Italy, Vino 2011, Italian Wine Masters, Tre Bicchieri

February is one of those months that seem to drag for me. The economic and political news from Italy is pretty grim these days and the US papers seem to have only recently discovered what has been happening there for years. I’m shocked at the flashy, tabloid headlines the New York Times used a few weeks ago to underscore its’ horror with Berlusconi but the reporting behind the article was scant and disappointing with numerous quotes from journalists only. It’s as if I write about a wine using someone else’s ideas and tasting notes only. You get the point.

In addition to reading newspapers, one of the great joys of my life is the cinema. I recently saw Il Gattopardo again.

What a movie. Beautiful, sad, cynical, and true to the Italy of that time – of Unification, 150 years ago this year but also still so on target. Everything has to change so that nothing will is the essential premise of the movie. During the movie, the family makes a trip to their country home, Donnafugata, and to the properties of the Prince of Salina. These are remarkable scenes both for the cinematography as well as the social mores.

The Sicilian winery of the same name has always been one of my favorites especially their Tancredi, named after the character in the movie and the passito, from pantelleria Ben Rye which is absolutely one of my all time favorite wines.

I also just saw Roma Citta Aperta. A fabulous movie made with a hand held camera in 1945 by Rossellini. What a feat and what a sad tale of murder, betrayal, love and courage.

As you can see, I have been taking refuge in the movies these days as this weather does nothing to push me along especially with my knee injury BUT if you are lucky enough to be in our business, there are some great events that carry the day and cheer me up for one.

Vino 2011 was a big one for me, enabling me to see lots of old friends as well as meet some new ones. I thought it was particularly well organized this year and was happy to see some of the lesser publicized grapes and regions get more of their fair share of attention such as Sagrantino from Umbria and the entire region of Lombardy.

I also organized a few tastings of wines from the Valcalepio region for Cantina Bergamasca which were a hit and that made me happy. I lived in Lombardy, specifically Milan for 10 years and thus have quite a soft spot for the region and am always happy to promote initiatives from them, especially when the wines are worthwhile and one of the wine makers is an innovative, young woman.

I didn’t get to participate in some of the seminars because they were too full but I think overall, a good time was had by all, although the weather didn’t behave. I got snowed in at the Waldorf and had to stay with a friend because I couldn’t get home with the snow. I felt like Eloise and was perfectly happy I must say.

Onward, this week the Italian Wine Masters show is here. I’m actually going to be working at the show so I will see you there. Later in the month, the Tre Bicchieri will be here on February 18.

In the middle of the events, Vinexpo is holding a press conference in New York on February 15 to discuss the results from a study on the wine trade. All in all, it looks to be a busy one. I hope the weather cooperates. I am having fantasies about moving to Florida, a thought that previously would have never entered my mind years ago.

I may just need a vacation in Italy. It’s a been a long time since I have vacationed there although my last work trip did feel like a vacation in November. No complaints I just want to see the sun….

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