, natural racy acidity. The wine was like white spring flowers tinged with fresh snow, a hint of peach and lemon.
Even when aged in French oak, the natural acidity of the Vespaiolo grape remains high as the maturing wine becomes rounder, like peachy satin.
Next was a decanter filled with salmon-colored, full-bodied ‘Orange Wine’ from white grapes long fermented with the skins on.
And of course, what is an Italian wine event without a lovely sweet wine for meditation, a Passito made from pressing grape bunches, hung until they are like raisins, still leaving high natural acidity balancing natural grape sugars.
Gottardi’s hands on attention to detail is not only in the vineyard and in the winery, but in the creative labels and bottles.
Her special wines have a flowery, delicate cross on the labels, and are bottled in shortish, heavy port style bottles with deep punts and very high quality tight corks.
Her full-bodied reds with the donkey ‘terroir’ labels are dipped in wax as closures.
Asking Gottardi about food matching, she said that she prefers her special wines , labeled with the delicate cross to be sipped while reading a book.
( wines available at Takashimaiya, Tokyo)
Copyright Sandra Shoji 2018.