TOMMASI VALPOLICELLA (2010)—Well done, Tom

My Fellow Inebriates,

Mum and I both feel fully justified having a glass of wine (or two) every single night my dad’s away on his corporate team-building week. After all, he’s getting paid to golf. He’ll come back bronzed and well exercised, wined and dined, and, as I pointed out to my mother, no doubt there’ll be strippers and hookers and who knows what else.

Despite this last bit, my mum kiboshed any additional booze spending. LBHQ has some upcoming expenses, including a change of digs, which means we need to sock away some moving money.

When I asked how on earth I would manage without a new wine to review, my mother said, “Well, how did you manage before last October?” I said I didn’t have the same maelstrom of anxieties to contend with back then—the school hadn’t begun scaring us about lice yet, no one had shown me any handbags made of severed teddybear heads, my granny was alive, there wasn’t a haunted bear named Fluffy living in the house (he turned the alarm clock off on us with his mind yesterday and almost made us late, would you believe it?), my nana didn’t have any bionic bits yet, and we weren’t facing a change of headquarters.

“Too bad,” said my mother, “and half these things have nothing to do with you anyway.”

With that I had to scour my furry head to remember a recent tasting. Last time my nana and papa were here they brought over a 2010 Italian Valpolicella by TOMMASI VITICOLTORI, translated “TOM’S WINE.”

Left to my parents’ buying habits and almost Parkerite leanings, Valpolicella is as unlikely to enter LBHQ as, say, a Canadian Pinot Auxerrois. The style—a mixture of Corvina Veronase, Rondinella, and Molinara—is typically light and aromatic with a lower alcohol content. Nana and Papa came away from a 2011 tour of Italy with an appreciation for lighter Italian table wines that can be sipped at length without getting you plastered, and which are often dispensed from giant grocery-store wine machines for about a buck a litre.

I don’t know if TOMMASI VALPOLICELLA is the sort of wine you’d find in an Italian grocery store’s bulk section, but if so, we should pack our bags for that sunny country and stop messing around in Langley.

I suspect my dad’s parents, knowing their son’s preference for big, weighty wines, had some mischief in them when they brought it, and may well have been testing to see if he would dismiss it out of hand. Even the appearance of TOMMASI VALPOLICELLA would worry my dad, with its vibrant ruby clarity and brightness.

When swirled in the glass, it releases a sumptuous fruity bouquet dominated by fresh cherries. Fruit bursts on the palate with lovely acidity and balance. The body is light to moderate without being astringent, and at 12% alcohol TOMMASI VALPOLICELLA won’t land you on your back unless you bogart the whole bottle. For solid-food fans, it would pair nicely with sharp cheese and tomato-based dishes (I imagine).

Predictably my dad had faint praise for Tom’s wine, most likely because he hasn’t acquired a taste for the style. Everyone else thoroughly enjoyed it with dinner (or without, in my case), although—if we’re being honest—my parents and I do prefer heavier wines that get us gooned faster. But it’s always nice not to throw up after a family gathering, isn’t it?

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