A scene from Verona… or the opening of “The Prisoner”
Forthwith, we continue my highlights from the 2017 incarnation of VinItaly, held in Verona earlier this year, and to which I was lucky enough to have been invited as a media guest.
[ For background on VinItaly, details on the first batch of wines that grabbed my vinous attention at the event, and the format for these highlight reels, see Part 1. ]
We have many a wine to highlight in this second installment, so… a rush, and a push, and the land will be ours… let’s charge right into things. First, the bubbles:
2016 Ca’ d’Or Lessini Durello Blanc de Blancs Selezione Vintage, $NA
Lessini Durello is an odd bird of a wine; it’s growing, for sure (from 3 to 26 producers in the last two decades, now pumping out about one million bottles per year), but its primary calling card, aside from the bubbles, is still acidity. And I mean, acidity. As in, face-ripping, blood-of-the-Alien-zenomorph kind of acidity.
What I liked about the Ca’ d’Or Selezione is that it offered aspects beyond the face-peeling and gum recession: tropical and exotic fruit notes, limes, white flowers, and pineapple hints that were more subtle than overt. This is Durello tweaked up a notch or two, with an emphasis on balancing all of that ample acidity with purity of fruit….
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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.
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.
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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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:
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