Mirafiore Barolo 2007

Tobacco hangs in the curing barns now. Great fields of corn have been cut down to brown stalks returning an expansive feel to the local landscape. Thousands of jack-o’-lantern-orange orbs peek out from among the pumpkin vines.

mirafiore-barolo-2007Fall is rolling into my neck of New England. Today, the world outside seems composed in shades of brown accompanied by a sleepy, rainy day’s soundtrack. But inside, overhead lighting and the sizzling sound of shitake, portobello, porcini mushrooms and shallots hitting the pan turn the kitchen into a lively space. We’ll simmer these in a cream sauce and serve over fettuccine, washing it all down with a bottle of Barolo.

There are professional wine critics who loved Mirafiore’s Barolo 2007. And there are non-professional, but informed palates that have spread the word otherwise. The wine didn’t flex much muscle, frankly, and seemed somewhat contrived at times. Impressions of dried leaves and faded roses for which nebbiolo is famous lacked volume in comparison to other Baroli at similar price points. Nonetheless, the wine was lovely with dinner, showing a gentle firmness of structure and an alluringly soft texture that worked well enough with the mushrooms and cream.


Feeling Optimistic

I am feeling… optimistic.

In a recent post I wrote of tech savvy Italian wine producers and their empowering use of social Internet to connect directly with lovers of Italian wine .

And I look on with great enthusiasm as the social wine and food network called VINIX continues to launch producers, merchants, bloggers, journalists, and appassionati into conversational orbit around wine and food.

Does it get much better?

Being already in a “social” state of mind, I dared to wonder how…if…wine’s merchant community might similarly be using Internet to reach out to potential customers in a way that could positively influence sales of Italian wine while serving to educate the consumer and delivering an improved buying experience.

Guess what? It does get better 😉

When I saw the Tesco Wine by the Case app for iPhone my eyes opened W I D E.

Wine Lovers: behold the world’s first interactive visual search / discovery application for wine:

Words that come to mind ? How about: Anytime. Anywhere. Everywhere.

Talk about reaching out to customers !!!

Wine lovers, the gauntlet has been laid down:

tech savvy producers of Italian wine who educate and mentor the consumer; a social wine and food network connecting us to an international community of passionate wine and food lovers; an interactive, merchant-driven innovation enabling discovery of wine online, access to wine’s background information and shopping…via iPhone !?!?!

I’m afraid the challenge is clear. We wine lovers, too, must improve our breed 😉
We, too, must do more to reach out…to Learn, to Share, to Communicate about wine.

Guess what?

I am still optimistic. Very.

The New Breed: Italy’s Tech Savvy Wine Producers

Through a beautiful constellation of a million words and image uploads, I’ve lately been observing a new breed of wine producer.

But, we should try to discuss it without giving creating a name for them. I wouldn’t want to marginalize the phenomenon with a label.

Let me tell you what I see:

a-new-breed-of-producerThis new breed of wine producer understands the spectacular moment in technological history that enables artisan producers and consumers to communicate directly and immediately via the social Internet.

And they understand the importance of that opportunity.

Via the social Internet, they become educators. They become coaches. They are our mentors and partners in a conversation about wine and food that reaches beyond geographical boundaries. They encourage us to understand their labor, the land’s character, their source of passion, the local traditions, how the wine is born.

The social Internet behaviors of this new breed of wine producer is helping to shape markets and to create a more intelligent, selective consumer capable of making better decisions at the wine shop.

Some especially honest, brave producers tell us how their wine is made and what is in their bottles. Bravo.

Fast becoming an online center of gravity for this new breed of producer is the wine and food social network called Vinix, www.vinix.it, where a large community of artisan producers, bloggers, journalists, merchants, and wine / food lovers come to meet, connect, and share.

I am prepared to offer fine examples 🙂

Luca Ferraro, of Bele Casel, who educates us about Colfòndo and how Prosecco is made, and brings us with him into the vineyard to prune Prosecco vines. (Vinix: Bele Casel)

Paolo Ghislandi of Cascina I Carpini, who passionately explains his “Vini d’Arte” or art wines, coaches us about the “symptoms and cures of Plonk”, and leads us into the bottling room for a look at that process. (Vinix: Cascina I Carpini)

There are many more like them.

And, like Luca and Paolo, many Italian wine producers are being social in both Italian and English languages. Vinix, too, offers English and Italian versions.

Are you ready?

Place your hands, please, on the computer keyboard. Launch browser and navigate. I encourage you to seek out such wine producers. Join the conversation. Be social. It’s a super opportunity to learn and to deepen your perspective about wine.

PS: You can find me, too, on Vinix 🙂 (Vinix: Joel Mack)

A Bad Day, Noodles and Aglianico

The commute sucked, the rain was relentless, and the work day had its way with me.

Finally home, crazy hungry, I fall onto the sofa and snap on an episode of THE OFFICE just as a plate of noodles with sweet and sour pork arrives to the rescue.

What’s to drink, I wonder. A half bottle of previously opened Aglianico del Vulture stares me down, as if reading my mind.

[ thinking ] … Is that a dare?

At first, uncertainty, trepidation. And then… chilled out calm factor pervades:

No fear.

noodles-sweet-sour-sauce-bisceglia-aglianic-del-vulture-2006The wine’s dark fruit and spice gave compliment to the Asian sweet and sour sauce, bringing “bottom” and depth of flavor to the pairing. Good structure and minerality checked sweet / sour components from smearing, and soft tannins in just the right measure left balance of the sauce undisturbed. The wine’s remarkable freshness – apparent even though previously opened – was nicely suited to the dish.

I search for an allegorical moral to the story:

Bad days end with relaxing about the tasting experience.

Knowing what tastes good in your own mouth is as natural as breathing. Taste wines you like or have interest in. Put them with foods that you like and or have interest in. What’s to worry, you can’t be wrong… it’s your palate and you’re the expert on that 😉

Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture Terra di Vulcano 2006, $

1 part white vinegar, 2 parts cooking wine, 3 parts sugar, 4 parts light soy sauce, 5 parts water. Simmer all in sauce pan and add corn starch to thicken and red pepper flakes for spiciness to taste. Use with chicken, pork, or shrimp served with rice or noodles.