2019 Winnipeg Wine Festival: Wine Down Event-An Italian Kitchen Party



Have you ever attended the annual Wine Festival, here in Winnipeg? The gala dinner is an event not to be missed, see a previous post here. The public wine tastings are a hoot-you get to sample more wine than you ever dreamed. So too the Wine Down events which occur throughout this week are an opportunity to nosh while lingering over a vast array of wines.


Even though the theme country for 2019 is Spain, Italian wines were featured at the “Italian Kitchen Party” event that we attended last evening and so too some great Italian tastes. My companion for the evening and I were thrilled about this preview as we travel to Tuscany together this fall.


We started with this Italian crudité and moved onto some really exceptional appetizers. Different aracina recipes are found all over Italy. The first time I tasted these was when we visited my Sicilian friend and her husband in their little rural cottage outside of Castellammare del Golfo. Although slightly different,  we really enjoyed Chef Lindsay Platt’s version: creamy, garlicky and crunchy all in one bite! So too her meatballs were exceptional and I mean moan worthy. Bite sized and made from ground beef and panko flakes, they were first baked and then cooked in the sauce (a must if doing so in the Italian manner). They were not overly dense and absorbed the flavour of the sauce beautifully.


My friend and I decided that we could contently dine el fresco on meatballs, potato chips and a great wine in Tuscany, and I expect we will do exactly that. Can you see us perched at the table where we will be staying? We hung around the kitchen for a bit to enjoy the creamy peas and gnocchi as well as a tasty bruschetta.

Typically I go on about something and have to remind myself to mention the food but in this case it is the wine! I immediately decided to eliminate tastes of half the wine: sparklings, whites and roses as I prefer the red variety. Even so, there were half of the almost forty wines to sample.

I enjoyed the bitter almond tastes of the Bottega Valpolicella Classico as well as a northern wine dubbed Vinicola Botter Gran Passione Rosso where it was explained that bolder Italian wines are made from grapes that receive a surmaturation; merlot grapes in this instance.

I enjoyed the smoky aromas of the Carpiento Chianti Classico Riserva. I have never visited Puglia but loved the Coppi Don Antonio from there. I knew that my husband D would love the Tommasi Rafael Valpolicella Classico with its hint of cherries. I once met a man who could easily afford any wine he chose to drink and he only drank Masi wines. I was impressed with the hazelnut notes of the Masi Brolo Camporifin Oro.


When one of the wine reps discovered that we would be sojourning in Tuscany this fall, they recommended a detour after we see Firenze (Florance) to visit Castello (Castle) Nippozzano where we can sample their Chianti Rufina Riserva. That detour is definitely going on our must do list.


In the end, I declared this wine my favourite: a velvety soft blend of sangiovese and merlot grapes!

If you have a best pal to attend a tasting event this week or weekend, call them and go. It is a lovely way to daydream of vineyards in Europe and in my case, anticpated times spent together.

Kath’s quote: “Il vino fa buon sangue = Good wine makes good blood (health)“. -Italian Proverb (I for one am sticking to that promise).


Photo taken in Montecatini Alto in Tuscany on our last trip to Italy.

Love never fails.






posted under Food Celebrations

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