VinItaly 2009

Last week Sharon and I returned from VinItaly, the world’s largest Italian wine fair. For one week every year the wine world descends on the quaint, medieval town of Verona, located in the heart of the Veneto (Valpolecella, Amarone and Soave country) to taste the newest releases from wineries throughout Italy. The size and the scale of the event is difficult to describe or, as I found on the last day of our trip, even capture through photography (although I must say that “Reinhard” did a commendable job in his comments last week, http://www.weinlese.it/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=141. The event takes place within 11 separate pavilions, each large enough to hold any one of the large scale distributor tastings that take place in New York City throughout the year. Over 150,000 wine lovers and professionals attended the fair this year with more than a third coming from outside of Italy.

Despite massive size of the event, Sharon and I found the fair to be very manageable. This was in large part due to the fact that we attended as guests of Michael Skurnik Wines and Marc de Grazia Selections. Marc de Grazia is an Italian importer who brings some of Italy’s finest wines into the United States. Like Amanti Vino, de Grazia focuses on small, artisinal producers for whom winemaking is a labor of love, http://www.marcdegrazia.com/index.html. One look at their roster of incredible producers and it is easy to tell why we carry so many of their wines.

While much of VinItaly displays the kind of tacky glitz generally reserved for car shows at the Javits Center, the de Grazia “booth” is a small, fenced off area manicured with nothing more than wine glasses, tables and chairs (plus all the Salami, Speck, olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano the producers manage to “sneak” in). This pleasantly manageable setup allows tasters to focus on what’s really important: the producers and their wines. Although we tasted over 300 wines in our two days at the fair we took the time to sit and talk wine with some of Amanti Vino’s favorite producers, that is when the language barrier wasn’t too formidable. My full year of Italian in college was only good for a single apologetic sentence explaining our lack of Italian linguistic skills. Luckily, most of the producers spoke English and were more than happy to discuss the last few vintages in Piedmont, the infamous Brunello scandal, the struggling economy’s affect on their business and anything else related to Italian wine.

All and all we had a very successful trip and brought back over 400 cases of wine (they will be arriving sporadically throughout the year). Some of them are new vintages of old favorites, while other’s are brand new to Amanti Vino (and in a few cases the United States). We look forward to sharing these wines, and their stories, with you all year long.

Will Sugerman (will@amantivino.com)

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1 Comment »

  1. mrred said

    Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

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