Sunday, April 07, 2013

Vinitaly XLVII Notebook: Good times with good friends in 2013

Vinitaly, what can you say? Anything can happen.

While it is easy to make light of some things and zoom in on other things, what it all comes down to is one’s attitude. This evening we went to Montebello Vicentino for a group dinner of old and new friends. I encountered Dr. Science himself, Attilio Scienza and we chatted briefly about his work in Calabria. He has done amazing things down there with the Librandi in cataloguing in a living museum vineyard many of the ancient grapes of the region. A living legend resuscitated some very important patrimony for the history of wine and vines in Italy. How lucky to be living in these times with these people.

Earlier in the day I ran into Wayne Young sporting his new clean cut look and illustrating the new icon for the winery group he works for. I wonder what he’s trying to say to us with that picture, kind of had an “eww” moment but then realized it was sexier than a bee sucking on a grape, or so he inferred.

Another friend from the past, Alessandra Zambonin, who works for the colleague of ours who owns the palazzo we were in tonight, celebrated her birthday with all of us. Alessandra makes anyone’s room brighten up. So glad to have her still in our world. There are so many fine people in it.

One of our first appointments at Vinitaly today was at the Masciarelli winery booth. I had heard stories of the wines and the people at this winery and really had no first-hand knowledge. Maria Cvetic Masciarelli walked us through her line of wines. The basic wines are good solid wines. The other two higher tier wines are delicious. I kept thinking about how many years I have been pitching Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to folks in my market, starting with Illuminati back in 1981. Now the Illuminati folks have moved on, but life continues. Masciarelli is a handful of estates I am having a good time showing folks the next chapter of what wine from Abruzzo can be and already is. Great stuff coming in this department.

Last night the folks at Vinitaly and Operawine, along with Veronafiere, had their gala opening event and they recognized several of us with achievement awards. I’m usually the outsider looking in. This evening I had to step out of the shadows to take a brief moment in the limelight. Thanks a million to Stevie Kim and to my friend Giulio Galli for translating my English speech into perfect Italian. And for Susannah (guardian angel) Gold for walking me through some of the very precise words and pronunciations.

At the Gala, someone in the other room, I was told by Amy Wislocki, the Managing Editor of Decanter, heard my rambling English accented Italian and wondered why some bloke in the other room was fracturing the language. It is true, I did smash a few vowels and consonants around in the room, but I felt it only proper to accept the award in Italy in Italian. No excuses, English are my language, but I learned a long time ago, through your heart into it and people will forgive a mispronunciation or two.

Speaking of words, over dinner, a young man from London said the best thing. “You match wines with people not with food.” So simply, so right, for the times.

Internet in this hotel by Lake Garda is intermittent, so this will probably be the last time I post until I get to the land of Franciacorta.

written and photographed by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
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