Expo Be Crazy! (VinItaly 2017 Highlights, Part 1)

Vinted on May 19, 2017 binned in Italian Wine, on the road, wine review

VinItaly is… well… totally folle.

Held in Verona, Italy, bringing together hundreds of soon-to-be-inebriated members of the wine biz/trade/press/you-name-it, and functioning as a focal point for all (and I do mean all) of the wine regions of Italy, there is no other world wine event that combines quite the same blend of creativity, craftsmanship, and chaos.

Vintitaly crowd 1

Throngs of the soon-to-be-drunken at VinItaly 2017

That VinItaly has been held for decades and still isn’t quite what the Germans would consider as appropriately organized is less a statement about the event itself (which is, all in all, quite well-run), and much more an aspect of the reality that no one (and I say this as someone of Italian descent) is going to be able to successfully corral that many Italians in one place at the same time.

Joe @ VinItaly 2017

Cleaning up (apart from the shaving) for VinItaly 2017 in Verona

VinItaly, for all of its madcap madness, is actually an overwhelming surfeit of vinous pleasure for lovers of Italian wine. Weaving in an out of the complex of crowded, airplane-hangar-sized event spaces (organized by Italian wine regions), on the second day of the event I actually found myself wondering if I was going to be able to make it the full four days.  And I’m an extrovert.

But once everything was over, I found myself loving VinItaly. Not despite the madness, but because of it; because that unpredictable chaos is baked into the DNA of Italy, and, to some extent, its wines. So it’s fitting that some of my most memorable tasting episodes took place entirely by chance while I was there on a media invite earlier this year.

Because VinItaly is so, well, folle, I’m going to break up the highlights into two separate posts. As always with 1WD feature material, the focus is on the stuff that I fond most interesting; the wines that really blew my dress up for whatever reasons. There are a few too many highlights for me to give them the badge treatments, which I hope and trust that you’ll forgive. Not all of these wines are available stateside, and I’m hoping that some focus here can help rectify that.

So pour yourself a glass of something obscure from the Italian hinterlands, and let’s delve headfirst into the chaos…

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From Nizza, With Love (Talking Nizza DOCG For MyNameIsBarbera.com)

Vinted on May 16, 2017 binned in Italian Wine, learning wine, Uncategorized

Bond... James Bond

In my latest piece for MyNameIsBarbera.com, we compare the top of the Barbera DOCG quality pyramid to a character who carries an actual piece; namely, 007 himself.

I hope that you’ll forgive the somewhat graphic JB image above… it’s one of my favorites, and it’s more dynamic – though not nearly as pretty! – as vineyard images from Nizza vineyards, like this one:

Nizza vines

See? No real thrilling action going on there. That comes after harvest, oak aging, and bottle aging, after which Nizza DOCG Barbera wines ought to thrill lovers of Italian reds, because they are as serious, powerful, and age-worthy as Barbera gets. Hit up the link below for the details on that…

NIZZA DOCG, A SMOKING DRESSED BARBERA

Cheers!

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For May 15, 2017

Vinted on May 15, 2017 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 09 La Molara Taurasi Riserva Santa Vara (Campania): Combining power and grace in ways not easily found in the Southern Mediterranean $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Di Meo Taurasi Vigna Olmo Riserva (Campania): If you dig black licorice and wood, you are gonna feel like you're in heaven. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Ocone Vigna del Monaco Falanghina del Taburno (Campania): Taught, slender beauty, wound up tight with elegant sage dressings. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Fontanavecchia Taburno (Falanghina del Sannio): An oddball, to be sure, but one that's thoroughly endearing & entertaining. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico Rosso Irpinia (Campania): You know what they say, if you love a man's garden, you gotta love the man $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Feudi di San Gregorio Piano di Montevergine Riserva (Taurasi): Nothing shy, timid, weak, or under-performing to be found here. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Feudi di San Gregorio Campanaro Bianco Irpinia (Campania): Offering ample salinity to wash down all of that acerbic, toasty bite. $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Feudi di San Gregorio Cutizzi (Greco di Tufo): You might swoon to the headiness, but its vivacity & balance will set you upright. $36 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Feudi di San Gregorio Pietracalda (Fiano di Avellino): We do like our bargains delicious, mineral, & potentially quite long-lived. $31 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Bodegas Riojanas Vina Albina Reserva (Rioja): Still a smooth character, polished, fresh, fancy, flamboyant, and well-groomed $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
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Butt Bugs And The Art Of Mellowing Out (Recent – And Not So Recent – Trabucco Rapicano Releases)

Vinted on May 11, 2017 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review

Trabucco vineyard

You wouldn’t necessarily know it when meeting him, but Nicola Trabucco‘s childhood nicknames (which in turn provide the fantasy names for two of his eponymous winery’s releases) included “bug up the ass” and “active.”

Maybe the former consulting agronomist/enologist (and, it could be argued, aging Michael Keaton doppelganger) has mellowed with age? That would be fitting, considering how his flagship Aglianico performs after several years of bottle rest. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; context first, right?

Nicola Trabucco

Nicola Trabucco

Trabucco spent over ten years as a consultant to wineries in Campania’s Falernum region, helping some of his clients achieve high scores from the traditional wine rags, and bringing additional attention (some of it unwanted, apparently) to the Monte Massico area, and a small explosion of sorts in the number of wineries producing and labeling Falerno. In 2003, he opened his own winery in a former Carinola stable, with vineyards seated not far from the coast, among the cherry trees dotted at various elevations on Massico.

By his own account, Trabucco can thank the past for much of his success. Aside from the high Parker scores that helped ensconce his consulting gig, the name Falerno itself is a favorite of history buffs, being derived from the famous falernian wine of ancient Rome. As Trabucco puts it, “Falerno today has little to do with the drink of antiquity.” For starters, that wine, though made from Aglianico, was probably white. But, like modern Campania reds, it was powerful; as Pliny the Elder put it, falernian vino was “the only wine that takes light when a flame is applied to it.” [ Editor’s note: I’ll bet that they were sober when they performed that experiment, too. ]

It’s how Aglianco fares over time, however, that constitutes its modern reputation; to wit, here’s a little trip down Trabucco’s corsia di memoria del vino rosso

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