As many of you know, I work with Vinitaly on their projects in the United States. I’m very happy to be able to post information about an event we are doing on Oct. 19 honoring, my favorite subject, Italian women in wine.
Vinitaly will be honoring six renowned Italian women wine producers during its second consumer wine tasting fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society on Wednesday evening, October 19, 2011 at New York City’s Metropolitan Pavilion. The 2010 event raised $40,000 for the American Cancer Society.
These six leading Women of Italian Wine represent prestigious wineries from various regions throughout Italy:
* Marilisa Allegrini, Allegrini (Veneto)
* Cristina Mariani-May, Castello Banfi (Tuscany)
* Elisabetta Geppetti, Fattoria Le Pupille (Tuscany)
* Camilla Lunelli, Ferrari (Trentino)
* Francesca Planeta, Planeta (Sicily)
* Daniela Mastroberardino, Terradora (Campania)
Allegrini and Castello Banfi also participated in the 2010 inaugural fundraiser.
I’ve interviewed almost all of these women, starting back in 2005 for a project that has been taking a long time to finish. This event is a further opportunity to celebrate these wonderful women and I for one am happy to be able to dust off my last interviews for my project. The event is a consumer event on the evening of our trade/press event, October 19.
Italy’s indigenous varieties hail from the Alps as well as the Mediterranean sea and the islands. These two varieties, Bovale Sardo and Bovale Grande come from Sardinia. The former has smaller berries and the latter larger ones. They are both said to be related to the Bobal grape of Spain. It is thought that they were brought over during the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.
For those who have never been to Sardinia, you have a real treat ahead.It is a gorgeous island with beautiful beaches, hiking and lunar landscapes. I was lucky enough to spend three weeks in Sardinia learning to sail and scuba dive, it was heavenly. The Sardinian cuisine is also very interesting and the wines are very noteworthy. Bovale is generally not made into a monovarietal wine, at least not that I have found.
These two grapes are used traditionally with other local varieties sometimes Carignano or Monica. They both make full bodied ruby red wines. Perhaps you have had them in one of the Argiolas wines, Korem, Turriga or Perdera. If you haven’t tried them yet, run to the nearest wine shop.
These wines are widely available in the US and are distributed by Winebow. I went to the Winebow tasting for a bit yesterday but didn’t have time to taste through too many wines. It was immense. I felt like a kid in a candy shop.
At Vinitaly this past year, I finally had the occasion to wines by two of Campania’s most famous women: Marisa Cuomo and Silvia Imparato from Montevetrano. Truth to be told, I had tasted a number of Marisa Cuomo wines at the Luca Maroni shows in New York but this was the very first time I tried the wines of Silvia Imparato.
I actually know her lovely daughter Gaia through mutual friends in Milan and had been hearing about her wines for the past 15 years. She wines using a blend of international and indigenous varieties. I tasted two vintages of her Colli di Salerno the 2007 and the 2008. The blend was 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Aglianico. The wine ages for 12-14 months in French oak and then spends six more months in the bottle before release.
The wine was a deep, rich and sensual one with good acidity and red fruit flavors. They were quite full bodied and had a nice mineral note to them as well thanks to the rich fossil soil on which they were grown. I was very impressed with the finesse of these wines and can well see why they are such a hit with the international crowd.
Marisa Cuomo on the other hand, uses only indigenous grapes. The Furore Bianco was made from 50% Biancolella and 50% Falanghina. It had great acidity despite its 13.5% alcohol content and was floral and elegant. The Furore Rose Costiera d’Amalfi was a blend of 50% Piedirosso and 50% Aglianico. The wine spent 10 hours macerating on its skins. It was a burst of raspberries and strawberries and was just divine as are all of their wines.
The Gran Furor Divina Costiera has been around since 1942 but in 1980, Andrea Ferraioli and his wife, Marisa Cuomo took it over. I’ve never been to Furore but it sounds fabulous with those picturesque terraces with ungrafted vines…I see a trip in the future.
I’ve decided to start a new column on this blog called Wine of the Week. This week my favorite wine is Susanna Crociani’s Il Segreto di Giorgio 2007. I was supposed to be in Tuscany visiting Susanna this weekend but for a variety of reasons, things didn’t work out as I had planned. Saddened by that and other news, I reached for my first glass of wine in two weeks. This wine seemed appropriate both because Susanna, a dear friend, made it and because it is dedicated to her brother Giorgio who left this world too early in 2007 but whose life was marked by a gentle twinkle and fabulous sense of humor and proportion, both of which at times I confess, I lack. I’m turning over a new leaf as we move into the summer season and this wine seemed like a great way to start out.
The wine itself, made from a variety of grapes which Susanna refuses to divulge, was delicious with red fruit aromas and flavors and soft sweet spice notes. The tannins were ripe and juicy. It went very well with the pork chop I made with tomato sauce, a Martha Gold staple growing up.
So here’s to Giorgio and to the summer being everything we all want it to be. Auguri a te Susanna e a presto cara.