Friday, March 21, 2014

Going Italian At Whole Foods: Gran Passione Rosso

This month and next, Whole Foods Markets has the spotlight on Italian wines at great prices.  Get the details on the wines and the April virtual tasting event on Twitter here.

You can go to the hashtag #WFMWine to see how much fun we had on the first tasting.

Today we sample one of those wines.

Twitter Tastings

Thursday March 13, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT:
Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi
Ruffino Orvieto Classico
Gran Passione Rosso
Donnafugata Sedàra

Thursday April 10, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT:
Presto Prosecco
Caposaldo Pinot Grigio
Monrosso Chianti
Verrazzano Rosso


Gran Passione Rosso $14.99
This wine is composed of 60% Merlot grapes and 40% Corvina, grown on small farms in the Veneto region.  Possessing a rich character due in large part to its production in the appassimento method, in which the Corvino grapes are dried in the sun before pressing.  It's the same way Amarone is made.  This process makes for heightened aromas and flavors, and it's not usually found in wines at this price point.  Oak aging adds its own touch of complexity.
This very dark, ruby-colored wine gives off quite the nose - noticeable from across the room.  Blackberry and black currant aromas are a delight, a pungent one, topped with notes of chocolate.  Deep, dark flavors of berries and prunes define the palate, and the mouthfeel is marked by wonderful acidity and firm tannins.  The richness of the wine is remarkable, and it does taste like a cousin to Amarone.  It's not priced like it, though - just $15 at Whole Foods.
The Twitter crowd really liked this wine, even before it was sipped.  @winefashionista sniffed and tweeted, "Love the nose on the Gran Passione - rose and violets!"  @RickGriffin also loved it: "Love the mouth feel of the GrandPassione! Velvety with berries, red stone fruit & a bit of spice which is nice!"  @WineHarlots liked the look and the taste of it:  "Great packaging... Cherries and leather."  @AnotherWineBlog chirped, "OMG the Gran Passione is to die for," while @ClearLakeWine tweeted, "Consensus in this tasting group is that the Gran Passione Rosso is the favorite of the night."   It was for me, too - at least my favorite red.