April of every year sees the arrival of Vinitaly festival in Verona and this year marked the event’s 50th Anniversary.
I wasn’t really aware of Vinitaly until my glamorous Italian friend told me he had a free ticket – I heard two of my favourite words combined – ‘free’ and ‘Wine’ and that’s all the information I needed! [I’m like the floozy bloody Mary – you say ‘free wine’ and poof! there I am you’ve summoned me].
It’s not quite as scenic as touring vineyards – since you’re in a trade show; however this isn’t just any old trade show.. it’s a trade show with Wine, people… Wine!! & one of the most prestigious within the industry.
My friend’s friend is a Sommelier so it was interesting to have that insight into the world of Italian Vino – who the big names are [” Oh yah yah but of course they are here”], which regions produce the best of specific types of wine, and to discover ‘diamond in the rough’ Vinos – fabulous fruity new favourites from small family run vineyards who I doubt we would have stumbled across otherwise.
The day saw us become borderline alcoholics – morning drinking included, as we started drinking as soon as the doors swung open at 9.30am, and were still there trotting (or more likely, staggering) around whichever stands were still open at 6.30pm.
I maintain, however, that it isn’t alcoholism if you carry it out with enough dignity and sophistication [that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!]
It’s a funny old thing isn’t it, wine tasting? There’s a lot of presumption that it’s a pretentious activity, and indeed it has it’s moments…
I observed as an Old and extravagant Italian man at a table next to us elegantly lifted his glass towards his mouth, nostrils flared and took a glue sniffer-esque sniff of his glass of Red, inhaling deeply. “Ah!” He exclaimed “It smells like… smells like… [the crowd watched with bated breath]…. smells like NUTMEG”. He swirled the wine around in his glass, took a sip and confirmed to all of us that yes, he did believe the glass to contain an element of nutmeg…. Oh the suspense!
His friend lifted the ingredients list from the counter and confirmed the glass did indeed contain nutmeg. The glamorous Italians all nodded in approval at this Man’s commendable nose.
“Try it!” Mr impressive nose passed me a glass of another Red. I glanced towards ingredients list guy but he dove over the list like Indiana Jones leaping through a closing tomb to stop me taking a peek at the contents of the Wine.
The crowd eyed me like a hawk.
I took what I thought to be a big elegant sniff like Mr. Nose but the alcohol made my eyes water… I went in for the gulp.
It wasn’t a great glass of Red, I must say. “Ugh. It tastes like sweat” I proclaim to my friend. The crowd dispersed in horror. I was no Mr. Nose.
Okay, pretentious recollections aside – how else can you discover new things you’ll love, than by trialling different things?
I trialled the Brunello di Montalcino wine that was saved for Obama’s visit to Italy, and discovered a lovely Sol Alto dessert wine made with apricots, honey and marmalade in sweet spices… though I’ve since discovered this is $300 a case, so that is heartbreaking.
Verona acted as a lovely setting for the event too, and there were plenty of tasty food places throughout the City. I mean, just look at this pizza!