Sunday, April 13, 2014

#Vinitaly2014 - New white wine, old red wine, Renzi's hashtag (#campolibero) and new bathrooms

 Baron Alessandro de Renzis Sonnino - Vintage Raleigh, low carbon footprint and kid gloves
Vinitaly 2014 was a little different than the first Vinitaly I went to in 1984. In 1984 there were fewer pavilions and producers. One could see the whole show in about two days, back then. Now, four days doesn’t even begin to cover it. But any longer would be too much.

This year was difficult. Two days before the show started, my throat started to get sore and closed up. I had a slight fever and muscle pain. Mind you, I had been in Italy for some time, first as a judge for 21st Concorso Enologico, the international wine competition sponsored by Vinitaly. After that I went to see producers in Tuscany, trying to get a jump on only having four days at the show. By the time I had done that I was exhausted. But then the real reason for why I came to Italy started, that being the Vinitaly show (and all the satellite shows nearby), so I did what one does, I willed myself to get through Vinitaly.

Franco Benvenuti and Stefano Marinai of Talamo/Renieri kicking back in Lazise
Not easy for an introvert. The dinners, the many appointments and the general chaos that embodies Vinitaly. To top if off, I took a day and a half and went to Piedmont for a few more meetings and then on the Milan to catch the plane back home. The plane was late into Milan and I missed my connection in NY, so I had to sleep an extra night from home. But I finally made it back to Texas. Nineteen days straight without a day of leisure. From the outside it may look glamorous, the meals, the travel, the whole scene. Yes, it is pleasurable work, but it is work, 24/19 in this case. So I am now in recharge mode, recovery. The season has just begun.

Brief observations about Vinitaly 2014. It was well attended, the best yet, so they say. For the first time an Italian Prime Minister visited Vinitaly. This press release elaborates: “Vinitaly saw Prime Minister Renzi launch the objective of a +50% increase in wine exports by 2020 and announced an 18-point simplification plan for agriculture alongside support for agricultural enterprises and young people. ‘We have created a special hashtag - #campolibero - which will go on-line in the afternoon through the website of the Ministry of Agriculture. It will remain on-line until 30 April for comments and by 15 May there will be a major investment undertaking focusing on these two topics.’"

Ever wondered what went well with Bruschi (holly sprouts) ?
Lucio Gomiero's stunning Vignalta Pinot Bianco from Colli Euganei.
White wine took a starring role this year. Vietti's new Perbacco Bianco debuted alongside Casanova di Neri’s IBBianco. Other whites of note: the refreshingly spritzy Gueflo Verde from Garofoli, the SurSur Grillo from Donnafugata, the Virginio Bianco from Castello Sonnino, the CdBianco from Castiglione del Bosco and more than I can mention here. Look for a post in the future about the stunning new whites that are coming out of Italy in these days.

Old reds - before, during and after Vinitaly, wineries love to open some old bottles. If you know the right people, they will pour you a taste (Note to my Texas visitors to Vinitaly: it pays to stay in touch with me, as I can get you around the rope line that many wineries put up to keep out crowds). This year we went back as far as the 1930’s. Again, another post for another time.

People are the key reason I keep coming back to Vinitaly. After 30+ years, I get to know a few. And even though not all of them love me, most of them have become dear friends.

New bathrooms in the renumbered #9 Tuscan Pavilion
Good news about the infrastructure at Veronafiere. Improvements have been are being made to the restroom. The Tuscan Pavilion ( once #8 and now #9) have brand spanking new ones. I'll need to update my blog post about the bathrooms at Vintialy. Funny how one get known for things. I met Bruce Sanderson of the Wine Spectator at the Joe Gallo/ Marilisa Allegrini dinner. Bruce remarked about the blog post about the bathrooms at Vinitaly. Ha!

I only wish I had felt better. I would have loved to have seen more of my friends. That said, I saw over 100 wineries and tasted over 500 wines in those 19 days. More to come. In the meantime, enjoy the stills.
The scoring grid for the Vinitaly 21st Wine Competition, where I was a judge

The ever expressive Aldo Vacca on the 2010 Vintage in Barbaresco

Giacomo Neri with new new baby, IBBianco

Cristiano Veglio - fashionably old-fashioned Serralunga winemaker

100 pointer w/Elena Penna @ Vietti - any questions?

Federico Giuntini shares a bottle of 1981 Selvapiana

Paolo Bressan sharing a bottle of Christian Zago's col fondo

New BFF, JoseƬ Rallo, the inspiration behind Donnafugata in Sicily

Francesco Zaganelli showing one of his family
jewels, the 2010 Lungarotti Brut Millesimato

the ever glamorous Natalie Oliveros reveals her stunning La Fiorita Brunello

First glance at Vietti's Perbacco Bianco

New, bright colors for the Bellavista Brand

Two of my favorite Italian wine bloggers, Elisabetta Tosi and Giampiero Nadali

1978 MdB Barolo

Great Sparkling Genes - Annalisa and Silvia Franco

Pietro Losi showing what might be the world's first (and oldest) Gran Selezione

Fizzy white from Garofoli - my summer house wine

Sassicaia winemaker Sebastiano Rosa getting 
sage advice from family friend Barone Sonnino

written and photographed by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
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