Wine Reviews: A Night of Wine and Opera

Wine and Opera… what comes to your mind? For me, the first word I think of is ‘passion’. So when I was given the opportunity to enjoy Opera while dining at Vancouver’s finest Italian eatery Cioppino’s and enjoying the prestigious wines of Allegrini Estates in Italy, I said yes obviously!

If you are not familiar with Allegrini, they are located in Valpolicella, an area of Italy which is east of Venice. They have been in the wine business since the 16th century and are recognized as one of the top Italian wine producers in the world. An estate passed down through the generations. And you can easily tell through the elegance of the wines why they have the reputation they do.

Robin and his wife Meghan

Our evening was set up like this…after each wine was introduced by Robin Shay, the engaging Export Director of Allegrini Winery, his wife Meghan, a Mezzo-soprano Italian opera singer performed a song to introduce us to the personality of each wine before we began each course. What an amazing way to experience a wine. Here are each of the wines paired with each dish and the opera piece to match…

We were greeted with a glass of Corte Giara Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT 2015. A delightful way to begin a wonderful evening.


Wine 1 – Valpolicella DOC 2015

Grapes – Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Molinara

Notes of earth, mushrooms, fresh yet an old character, delicious acidity, youthful, herbaceous note

Opera – “Voi Che Sapete” from Le Nozze di Figaro

This is about falling in love for the first time, upbeat with intention

Menu – Canadian Wagyu beef carpaccio, eggless truffle mayonnaise

Earthy and savoury was perfect with the wine and the chocolate piece was a nice earthy truffle note.

Wine 2 – Palazzo delle Torre IGT 2013

Grapes – Corvina and Rondinella with a little Sangiovese

Notes of mushrooms, earthy and oaked with present tannins, concentrated and herbaceous. A portion of the grapes are set aside for appassimento – which is drying of the grapes for 3 months before they are put back into the wine

Opera – “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Gianni Schicchi

About a young woman with a clear direction but who will manipulate to get what she wants, intention and strength

Menu – Cavatelli of ricotta and semola with Alberta bison sausage ragout

The salty rich ricotta and earthy lean bison was perfect with the tannins and acidity of this wine


Wine 3 – La Grola IGT 2013

Grapes – Corvina, with a little Oseleta and Syrah

Fresh fruits, lively acidity, grippy tannins yet an old soul (a 1977 vineyard)

Opera – “Che faro senza Euridice” from Orfeo ed Euridice

He resuscitates her from the depths of hell “what will I do without you?”, loss, more depth and tone.

Menu – Barley and red wine risotto, crispy wild boar belly, Pino Nero chocolate Or Noir (a trademarked chocolate created by Pino of Cioppinos)

Chocolate shaving with salty fatty pork and earthy grain was delicious with the Corvina


Wine 4 – La Poja IGT 2011

Grapes – Corvina from the top terrace in the vineyard

Refined, depth, spirit, personality, speaks terroir, earth notes and has more intensity

Opera – “Habanera” from Carmen

Love, spirit and playful but LOVE is this song, intense

Menu – Sakura Farm pork duo with preserved cherries and coffee

The preserved cherry, coffee and nutmeg paired perfectly with the earthy notes of this wine


Wine 5 – Amarone Classico delle Valpolicella DOCG 2012

Grapes – Corvina with Rondinella and a little Oseleta

Made with the appasimento process and dried for 4 months, spicy, rich, intense yet smooth

Opera – “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables

Amar of Amarone is to LOVE and it can be bittersweet and heart wrenching, hopeless romantic

Menu – My interpretation of Gateaux Opera with Pino Caramore Or Noir (another trademarked chocolate by Pino)

A rich and intense dessert to match the rich, intense wine

What a memorable night experiencing the passion in this wine and the passion in the songs. Thank you to the International Wine Festival for creating this wonderful dinner. Until next year… cheers!

Donita Dyer

Co-Founder (Vancouver, BC Canada)

As bubbly and complex as vintage blanc de blancs Champagne. Donita has worked in Sales & Marketing within the Travel & Tourism Industry for years, and in the Wine Industry since 2013, as well as being an entrepreneur. She’s studied French Wine through the French Wine Guild and has earned her WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Level 3 Certificate. She also received a scholarship from Les Dames d’Escoffier towards the ‘Master of Champagne’ course. When Donita’s not working, she’s writing on her wine and food blog called: Wine & Food Concierge; she teaches a Wine 101 class; she coordinates social wine events and shares her love for rosé wine on a Facebook page called: The Pink Tank. She also loves to travel, cook, explore any culinary scene and is an Actor and Hand Model.

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