Vino Italy 2010 Part 2By Marisa D'Vari | February 7th, 2010 | Category: Italy | 1 Comment »
"The Italians seem so happy to be here in New York," says a friend, after the Friday night close of the Italian Wine Exchange Grand Tasting. "Why is that?"
Yes, it's true - the Italians did really seem happy to be here and have the opportunity to share their wine and the love of their culture with top journalists, importers, and distributors in New York. Having attended many of the sessions, and met many of the producers, making wine is a way of life ... and not always a very generously rewarded way of life at that.
Most people in the wine trade realize that it is difficult to make a truly successful living making wine, so it really is a passion. And if the producers I met are any indication, many Italian wineries are several generations old. Their objective is to introduce their brand to the American market.
As a whole, Vino Italy 2010 was exceptionally well run and extremely well attended, with two grand tasting events supplemented by seminars (including first rate tutored tastings) and food and Italian wine paired dinners.
Among the highlights of the events I attended were the following:
Virtual Vino: Millenials and Social Media Decanted
This was a really fun and well attended panel as social media is a key buzz word of today. The usual suspects were up on the podium -- Alder Yarrow of Vinography fame who is the poster child of blogs, having established one of the earliest wine blogs and well known for his very personal style of interaction with his many followers. I hadn't met Doug Cook, Director of Search at Twitter, before yet he was also fabulous. Both men underscored the importance of blogs in today's media landscape, and especially the fact that blogs are search engine friendly. Producers: take note! This means that when you send your wine to a blogger or a blogger writes up your wine, the world can access it quite easily!
A very charming speaker was Susanna Crociani of Azienda Agricola Crociana in Montepulciano (Siena) who gave a very sincere talk about how and why she started her blog early on and why it is important for a personal voice in a blog.
Susannah Gold of Avvinaire/Vigneto Communications spoke from the standpoint of a media specialists addressing Italian wineries, urging them to create rich, content filled web sites. As a journalist, i am constantly searching for information online, and Susannah's advice (I hope) will get more easily available winemaking content on the Internet.
Anthony Dias Blue moderated and Steve Raye of the Brand Action Team also gave some solid advice.
Terroir: Diversity and Complexity of Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
"Who is that fabulous speaker!" I found myself wondering. I was seated in the back here, and only heard the energetic voice of presenter Anthony Giglio, who deftly led the audience through a tasting of several wines from the region. The session was just about ninety minutes -- barely time enough time to understand the terroir of these classic regions - yet it was an excellent introduction to the Sangiovese grapes and its many expressions.
Tuscany's Etruscan Coastline: Bolgheri and Morelino di Scansano
Piero Selvaggio moderated this panel, consisting of the so called 'young generation" of producers in the region according to the handsome, white-haired Attilio Scienza, Professor of viticulture an adjunct professor at the University of Milan. In looking at the winemakers, however, one assumes Mr. Scienza was referring to young or "new" ideas in winemaking, especially with regard to biodynamic winemaking.
In any event, one of the key takeaway points was that Sangiovese vines near the coast (Bolgheri and Morelino di Scansano) produce different wine than inland vines, and Mr. Scienza had a long presentation about soils to prove it. I especially enjoyed this tasting, as it offered guests the opportunity to taste wine made from 100% Sangiovese and wines with Merlot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon added. Very happy to report that in this tasting at least, I was able to correctly identify which wines had more Cabernet, and which had more Merlot. Yet I liked the pure Sangiovese wines with their fresh forward fruity appeal the best.
The Evolution of Prosecco
Another well attended tasting and lecture by Antony Giglio, offering a variety of very exceptionally good Prosecco wine. Lucky audience members had the opportunity to taste many different examples of this wine, which is made in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region in Italy's Veneto. All the examples were excellent and delicious examples of this grape and region (it is a sparkling wine made from the Prosecco grape in what is called the Charmat or "tank" method of secondary fermentation).
"Regione Toscana" dinner with Guest Chef Cesare Casella from Salumeria Rosi in the Waldor Astoria's Louis XVI room
Wine expert Kevin Zraly introduced wines of Tuscany with fabulous pairings from the region as well. Elin McCoy and Karen MacNeil were in attendance, as was Susanna Crociani of Azienda Agricola Crociana from the social blogging panel.