5StarWines & Wine Without Walls Trophy Award Ceremony & Masterclass – Live from Vinitaly 2024

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 Led by Robert Joseph, Daniele Cernilli, Andrea Lonardi MW

The 8th Edition of 5Star WInes & Wine Without Walls took place the week before Vinitaly 2024.  Robert Joseph gave the background to the attendees at the Trophy Masterclass.  Wines tasted were 2366, judged by 62 judges arranged in panels, with only those wines scoring 90 and above going into the new edition of the book.  This year, 884 wines will be included in the book.  The judges are a group of international wine professionals, including members of Assoenologi in Italy and Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassadors.  Joseph explained how the winners of the trophies are chosen, after all 2366 were tasted blind, discussed and assessed by the panels of judges.  He said, “We want balance, and complexity.  We want a wine that really stands apart, above all the other wines in the group.” Trophies are awarded to wines with scores of 94 and above and are intended to showcase “the best of the best.”  Daniele Cernilli added “the idea is impressive for us.  The General Chairs are fantastic, with a lot of international experience.  We confront all our points of view together before we award the trophies.”

Andrea Lonardi MW summed up the process from a different perspective.  “A Master of Wine has to drink everything from cheap wines to top wines. We have to be agnostic about it.  We have the most qualitative panel of judges possible in the world. Now we have to decide how to show these wines in the international market.”  Understanding that 60% of Italian wines still come from co-ops, and the transformation of the world of wine in recent years from two colors to 4 – including pink and orange – it is time for Italian wines to take the rightful place with more premium wines.  Lonardi said, “We were always suffering from lack of confidence in the face of French wine.  But look at these wines!  Italy has to express its uniqueness and the Italian wines you can pour all around the world.  A very good wine is not always an expensive wine.  It is the wine that expresses the best of its territory.”

The tasting began with the Miglior Vino Spumante (Best Sparkling Wine): awarded to Azienda Agricola tenuta Degli Angeli for their Vsq Brut Metodo Classico Degli Angeli 2018.  From Bergamo in Lombardy, the wine was 100% Chardonnay, vinified in the classic method, with 60 months on lees.   It was rich with notes of pastry cream, acacia, brioche, cedro peel and lime flower, with a creamy texture and a long citrus finish.

The second wine won the trophy for Miglior Vino Frizzante (Best Effervescent Wine) made in the tank method.  Reggiano Doc Lambrusco Frizzante Secco Il Ligabue 2023 from Cantina Sociale di Gualtieri from Reggio Emilia, a co-op that began in 1958, gave us a wine made from a blend of Lambrusco Salamino and Lambrusco Maestre.  Dry and aromatic with a beautiful purple-pink foam, the wine held scents of violets, black currants, red and purple grapes and a soft “tutti frutti” sweetness.  Joseph commented that “Lambrusco is the most misunderstood wine in the world and has undergone the biggest renaissance.”  Cernilli added, “Lambrusco is another world.”  The label, a colorful rustic rendition of a traditional farmer, was lauded as a great modern way to tell the story and history of this ancient wine.

The Miglior Vino Bianco (Best White Wine) was awarded to Silvio Carta’s Vernaccia di Oristano Doc Riserva 2004 from Sardinia.  Tawny in color and clearly an oxidative white wine, this unfortified white had an alcohol level of 19% and a nose reminiscent of sherry.  On the palate the wine was bone dry with  very high acidity and notes of balsamic herbs, orange and peach, with a pleasant phenolic grip. 

Cantina Tollo produced the winner of the Miglior Vino Rosato (Best Rosé Wine) with their Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Dop Deìvaì 2022.  Deep fuchsia pink in color, the wine was dry and tannic with flavors of fresh ripe cherries, raspberry, peach, pomegranate and cranberry.  Warm and well balanced.

Banco BPM sponsored the trophy for the Miglior Vino Italiano (Best Italian Wine), won by Agricola Gian Piero Marrone for their Barolo Docg Bussia 2019.  From Monforte in Piemonte, the wine was a sheer garnet color with restrained floral notes and quiet ripe red fruit.  Not a typical Barolo, there was an interesting bitter herbal character on the palate, along with elegant, smooth, silky  tannins and a full bodied, warm finish.

The final wine was awarded the trophy for the MIGLIOR VINO BIODINAMICO DOLCE (Best Biodynamic Sweet Wine).  Fattoria La Vialla di Gianni, Antonio e Bandino Lo Franco were the winners, with their Vin Santo Del Chianti Doc Occhio Di Pernice Riserva Vino Biologico 2015.  Caramel colored and sherried again on the nose, the wine was complex with notes of dried fruit, figs and candied orange peel.  On the palate it opened into a lovely medley of dried peel and melted brown muscovado sugar, with a vivid acidic spine and smooth gentle hints of warm cinnamon and toasted, candied almonds. 

The Masterclass tasting took place immediately before the Trophy awards ceremony and could not include all the wines which won.  For a full list of the winners, please visit https://www.5starwines.it/.

By Cynthia Chaplin IWA 

May 27, 2024
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