Day 1 at Vinitaly invariably means Padiglione 8, Tuscany, where my Italian wine love affair began. Just for the record, I hated the book and movie Under the Tuscan Sun although I am never sure if that is merely because I am jealous that Frances Mayes wrote that book not me. In any event, I love Tuscan wines and have lots of friends there who produce wines. Coming to Vinitaly is a bit of a reunion of sorts, seeing old friends, making new ones and tasting lots of new and old wines. I got here relatively late in the afternoon and immediately tasted through wines that are sold by Alessandro Fiore, a wine broker who lives in San Gimingnano, and whose family is steeped in the Tuscan and Emilia Romagna regions. The Fiore Wine Collection concentrates on small/medium wineries. Most of the wines are made with indigenous varieties and many are created by members of the Fiore family, Vittorio the noted enologist and head of the family and Claudio, one of his sons make wines at a lovely winery in Romagna called Castelluccio. I tried a number of these wines with Claudio yesterday and found that the Ronco delle Ginestre, made with 100% Sangiovese and Ronco dei Ciliegi were perfect expressions of that most Tuscan of grapes. It was great to taste the freshness of these wines and remember the pleasures of a true Italian wine brimming with acidity.
Vinitaly is Italy’s largest wine fair with 4200 exhibitors and 150,000 visitors are expected from over 100 countries. Everyone seemed a tad cheerier this year than last, at least that is my first impression.
Day 2 is about to start…..