The Wines of Scarpa

Gathering wine writers in a Chinese restaurant to taste some of the finest wines of Piedmont


Casa Vinicola Scarpa is a venerable house, producing, among other wines, Barolo and Barbera that virtually no one in the States is familiar with. Not imported for the past two decades, Scarpa has nonetheless continued to produce some utterly convincing Barolos and one of the world's greatest expressions of Barbera. 
I was thrilled to have been able to arrange a Grand Tasting of their wines for a group of wine writers who were in New York City last month as guests of Snooth as part of our People’s Voice Wine Awards. Among all the events scheduled over the course of a long weekend, this Scarpa tasting was the first, and in some ways the most gratifying for me. You might already know that I love the wines of Piedmont, and being able to introduce the wines of Scarpa to such an esteemed audience was a real treat. 
It's also a treat to be able to read about the event and the wines from several perspectives, which at the end of the day was the real purpose of the PVA Wine Writer's Weekend. The value of a viewpoint by itself is debatable, but the value of multiple viewpoints increases the value of each. 

Different Writers: Different Voices

We'll be writing up our events each week or so over the next two months and I urge you all to take a look at what each author has written. You may very well be surprised to find a new favorite wine writer, but more importantly, you should be able to see some consensus forming around various wines or wineries, and that is where our cumulative power lies.

Alone, each writer is a voice, but together we are a chorus. It will be fascinating to see how this project evolves over time, where we find consensus and where our views diverge. And of course you, our readers, are part of this project, so please let me know your thoughts on this as well. By having multiple voices, did you gain a better understanding of the wines of Scarpa? What other topics would you like to see approached this way? 


Benito's Wine Reviews

You are in a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan in a room full of strangers that you've only met through a computer network. You have been invited to try Italian wines that haven't been sold in the United States for twenty years. Your mission is to write about them.

There are moments in my life when, faced with a new situation, I wonder what ten year old me would think about it. Around that time, I can imagine such a scene as the start of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I've traveled quite a bit in my lifetime and have gotten to do some amazing things, but there are still those unique experiences I think that ten year old me would love to read about and dream about having... 


Wannabe Wino

Where is Scarpa Winery, you might ask? On this particular night, it was found at Peking Duck in Manhattan, but in reality, Scarpa is in Piedmont, Italy. When I traveled to NYC a couple weeks ago to attend the Snooth People’s Voice Awards blogger conference, we were able to try quite the line up from this winery, which is not currently imported to the US, but is looking to come to the market ASAP. The Scarpa tasting kicked the conference off with a bang, with almost a dozen more tastings to follow. Lucky for Scarpa, being first, our palates were fresh and ready to taste...


VineSleuth Uncorked

I arrived in New York for the Snooth PVA weekend, used Uber for the first time to secure a great ride from the airport to my hotel, checked in, and was able to meet up with a dear friend for a warm-up glass of wine and great conversation at Lulu & Me. (Fantastic roasted shrimp crostini, by the way. The lemon caper cream was a perfect, refreshing touch.)

After that I made my way to the Peking Duck House for our first seminar, where we learned about Scarpa’s Barbera d’Asti and Barolos.

Scarpa’s wines are grown and made in the northern part of Italy as they have been since 1854. The winery is in Nizza Monferrato, in the Piedmont region. As I took my seat, this is what was before me...


Wine Julia

Arriving by subway and a swift walk through the streets of New York City, three wine bloggers (whom I met just 20 minutes earlier in the lobby of our Chelsea-Manhattan hotel) and I arrived at the Peking Duck House for the first of many wine tasting events we’d be attending together over the course of the next day and a half. Directed to the back room, we were able to briefly meet some of the other attending bloggers before taking a seat at one of three tables that were clearly set for our first Snooth PVA wine tasting. The twelve glasses placed at each setting were filled with wine from Scarpa, a 150 year old winery located in the Italian wine region of Piedmont. Only can a group of wine writers arrive at a restaurant to find their tables completely filled with wine glasses, and not an ounce of food (except for the palate cleansing crackers, of course).

After briefly looking over the list of wines that were poured into the twelve glasses in front of me, I realized I was about to taste some seriously high-caliber wines. Ranging in vintages from 2007 to 1978, with prices from $52 dollars a bottle to $500 dollars a bottle, our weekend of wine tasting was most certainly beginning with a bang. And, it was all about Scarpa’s Barbera d'Astis and Barolos...


My Vine Spot

On a Friday evening, in a private room of the Peking Duck House in Manhattan, Martina Zola of Scarpa, along with Snooth's Editor-in-Chief, Gregory Dal Piaz, led us through a “Wines of Scarpa Master Class.” Snooth calls Scarpa “one of the last unknown treasures of the Piedmont.” The winery was founded in 1854 by Antonio Scarpa, an enologist from the Veneto region. Their techniques–cited by Snooth and confirmed later by Martina–have changed little over time. As Snooth pointed out, Scarpa is one of the few traditional producers that remain in the region. The winery is located in Nizza Monferrato–a Province of Asti, Italy.

For this class, we had the good fortune of tasting five vintages of their Barbera Bogliana, which spends five years in large oak barrels (resulting in a relatively low amount of oak influence) and eight vintages of Barolo. These wines included some special vintages and aged treasures that I otherwise would not likely have an opportunity to taste (since these wines are not available in the US to the best of my knowledge)...

Admittedly, I usually think of Barbera–Italy’s most widely planted grape variety–as a light-bodied, red fruit dominated, (fairly) bright, and affordable everyday wine. These examples of Barbera were pretty serious and absolutely delightful; exhibiting wonderful–even intoxicating–aromas, exceptional depth of flavor and length, complexity, and grace.

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  • Snooth User: Eric Guido
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    92549 196,585

    This is great, I'm so sad i missed this dinner. Love how all the different perspectives come together to form a good consensus of the wines.

    Apr 10, 2013 at 7:38 PM

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