Vinitaly Tour NYC 2013
8.04am train from New Haven to Grand Central:
I locate myself in the opposing seats suite, so I am facing my fellow commuters, my travel partners for the next 92 minutes. Directly across from me sits a girl wearing a very exposed, black push-up bra, transporting a restless cat inside of a travel bag. We are soon joined by a guy smelling like whatever spicy fried food thing he ate for breakfast. A suburban Queen of Rhinestones makes an appearance only briefly, falling soon off to sleep, head tilted back for a chorus of elegant snoring. I look around and think I might myself be dreaming. Or perhaps I have fallen into some freaked out Dali painting. But, I am brought back to reality by the woman with a man’s voice and a persistently ringing iPhone, barking orders at her office staff.
I just know it is going to be an interesting day for the senses 😉
I am headed to Vinitaly Tour NYC 2013, one of the most important tastings of Italian wine at the world’s most important wine theater, New York City. Fine snow blows nearly sideways as we cross 125th St. Harlem and my brain and palate ready for the event: it will be an interesting day for the senses, indeed.
The event kicks off with an outstanding presentation addressing wine consumption and buying behaviors, delivered by John Gillespie, founder and CEO of Wine Opinions. We already know that the import wine business is fiercely competitive. But, when you understand that the import wine market is only an ~30% slice of the overall market for wine and that importers all compete for a piece of it, well, it kind of makes the point stick.
At the Vinitaly Press Conference, Stevie Kim, Managing Director Vinitaly International and ambassador extraordinaire of Italian wine, discusses with great transparency about promoting Italian wines and introducing iPad technology to capture event & wine data. Producers now can receive much more meaningful feedback about attendee reaction to their wines.
Also impressive: Slow Food’s demo of its progressive wine locator app for iPad. Now available in the Apple store with plans to be updated quarterly.
Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave presented an extraordinary late afternoon Master Class featuring Italy’s Volcanic (White) Wines. Did you know that the Soave region has one of the largest concentrations of volcanic soil in the world ? In this seminar, attendees have the opportunity to taste Durello, a grape varietal with one of the highest acidity levels in Italy. I adored the Soave Superiore Classico Foscarin Slavinus 2010, the Soave Gambellara Classico Prime Brune 2011, and the unusual Colli Euganei Fior D’Arancio Secco 2012, which showed with bit more residual sugar, though lower still than many Moscato wines, balanced by a subtle and lovely bitter note. Attendees are also able to road test Vinitaly’s iPad app to capture and submit their evaluation of wines tasted. Excellent.
The walk around tasting shows great depth and breadth among its exhibiting producers. Some special mentions are well-deserved:
Sant Isidoro Incredibly drinkable reds and whites from the Marche that impress with elegance, harmony and strength. I appreciate the entire flight of 5 wines this producer presented, and especially enjoy their “Isidoro”, a pecorino with time on fine lees.
Le Fraghe I’ve written before about Le Fraghe, whose Bardolino I adore. On this tasting day, I am simply lovestruck by their Rò Don Bardolino Chiaretto. Expressive, romantic, sensational.
Adriano Moscato d’Asti can be a tough category to buy: there are some great ones, but many can be out of balance with too much sweetness. But, not Adriano’s Moscato d’Asti: fruit / sweet / acidity all in great balance, a genuine, honest wine from a family run winery. Love it.
Università del Regno dei Vini One of the most interesting and delicious wines of the tasting day is this producer’s Gragnano Divinum. Somewhat bubbly, fruity, winey, with pleasant, balanced bitterness, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for an opportunity to expand your palate while washing down a pizza or pasta marinara, well, this be it 😉
Edi Keber Edi Keber Collio Bianco is stellar, terrior-driven, focused, delivering unforgettable minerality experience. Outstanding.
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Lusenti Lusenti’s Emiliana, naturally bottle-fermeneted malvasia frizzante using native yeasts, is delicate yet complex and full of flavor. This wine is on the top of my “need to locate” list and I suspect I will personally consume barrels of it.
For me, the Vinitaly event is a bench-mark opportunity for tasting and learning about Italian wine. I can only suggest that, if you are part of the wine trade and not attending, you will want to make certain that you save the date for next year.