Boston Wine Expo: Dinner at Angelo's in Stoneham

Offline at Angelos
Thor smiles beatifically over his wine as the camera catches Jim and Judy's attention.
As it so often is on Boston Wine Expo weekend, Angelo's in Stoneham (suburban Boston) was the scene for the weekend's opening "offline," a real-world gathering of wine lovers who mostly know each other through the online environment of's Wine Lovers' Discussion Group (WLDG) forums.

A smallish but companiable group assembled to inaugurate the festivities: Thor and Theresa Regli Iverson, Jim and Judy Barr, David Cohen, Kevin Engleman (charter-member WLDGer and first-time offliner), Robert Jones, Theresa's co-worker Anthony Wilson and his wife Dolly and her mother, and your humble scribe.

The fare was respectable Boston Italian-American, the usual offerings from this trattoria-in-a-pizzeria; the fellowship and wine-geek talk was all you would expect from a Boston offline, and the wines ... ah, the wines. At Theresa's request, David brought a trio of Canadian wines that were drinkable and of educational interest; and the dozen other wines on the table - heavy on the artisanal Italians and not a single New World item among 'em - were exceptional even by the lofty standard of WLDG offlines.

No wacky Internet jokes here, just the tasting notes, terse and concise as you would expect from a PocketPC that survived an ice-water dousing in a brief incident early in the meal:

Pasil 2000 "Pie Franco" Rueda (Spain) Superior - Watery pale. Citric, snappy, intense.

Trimbach 1998 Alsace Pinot Blanc - Pale brass. Good body and acid, citric and tart.

Domini Veneti 1997 Valpolicella Classico Superiore La Cassetta di Ettore Righetti - A huge burst of jammy fruit and spice. Amazing. Develops bretty barnyard aromas, not unpleasant, after an hour in the glass.

Prunotto 1993 Pian Romualdo Barbera d'Alba - Full black cherries, round and balanced. Mature but very much alive.

Vigorello 1997 Toscana - Ripe black cherry and spicy oak. Juicy and full with a distinct mint flavor.

Paolo Bea 1998 Montefalco Rosso Riserva - A bit closed on the nose but explosive on the palate; ripe and juicy black fruit, soft tannins; delicious.

Malivoire 1999 Ontario Old vines Foch - Inky dark. Thick, simple, leathery. Typical hybrid.

Domaine Paul Autard 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape - Plummy, peppery, accessible.

Offline at Angelos
Theresa (left), Kevin and David.
Vineland Estates Winery 1994 Ontario Cabernet - Herbaceous black fruit, green bell peppers. Better on the palate, black fruit and brown sugar.

Pietro Berutti 1982 La Spinona Barbaresco Bricco Facet - Fully mature, soft and complex. May not hold much longer, but beautiful tonight.

Monchiero 1990 Barolo Riserva Montanello - Black fruit, licorice, and a nutty hint of oxidation. Very nice.

Rinaldi Vini 2000 "Bug Juice" Moscato d'Asti - Fizzy, sweet and tart. Peach nectar but lightweight, low alcohol at 6%. This seemed odd, coming around after all the Italian reds, but it made a surprising and pleasant break in the routine as a zippy, frothy palate cleanses. Delicious quaff.

Il Casate 1995 Recioto della Valpolicella Classico - Cherries and hay, herbaceous fruit, medium-sweet. Very pleasant, brings out comparisons to a light Port or, maybe better, Banyuls.

Southbrook non-vintage Canadian Framboise d'Or - Beautiful, intense fresh raspberry aroma, so delicious that I could sit and sniff it all evening. Good berry fruit flavor, very sweet, but a bit soft and fat. More of an acidic backbone and structure would have elevated it from "tasty" to "wow!"

The Cavit Collection Cantina di Tablino 1985 Vino Santo Trentino - Clear dark mahogany color. Amazing wine, layered and complex. Now, this is the one! Figs and dates and hazelnuts and almonds and spicy preserved lemons, a remarkable dessert wine, inspires serious if a bit boozy comparisons with weighty names like d'Yquem - did I mention that it's amazing? Wine of the night. Maybe wine of the year.

Boston Wine Expo reports:

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