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Watch Andreas Larsson, Best Sommelier of the World, tastes “Capo di Stato” 2008, legendary wine from historic Venetian estate Loredan Gasparini – Venegazzù.
Located due North of Venice, the historic estate of Venegazzù produces one of the most famous red wine in Italy: Capo di Stato.
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Our owner’s recommendations for your pleasure readings and extravagant indulgence.
OWNER’S RECOMMENDATIONS #01
Vie di Romans – Great Whites!
The unswerving dedication of the Gallo family to vineyards and wines, dating back over a century, is rooted in the labour and determination of family members such as Basilio, Stelio, Gianfranco and their relatives.Gianfranco, who has managed the estate since 1978, introduced radical and far-reaching viticultural programmes and has devoted painstaking attention to winemaking practices; these initiatives have given the stamp of unique personality to the wines of Vie di Romans over the last 20 years.
There were a number of important steps in this historic process. 1978 saw the first bottling and label on the market, followed by vineyard reorganization aiming at improving quality in 1982; in 1989 the new three-storey winery building was erected. Wines from distinct vineyards were produced separately beginning in 1990, and in 1992, with the release of the 1990 vintage, the custom was established of releasing all whites a full two years after harvest.
Vie di Romans’ vineyards are located in the Isonzo plains and are planted to high densities and the fruit is picked as late as possible. Gallo works in a reductive manner in his impeccably clean cellar, eliminating the wines’ contact with air as much as possible with the goal of making structured wines capable of extended cellaring. Most of the wines undergo malolactic fermentation in French oak although a few see only stainless steel.
In recent vintages Gallo has made significant strides in quality. In the past Gallo was fanatical about communicating the exact details of vinification and aging for his wines, particularly in the use of cooperage, but he has become somewhat more reluctant, as he found that consumers formed preconceived ideas of what the wines would taste like before trying them. Although it is hard to fault Gallo for that view, it is also inescapable that he bottles large number of different wines and some of his single-varietal wines are made in two versions, so it is only natural that consumers might wonder what the differences are. At the end of the day, however, the wines speak for themselves. These remain some of the richest, lushest wines being made in Friuli, but they are also among the most elegant. Our tasting ended with a few 1996s, and I am pleased to report that the wines are still delicious today.
The 2007 Flor di Uis (Friulano, Riesling Renano and Malvasia) is one of the few wines in this lineup that achieves the level of elegance that readers have come to expect from Vie di Romans. Suggestions of passion fruit, mango, spices and flowers are woven together in an intricate, mid-weight frame. The wine offers outstanding length, with the Malvasia providing an attractive lift on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2013 Proprietor Gianfranco Gallo is one of the leading producers in Friuli. His wines typically seek a rich, lush expression of fruit.
The 2007 Chardonnay Ciampagnis Vieris is a big, full-bodied white bursting with ripe tropical fruit, smoke, licorice and minerals. This is a fairly intense, weighty Ciampagnis Vieris with plenty of concentration..
The 2007 Pinot Grigio Dessimis flows with tons of exotic, super-ripe fruit. The Dessimis is typically one of the riper, more extroverted Pinot Grigios readers will taste, and in this vintage those qualities are on full display.
Another very rich Sauvignon, with plenty of barrel fermented character from toffee to coconut. Full and very dense and powerful, with loads of fruit and flavor. Lots of flinty and toasted oak flavors. Like the decadence. Drink now.—Proprietor Gianfranco Gallo is one of the leading producers in Friuli. His wines typically seek a rich, lush expression of fruit.
OWNER’S RECOMMENDATIONS #02
Arnaldo Caprai – Sagrantino
My visit with Marco Caprai a few months ago was one of the highlights of a day in Montefalco. In recent years Montefalco has experienced a boom in interest and new investments. Little of this success would have been possible without the foresight of Caprai, a man who has dedicated considerable time and resources in promoting the unique qualities of Sagrantino and Montefalco after taking over his family’s estate in 1988. Never one to rest on his laurels, Caprai’s newest project is Montefalco 2015: A New Green Revolution, a collaborative effort involving a number of local wineries which aims to examine and address issues of sustainability in the region.
No expense has been spared at the winery, something that is plainly evident even to the most casual observer. A well-appointed visitors’ center lies at the heart of the property. All of the estate’s wines are available for tasting and purchase in the beautifully appointed tasting room. By far the most impressive part of the winery is the vineyards. Caprai has experimented endlessly with clonal selection in his drive to understand all things Sagrantino. The vineyards themselves are impeccably manicured. Here, too, Caprai has invested significantly in discovering the optimal vine density for Sagrantino, as is evidenced by the many different vine training systems in place throughout the large, sprawling estate.
Sagrantino boasts a history that goes back at least several centuries. Up until fairly recently, though, Sagrantino was most often vinified as a sweet dessert wine meant to be enjoyed over the Easter holidays. Because of its intense color and formidable tannins, when it was vinified as a dry wine, Sagrantino was traditionally blended with Sangiovese and other varieties in Montefalco Rosso, the standard red table wine of the region. It has only been over the last few decades that producers have learned to tame some of Sagrantino’s wilder elements, and the results have been extremely promising, as this tasting attests.
Like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, Sagrantino is a grape that gives its best results in years where hot days are tempered by cool nights, conditions that allow for full phenolic ripeness to be reached gradually. Caprai and consulting oenologist Attilio Pagli favor fairly lengthy macerations, which they believe help soften the tannins as much as possible, within the context of Sagrantino. Malolactic fermentation takes place either in steel or French oak, depending on the quality of the fruit itself, and all of the wines are subsequently aged in French oak barrels.
The Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano, first produced in 1979, is Caprai’s more accessible Sagrantino. In top vintages, it has proven to age very nicely. The Collepiano is aged in French oak, roughly 1/3 of which is new.
The 2007 Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano is superb. A beautifully open, expressive core of fruit dazzles from start to finish, while silky tannins show an elegant, rare side of Sagrantino. Sweet varietal notes wrap around the poised, centered finish. Marco Caprai continues to set the standard for contemporary wines in Montefalco.
OWNER’S RECOMMENDATIONS #03
Nino Negri – Opulence of Amarone with the elegant complexity of Barolo
“Nino Negri has confirmed itself a star of first magnitude.” – Gambero Rosso. Established in 1897, Nino Negri is the premier estate producing wine in the Valtellina DOCG in Italy’s Lombardy region. The success of Nino Negri and the greater Valtellina region is due largely to the efforts of winemaker Casimiro Maule who has worked at the estate since 1971, his entire professional life. In 2007, Casimiro was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Gambero Rosso, the authority in Italian wine.
The Valtellina region, located at the base of the pre-Alps on Italy’s border with Switzerland, is an extremely challenging terroir. A narrow, 25 mile-long amphitheater of terraced vineyards that line the north bank of the Adda river, forming a deep gorge amid mountainous terrain. This is Italy’s largest terraced area of viticulture: an impressive 1,500 miles of dry walls that support the terraces are distributed over the 25-mile strip. Working this land is a monumental, back breaking toil.
Steep, nearly vertical vineyards from 2,400 to 3,000 feet elevation rule out the use of any mechanical equipment. All work, from removing soil to harvesting grapes is done by hand. The star and primary varietal here is Chiavennasca, the local name for Nebbiolo. The variety has been cultivated here for over 1,000 years and it is said that it was brought from here to neighboring Piedmont in the 14th Century. All Valtellina DOCG wines must contain at least 90% Chiavennasca.
Nino Negri controls 184 Ha (450 acres) of the finest Chiavennasca vineyards in the Valtellina Superiore DOCG subzones of Sassella, Grumello, Inferno and Valgella. The estate owns an exceptional 34 Ha (85 acres) and has long-term contracts (50-60 yrs) from 220 growers covering an additional 150 Ha (370 acres). Eleven of the 34 Ha owned (27 acres) comprise the Fracia vineyard, an exclusive cru planted since 1995 to special clonal selections and vinestocks that are cultivated horizontally from west to east, an innovated planting scheme for this region.
The winery is located in the city of Chiuro in the 15th Century Quadrio Castle. The “castle” sits above an array of underground cellars which house thousands of barrels. The wines are aged here in medium-sized oak, almost exclusively French. All Nino Negri wines age for at least two years before they are released to ensure optimum maturity at time of bottling.
The estate specialty is Sfursat (“strained” or “forced”); a wine made from grapes harvested by trained pickers and dried for 100 days in the cool, dry, alpine air. This winemaking style combines the opulence of Amarone with the elegant complexity of Barolo.
This is made from partially dried 100% nebbiolo grapes (like amarone style) – a full bodied specialty only found in Valtellina zone in Lombardy. “Sfursat” literally means “to force” – ie to “force” water out from the grape berry making more concentrated wines. Nino Negri’s 2004 Sfursat 5 Stelle is rich and weighty in its expression of sweet dark cherries, spices, flowers, minerals and toasted oak. Made in an intense layered style, it offers notable depth as well as clarity in its detail. Today it comes across as quite youthful and in need of bottle age. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019. Nino Negri is one of Valtellina’s historic wineries. The estate’s top wine is the Sforzato 5 Stelle. Interestingly, the Negri wines showed best in narrow-shaped glasses which helped focus the wines’ aromatics and also gave the fruit more volume as well as sweetness.
The 2008 Valtellina Superiore Vigneto Fracia is impressive. Firm yet well-integrated tannins frame dark cherries, mountain herbs, flowers, licorice and tobacco. The aromas and flavors literally resonate off the palate in this deeply expressive wine. A backbone of lively acidity gives the wine its focus and sense of proportion. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023.
Crushed flowers, autumn leaves, spices and dried cherries are some of the notes that waft from the glass in the 2008 Quadrio. Delicate and alluring, the 2008 impresses for its overall balance. Even better, it is a terrific value. The Quadrio is 90% Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) and 10% Merlot, aged in cask. This is a great introduction to the wines of Valtellina. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.
Negri’s cask-aged Sforzato di Valtellina Sfursat is made from air dried Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo). It reveals a sweet, open bouquet along with an expansive palate of dark fruit. The wine possesses notable up-front beauty and depth. The Sforzato di Valtellina Sfursat is a heady, exotic wine imbued with ripe red fruit, herbs, and spices.
This delightful white blend is produced from carefully chosen vineyards in the commune of Teglio (for the Chiavennasca) and in the commune of Tresivio for the Sauvignon and the Chardonnay, all at about 400 metres altitude. This wine is elegant and complex, endowed with excellent structure. The wine is clear, golden yellow in colour, with a very intense bouquet, with strong notes of lychees, ripe melon, raspberries, vanilla, mineral hints (flint stone) and musk and suggestion of aromatic herbs. It has a rich, full flavour, velvety but well structured, particularly savoury with an elegant, lingering aftertaste of exotic fruits and spices. It pairs well with fish, shellfish, pates, terrines and galantines; cold white meats.
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Ca dei Frati
Ca' del Bosco
Casanova di Neri
Castellare di Tonda
Castello dei Rampolla
Castello di Monsanto
Castello di Nieve
Ciacci Piccolomini d' Aragona
Citille di Sopra
Col d' Orcia
Di Majo Norante
Donna Olimpia 1898
Fattoria dei Barbi
Fattoria del Cerro
Fattoria di Barbi
Fattoria di Magliano
Fattoria di Piazzano
IL Faggeto Baroncini
Isole E Olena
La Ca Nova
Le Colline C. Ravizza
Marchesi di Barolo
Marchesi di Gresy
Pian dell Orino
Pieve S. Restituta
Podere Il Carnasciale
Pojer & Sandri
Produttori del Barbaresco
Quinta do Judeu
Rocca di Castagnoli
Rocca di Fabbri
San Giusto a Rentennano
Tenuta di Trinoro
Tenuta San Guido
Tenute di Biserno
Tenute di Ghizzano
Terre Degli Svevi
Terre di Giurfo
Vie di Romans