Back home! I flown back to Italy to attend the biggest worldwide wine fair: Vinitaly. More than a fair, it is a human experience, like those military super tough training programs: you have a chance to survive, but you have to be smart and strong! Just to give you an idea here some numbers: 4 days, 4100 wine producers (calculate by yourself the number of wines!!), more than 140 000 visitors from everywhere in the world, 2500 journalists. Every year I start with a plan: choose the wineries I am interested in, schedule appointments and firmly stick to my personal agenda. But then, every time it happens I must deal with a fact: we are Italians! You step in the fair trying to reach your first appointment and you meet someone who wants to introduce you to someone who wants you to taste his wines and you end up in an endless spiral of ‘you must try this’, ‘you can’t go back to Us without meeting this guy’, ‘you should write about it’, ‘it’s gonna take just a few minutes, I promise’ (!)… So, from 9 am in the morning to 7 pm in the evening you are literally kidnapped, I would add happily, because at the very end it is fun, demanding, but fun!
And after 7 pm? Post fair events!! Multiple happy hours, late night dinners, post dinner drinks, then you reach the hotel on your knees, pass out, get up early in the morning and start again!
The good news is I survived and I am happy to share with you some highlights of my 2016 Italian Wine Tour: people I met and who inspired me, wineries I visited after Vinitaly, tasting that gave me unforgettable emotions, here is my travel journal in pills, like a photo album, without any pretentious purpose to review wines or people… I just want to transfer a little of the passion and the enthusiasm I collected in Italy, among the wine people… To all my American or international readers: if you like Italian wines plan to go there and see with your eyes what it’s in those bottles, you’ll be amazed and every time you’ll drink a glass of your Italian favorite wine you’ll see the beautiful rolling hills, the steep slopes, the ancient villages, the olives trees, the hands and the faces of the old farmers, the smile and the determination of the new generation of producers. That’s the wine magic, life, feelings, taste and tradition in a glass! Cheers to Italy!
It has been the 50th edition of Vinitaly and I got the chance to take part of a unique tasting experience. 50 years of Italian wines through some of the best vintages of the best producers: 2007 Barolo Domenico Clerico, Per Cristina, 1997 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Emidio Pepe, 1987 Flaccianello della Pieve, 1977 Torgiano Lungarotti Rubesco Riserva, 1967 Amarone Classico Superiore, Bertani. I really got the shivers sticking my nose in these wines: they were complex, incredibly vibrant, fascinating, like an old man who has so much to tell you that another life won’t be enough
After the fair I’ve been traveling across Italy to visit some wineries. With my little car I’ve drove from North to South, among tiny villages, beautiful vineyards and unique ancient cities… Here some images of my Italian Wine Tour with a short description, this is food for your soul, be ready to be fed!
I could write million words about the personality of italian people, we are so different from North to South, but wine makers have all something in common: the passion for their land. No matter how many bottles they produce, how big or small are their companies, everything starts from the deep sense of place we have and from the love for our land. Wine in italy most of the time is a matter of passion and place, not only a matter of business. When you look these people in their eyes while they show you their vineyards or their cellars, you see the pride, the love, the sacrifice and the enthusiasm they put in what they do. I collected so much inspiration getting in touch with these people and I came back with a renewed energy. I just wish this Italian passion will save Italy again, as it did in the past!