Recently voted in the top 10 wine bars of the United States by Gayot, Vino Venue is the place for Atlanta wine lovers. More than just a wine bar, the sleek, high-energy modern space at Vino Venue also serves as a wine retail store, culinary school and home to the Atlanta Wine School. Besides wine tastings, pairing classes in the gorgeous demonstration kitchen and wine certification courses, you can also enjoy three-course wine pairing dinners six nights a week and lunch on Saturdays. The vibrant space is also available for private events, educational tastings and team building experiences.
Last week I had the privilege of attending an educational seminar and wine tasting hosted by the Consorzio of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano at Vino Venue. Celebrating 50 years in existence, the Consorzio made it possible for us to hear from and interact directly with producers and wine makers from the hilltop town of Montepulciano and taste some extraordinary wines, many of which aren’t even distributed in Georgia. In addition to the six wines we tasted during the seminar, there was an open house tasting format with nearly 40 to 50 additional wines from the region. The unbelievable assortment of Tuscan wine was paired with some of Vino Venue’s delicious signature appetizers, like the wildly popular Wild Mushroom Flatbread, Beef Sliders and House Pimento Cheese on Flatbread.
The Rolling Hills of Tuscany
Montepulciano is a highly respected wine producing town located within Tuscany, which is one of the most famous wine regions in Italy. Like most other wines of the Old World, Italian wines are typically named after the place in which the grapes are grown rather than after the grape variety itself. In Tuscany, the Sangiovese grape and its many clones rule the blend, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is typically made with at least 70% Prugnolo Gentile, the local name for Sangiovese, and other indigenous grapes like Mammolo, Colorino and Canaiolo Nero, which are used for added pigments and tannins. Most of the Vino Nobile that we tasted exhibited the hallmark Sangiovese aromas of bright cherry and red berry, were high in acidity and moderate in alcohol and tannins, though the Riservas, which undergo additional aging, displayed greater complexity and softer, earthier flavors.
What’s in a Name?
The delicious wines we tasted included Vino Nobile or Riservas from the following labels: Fattoria La Braccesca, Lunadoro, Crociani, Tenuta Gracciano Della Seta, Montemercurio and Casale Daviddi. Place names in the wine world are important and protected by various laws and regulations. Don’t confuse Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which you now know is made from mostly Sangiovese grapes near the hilltop town of Montepulciano with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which is made from Montepulciano grapes grown in the Abruzzo region. In addition to Vino Nobile and the Riservas, there are also lighter, less expensive versions called Rosso di Montepulciano, which have shorter aging requirements. We got to taste some of these, as well as, the renowned Super Tuscans.
The Super Tuscan
Super Tuscans, which are made with untraditional international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah, typically have additional complexity and structure. Although Super Tuscan is not an official category, these wines are well known and highly regarded throughout the wine world. The wine regulations of most Old World countries, or DOC requirements in this case, are so strict that winemakers who want to experiment with international varieties are limited to use the designation table wine. But it quickly became evident that these Super Tuscans were no ordinary table wine and the regulations have since been modified to include additional varieties throughout Tuscany, as well as, create a new level of classification, IGT or wines with a typical geographic indication, that falls between the highest level of classification and table wine.
Your Venue for Wine and More
Crafted by Michael Bryan, the founder of the Atlanta Wine School, Vino Venue is truly a one-stop-shopping emporium for wine lovers. On any given Monday through Saturday night, you can choose from over 50 reasonably priced glasses of wine many of which are available through self-dispensing machines, 200 bottles, wine accessories, craft beer and a delicious menu of shareable plates and entrees. Experience wine lover’s paradise for yourself at 4478 Chamblee Dunwoody Road. Although the wine tasting and educational seminar was complimentary, the opinions expressed herein are honest and unsolicited.