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.
This week’s indigenous variety is called Bracciola Nera. It grows mainly in Tuscany in the area known as Massa- Carrara as well as in Liguria in le Cinque Terre. It is rarely if ever vinified alone but is usually in a larger blend. It enters into the Colli di Luni DOC as a minor component.
This area of Tuscany is very beautiful and is more famous for its marble quarries than for its red wines. Vermentino from both Liguria and this area of Tuscany is quite well known but the red wines have lagged behind.
I visited Carrara many years ago and climbed the hills of the marble quarries. It felt like scaling mountains. I loved the area and it has always been famous for its artists. Pietrasanta, a town nearby, is a favorite haunt of all sculptors Carrara is where Michelangelo got the marble for his David. My Mother is a sculptor so I naturally made this pilgrimage.
Tonight I’m celebrating the new year with my family. I’ll be having the usual fare but at least this year I will be drinking something I like, Chianti from Terra di Seta, the only all kosher winery in Italy.
I wrote a long post about the winery earlier this year which you can read here.
I’m looking forward to seeing how their wines have evolved since I last tasted them at Vinitaly in April.
I wish everyone a sweet and happy New Year.
With the Jewish New Year upon us and my family coming to my home for dinner, I am once again given the opportunity to make resolutions, to think about where things stand vis – a – vis one year ago, etc.
My first resolution is to thank all of my new friends and acquaintances that I have met in our business throughout these last years.
My second is to sleep more and worry less about work, life and family.
My third is to drink wine with enjoyment and with attention as I gear up for another one of the degrees I aspire to complete.
My fourth is to read a new blog/journalist post or article a day and to be more methodical in my undertakings.
My fifth is to write everyday even if a short post as I try to complete the book I started five years ago in Italy and my sixth is give back through volunteering on a more consistent basis rather than what I do currently.
I know people think resolutions are silly but I always find that once you put something out into the world it helps you to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
I’m going to tackle one of my resolutions now…sleep.
This morning I feel an overwhelming desire to be in Tuscany. I haven’t been in three months which arguably isn’t that long in the scope of things but I’m feeling the need to “sciacquare i panni nell’Arno.” An expression which literally means to rinse your clothes in the Arno but figuratively means to go to Florence and to revitalize your Italian.
Alessandro Manzoni used this expression when he was writing that famed novel of the Riorgimento, “I Promessi Sposi.” Manzoni was a Lombard and he felt that to write in “true Italian,” one needed to go to Florence.
I use the expression to mean I need to go to Italy. That said, thanks to Alfonso’s blog, I was reminded that two new DOCGs were created in Tuscany: Val di Cornia Rosso and Suvereto. While I think the inflation of DOCGs has diminished their meaning, I am pleased that this beautiful corner of Tuscany is being recognized. When I got my degree from the Italian Sommelier Association back in 2004, there were 34 DOCGs…
When I lived in Florence I used to visit the Val di Cornia area frequently. Since I’ve been back in the States, I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting some great people from there and drinking their wines. Nico and Teresa Rossi from Gualdo Del Re are among them.
Nico and Teresa are some of the loveliest people I have met since entering the wine business. Generous and funny, they always bring joy to my heart when I met them. They are also very forward looking, having been the first to hire a young female enologist Barbara Tamburini who has done wonders with their wines and whom I consider a friend. I wrote this post on this area almost three years ago to the day.
I also wrote about another wine I liked from the area, Filare 41, here.
I’m thrilled that the area is getting recognition. Gualdo Del Re is a great place to visit for the wines, the restaurant and the agriturismo. Did I mention that they are about four kilometers from the sea. I’m thinking of getting on a plan tomorrow…
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.
Wine bars seem to be a dime a dozen these days but every once in a while, one pops up in a funky neighborhood.My friend Lynne Bernstein of Glasshalfull brought me to new one yesterday called Earl’s Beer and Cheese.
Neither the area nor the name were too auspicious but you never know so I thought why not. Lynne knows what I might like and we share many similar tastes in wine.
We ordered the Malvar. In the back of my mind I remembered both the nutty, waxy, lanolin taste of this grape as well as its fuller body but for the life of me, I couldn’t place it. I thought Hungary at first but lo and behold, I had already tasted this wine and liked it for the same creamy, nutty notes.
I wrote this piece on Spanish DOs back in 2010 when I tried my first Malvar from the Vinos de Madrid DO. Really a fun wine for a Sunday afternoon after a walk in the park. Highly recommend Malvar as a grape and Earl’s if you are in the neighborhood. It’s just further confirmation that you can never judge a book or a wine bar from the outside.