Planning a visit to Italy and its wineries in the next few months? Nice idea! And you’re lucky, because in our technological times you do not have to weigh yourself down with paper guides, books, maps, leaflets or brochures. Everything you need for your journey is in a convenient app for smartphone or tablet. As an Italian with an iPhone and an iPad, I tried out several of these apps on my own devices and found a couple that are very good.
Oh, I’m sorry, now it is impossible to meet him, he is busy…” she said. Thus, I missed the only opportunity to met Giuseppe Quintarelli in person. I did not recognize in the humble worker the famous producer… and his too bashful to come forward and submit himself to a group of foreigners.
What are latest trends in wine lovers’ attitudes? This is what I wanted to find out, last fall, when I attended SIMEI, a large, professional winemaking equipment exhibition taking place every two years in Milan, in Northern Italy.
Valpolicella, the territory close Verona (Italy) where renowed wines like Amarone and Ripasso are produced, is a lucky land: it has a myth and a legend of wine world. The myth is Giuseppe Quintarelli. The legend is Romano Dal Forno.
Italy is a country full of castles, and in SudTirol (Alto Adige) there is one particularly ancient, called Schloss Katzenzungen. The name means “cat’s tongue” but this is not a nickname, it is the real name of its former owner. Situated on a hill in a little village named Prissiano (north of Bolzano), this castle boasts 800 years of history, but today it is a place for quiet relaxation.
“Soave is like the color blue for clothes: a classic. You can pair it with almost everything.” An old winemaker told me this years ago, and I never forgot it. However, in spite of this belief, Soave wine was out of fashion for many years in America. In its place, consumers preferred Pinot Grigio. From the 1960s on, Pinot Grigio was considered synonymous with "Italian white wine." Easy to pronounce, easy to remember, easy to drink. But pinot grigio is not a true native Italian white grape. Its origins are French. And now, even if Pinot Grigio still leads the pack, our old friend Soave is making a comeback.
Founded 45 years ago, Vinitaly is an international exhibition of wines and spirits—and olive oil. A couple days are open to the public, while several days are reserved for professionals such as buyers, distributors and winemakers.
Gianni Zonin, who likes to bill himself as “the biggest winegrower in Italy,” has 11 estates—10 in Italy and one in the U.S., in Barboursville, VA, not far from where that great oenophile Thomas Jefferson cultivated vines. Barboursville’s Octagon is blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc created that the winery produced only in the selected vintages. Dark red color in the glass, a nose of chocolate and blonde tobacco with nuances of eucalyptus. In mouth is silky: licorice and dark plum slip on a soft carpet of tannins. Finale is somewhat bitter; a shame that it is a little bit short. Pleasant with grilled meat.