We’ll do almost anything for a taste of the heavenly Amarone – even paint a masterpiece.
Painting For My Wine
During a recent business trip to Orlando, Green Dragon and I had a choice of several different activities. One was laying by the pool, which wasn’t very appealing during in light of the overcast weather. Another choice was bowling – not bad, but it didn’t hold a candle to the promise of an Italian wine tasting.
It wasn’t until we arrived at the Loews Portofino Bay Resort that I learned that this was a wine and painting event. The wine and painting craze has spread through the wine world like the hula hoop fad in the 1960s. Everyone is doing it.
At the appointed time we hustled into our room which was arrayed with desktop easels, paintbrushes and four wine glasses. We had a couple of artists who led us through painting a scene from Portofino, Italy, not to be confused with the magnificent Loews Portofino hotel, which looks very much like its Italian namesake except for the fact it is plunked down in the midst of Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure.
Creating A Masterpiece
The wines for the event were presented by Joshua Franck of Southern Wine & Spirits of North Florida. He did a wonderful job of selecting the wines and providing facts about the wine regions of Italy.
We enjoyed a Pinot Grigio, a Bordeaux style blend, a Nero d’Avola and… a beautiful Amarone. We were joined by our friend Patty, who is a very good amateur artist.
The wine tasting was a bit challenging. If we concentrated too much on the painting, it provided an opening for a hotel staff to swoop in an remove my unfinished glass of wine. If we focused instead on our wine, the painting definitely became more abstract.
While I was trying to help Green Dragon with her painting, Patty was showing us up by adding elaborate flowerboxes and Da Vinci style touches to her painting. Thankfully we had wine!
A Traditional Wine to Savor
Amarone wine uses the passito process. The grape bunches are placed on straw in drying rooms to wither until the grapes lose about 45% of their water. This concentrates the sugar and flavors.
The grapes used in the Ca’ Bertoldi are mostly Corvina Veronese, with lesser amounts of Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta, Merlot and Croatina. This exotic mix is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then matures in oak for 36 months. Amarone can age up to 20 years.
The Ca’ Bertoldi is deep ruby in color and the bouquet is full and fruit laden. As we sipped the wine, paintbrush in hand, we could feel the spirit of Italy. Italians call this a meditation wine and as we enjoyed the full, velvety, raisin and spice flavors it was easy to get lost in the moment.
Our paintings may never make it to the Louvre or the Toledo Museum of Art, but through paint and wine we certainly enjoyed an artistic afternoon.