Vinitaly International/Slow Wine NYC 2013: The Full Story

VinitalyAs mentioned on a previous post, Vinitaly International/Slow Wine NYC 2013 was held in New York on January 28 and I have had the opportunity to attend, with the added bonus of meeting in person Anatoli, the author of the excellent wine blog Talk-A-Vino, and doing the walk around together. Anatoli is a remarkable man with a deep and broad knowledge of wines of the world and it has been a real pleasure spending a day together enjoying the fair, sampling many good Italian wines and comparing notes. If you have never visited Anatoli’s blog, please make sure to make time to check it out and explore the wealth of quality information regarding wines and spirits that he has amassed there because it is really impressive. Also, if you are interested in reading more about this event from a different angle than mine, check out Anatoli’s three-post series on it: Vinitaly and Slow Wine Tastings – Part 1, Just Some Numbers, Vinitaly and Slow Wine Tastings – Part 2, Wine Seminars and Vinitaly and Slow Wine Tastings – Part 3, Wine, And More Wine.

Slow WineSo, you may be wondering, how was it after all? Let’s cut to the chase: I very much enjoyed my visit at Vinitaly International/Slow Wine NYC 2013 and I found the event to be well organized, with one very annoying exception that is the organization of the restricted-seating seminars focusing on specific wines.

According to the organizers’ Web site, one should have pre-registered on-line for every seminar he or she would be interested in and, provided that at the time of registration there were still seats available, a ticket would be issued to show at the entrance. Both Anatoli and I followed this process and successfully registered for two seminars, obtaining the respective admission tickets. Problem is that when we showed up with our tickets at the first seminar the person at the door tried to deny us access on the theory that the event was first come first served. This happened to a number of other people who had registered online and were being denied access as well. So, we got annoyed, pointed out the evident flaw in their system and eventually were let in, but the whole organization of the seminar was a huge flop.

Having said that, let’s take a quick look at some basic information about the event itself: the exhibitors’ area was divided into two zones: the larger one had tasting stations for the 78 wineries that were part of the Slow Wine portion of the event, while a smaller area was devoted to the Vinitaly part of the event with larger tables for 40 additional wineries as well as the representatives of 11 U.S. importers who had brought with them a selection of wines from 46 wineries that they represent. In both sections of the event many flagship bottles of the various represented wineries were available for tasting, generally coupled with a “second vin” and/or an “entry-level” wine. This worked out pretty well because in many cases it illustrated the various lines made by a certain winery and oftentimes showcased the very good quality/price ratio of certain second vins or entry-level wines even compared to the top-of-the-line wine(s) from the same producer.

Among the many very good wines that we got to sample at the fair during our wine tasting “marathon” (along with a few not-so-very-good ones), these are my personal top of the crop:

(A) PIEMONTE

  • Vajra, Barolo Bricco delle Viole 2008: this was my favorite Barolo among those I tried at the event. Super elegant, seducing aromas of lush red fruit and spices, with silky smooth tannins despite being still pretty young, and a very long finish. Spectacular Spectacular
  • Elvio Cogno, Barolo Ravera 2008: my second best among the Barolo’s: very different from Vajra’s, with a nice bouquet of red fruit, floral hints and tobacco; distinct but smooth tannins and plenty of structure. Very Good Very Good
  • Damilano, Barolo Cannubi 2008: third step of my personal podium for Barolo’s – complex in the nose with red fruit, spices and hints of soil, well defined tannins which can benefit from a few more years of aging and quite long finish. Very Good Very Good

(B) LIGURIA

  • VisAmoris, Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato Verum 2011: without a doubt the best Pigato I have ever tasted so far – it undergoes a short phase of maceration on the skins in order to maximize the extraction of the aromas, which results in an intense and seducing bouquet of apple and herbs and a good balance in the mouth between its acidity and minerality on the one hand and its smoothness on the other. Outstanding Outstanding

(C) LOMBARDIA

  • Ca’ del Bosco, Franciacorta Cuvee’ Annamaria Clementi 2004: there is only one word for this Classic Method spumante – wow! Seven years on its lees for a wine that is sleek, elegant, refined, with a wonderful superfine perlage, a complex bouquet alluding to several fascinating aromas, like peach, honey, croissant, hazelnut, minerals, and a very long finish. Spectacular Spectacular – the only problem is… its price tag!
  • Ar.Pe.Pe., Valtellina Superiore Sassella Rocce Rosse Riserva 2001: together with Fay (who was not present at the event) this is one of my favorite producers of Valtellina Superiore (a varietal wine made of 100% Nebbiolo grapes, locally known as Chiavennasca), and the Rocce Rosse was outastanding, with fine aromas of cherries, spices and tobacco, very smooth tannins and good structure with a long finish. Outstanding Outstanding

(D) VENETO

  • Trabucchi D’Illasi, Recioto della Valpolicella 2006: oh man, this is a truly outstanding sweet red wine made from the same base grapes of Amarone (Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella), perfect to be paired with chocolate or chocolate-based desserts – exquisite and intense bouquet of black fruit, black berries, licorice and vanilla, with a wonderful balance between sweetness and smooth tannins and a very long, seducing finish. Spectacular Spectacular
  • Trabucchi D’Illasi, Amarone della Valpolicella Cent’Anni Riserva 2004: outstanding Amarone, with a superb bouquet of red flowers, wild cherries, plum, spices and dark chocolate; in the mouth it is warm and balanced with a great smoothness complementing good acidity and noticeable but smooth tannins, and a long finish. Spectacular Spectacular
  • Pieropan, Soave Classico Calvarino 2010: a very good Soave made of a blend of Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave grapes which literally hits you in the nose with an exhuberant minerality and aromas of apple, citrus and white flowers; in the mouth a lively acidity and distinct minerality are balanced by a good extent of smoothness. Very Good Very Good

(E) FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA

  • Le Vigne di Zamo’, Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano Vigne Cinquant’anni 2010: wonderful Friulano with a pleasant and intense bouquet of citrus, apple, tropical fruit and minerals. In the mouth noticeable acidity and minerality countered by good smoothness. Spectacular Spectacular

(F) TOSCANA

  • Podere Il Carnasciale, Caberlot 2002: first off, a note of gratitude to fellow blogger and wine connoisseur Laissez Fare who introduced me to the fascinating world of Caberlot. Regarding our tasting, actually the good people of Il Carnasciale made available a vertical tasting of Caberlot from vintages 2009, 2008 and 2002 – all were very good, but to me 2002 was truly outstanding, which should not come as a surprise for a wine that needs aging to be at its best (incidentally, Caberlot is not only the name of the wine, but also that of the grape, a rare cross between Cabernet Franc and Merlot). The wine offered a wonderful bouquet with aromas of berries, spices, soil, tobacco and dark chocolate, silky smooth tannins in the mouth, plenty of structure and a long finish. Caberlot is only available in magnum format, in an extremely limited production and for a hefty price tag. Spectacular Spectacular

(G) UMBRIA

  • Tabarrini, Adarmando 2010: an excellent white wine 100% made out of Trebbiano Spoletino grapes, with a pleasant floral and fruity bouquet, with aromas of citrus and peach, good acidity and structure. Very Good Very Good
  • Tabarrini, Sagrantino di Montefalco Campo alla Cerqua 2008: intense aromas of red flowers, ripe plums, black pepper and licorice, noticeable tannins in the mouth that will benefit from more years of aging in the bottle and plenty of structure, with a long finish. Very Good Very Good
  • Arnaldo Caprai, Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni 2007: my personal favorite interpretation of Sagrantino, with a complex bouquet of cherries, spices, dark chocolate and tobacco and then the quintessential sensory definition of the astringent mouth feel of tannins, with plenty of tannins that are not harsh but will be smoother with a few more years of aging and a very good smoothness to counterbalance them, and a long finish. Outstanding Outstanding

(H) MARCHE

  • Marotti Campi, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Salmariano 2009: nice bouquet of white flowers, peach, citrus and minerals; good acidity and a quite long finish. Very Good Very Good

(I) ABRUZZO

  • Cantina Frentana, Pecorino Donna Greta 2010: a very good wine made of a blend of indigenous white-berried Pecorino grapes and Chardonnay grapes, with aromas of white flowers, citrus and vanilla, lively acidity balanced by a good smoothness, and a quite long finish. Very Good Very Good

(J) BASILICATA

  • Cantine del Notaio, Aglianico del Vulture Il Sigillo 2008: a wonderful Aglianico del Vulture, with a complex bouquet of plum, black berries, dark chocolate and tobacco; plenty of structure in the mouth, with smooth tannins countered by good smoothness, and a long finish. Outstanding Outstanding – in my view with a couple more years in the bottle it may become spectacular.

(K) SICILIA

  • Planeta, Noto Nero d’Avola Santa Cecilia 2008: if you have been following this blog for a while you know I love this winery, and the Santa Cecilia is one of my favorite red wines in their lineup – with fine aromas of ripe red fruit, plum, wild berries, dark chocolate, licorice and soil; in the mouth smooth tannins balanced by good smoothness and plenty of structure. Outstanding Outstanding
  • Planeta, Carricante 2011: very good white wine made out of 100% indigenous Carricante grapes, with an elegant bouquet of apple, citrus, honey and minerals; good acidity and noticeable minerality in the mouth balanced out by a good extent of smoothness. Outstanding Outstanding

Finally, one last note on my favorite seminar of the event: the Nino Negri Master Class, a vertical tasting of six vintages (2009, 2007, 2004, 2002, 2001 and 1997) of Nino Negri’s flagship wine, the Sforzato della Valtellina 5 Stelle Sfursat, a 100% Nebbiolo (AKA Chiavennasca) dry red wine from the mountainous region of Valtellina in Lombardia, made after a 3-month drying process of the grapes in small crates in ventilated premises to concentrate sugar and aromas due to the evaporation of the water present in the grapes, which leads to a 30% weight loss in the berries. This results in an extraordinary wine with plenty of structure and a jaw-dropping 15 to 16 degree ABV after regular alcoholic fermentation.

To me, the best vintage among those presented in the vertical tasting was 2001, a garnet red wine with hints of orange, with a phenomenal bouquet of ripe red fruit, spirited fruit, dark chocolate, resin, minerals, graphite. In the mouth, obviously warm, with very good smoothness balanced out by silky tannins, and finished off by plenty of structure and an endless finish. Spectacular Spectacular

Phew, that’s all! Apologies for the long post, but I hope it will tempt you to try out for yourselves some of these awesome wines. If you do, let me know how you like them.

Cheers!

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0 thoughts on “Vinitaly International/Slow Wine NYC 2013: The Full Story

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    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi Oliver,
      Thank you very much for your comment! It was in fact a very enjoyable event – although I am afraid there were no Rieslings around (which is kind of unfortunate, actually)…
      But even so, I am quite sure you would have had a great time nonetheless 🙂
      Well, if time permits you can still make it for the Gambero Rosso event on Feb 15. Should you be interested, just shoot me an email and I will be glad to assist.
      Take care

      1. the winegetter

        I don’t think I can make it to New York for that. But I will be sure to ask you for assistance next time around. Thank you so much for the offer! I have a very very soft spot for a lot of Italian reds, even if that has not been very visible on my blog. Some of my fondest memories is cruising Tuscany in a convertible and trying and trying and trying wines in the mid-2000s.

        1. Stefano Post author

          Wow, that’s cool: cruising Tuscany in a convertible and sipping good wine kind of reminds me of a male version of Thelma and Louise!!! 😉 Or maybe more appropriately, a Bond getaway! Way to go, Oliver!
          I hope there will be an opportunity to meet in the not so distant future!

          1. the winegetter

            Same here, Stefano! Are you in the NYC area? Because we will probably be visiting sometime this year.

            And yes, it was much more Bond-esque than ThelmaandLouise-esque. 🙂

          2. Stefano Post author

            😀 Do you have any picture of that adventure that you want to share?… 😉
            Yes, by and large: we are in Fairfield County, CT, which is pretty close to the City. If you do come visit later this year and have some spare time, please do let me know as it would be a lot of fun if we were able to get together!
            Take care!

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi Jennifer!
      Glad I was able to convey how good those wines were! 😉
      The weekend is almost here – it is going to be soon time to wind down and relax with a good glass of wine…
      Cheers!

  5. Just Add Attitude

    It’s a shame that there was an issue with the restricted seating seminars but I am pleased to hear you enjoyed the event. It was good to read your excellent and informative tasting notes – the only wine you mention that I am really familiar with is the Pieropan Soave – definitely my go to Soave.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi B!
      Thank you for you kind comment: I am so glad you got to enjoy one of the wines I mentioned, and Pieropan’s Soave is really a great one. I was blown away by how intense the mineral aromas of that wine are! Very special and delicious. I hope you will have an opportunity to try out some of the other ones too!
      Take care

  6. frankkwine1982

    Ca del Bosco makes excellent Franciacorta spumante.
    Now I think I really have to try Trabucchi d’Illasi wines. You and Julian from Vino in Love both seem to like their wines quite a lot 🙂

    What do the letters in brackets infront of the regions mean?

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi Frank,
      Yes, Ca’ del Bosco makes very good Franciacorta’s – even their base Cuvee Prestige is solid. But the Annamaria Clementi, I tell you: it is phenomenal, like I said the only problem is the price tag!
      And yes, Trabucchi is an excellent winery and I have to say I am now convinced that any wine of theirs you pick, even if you were blindfolded, you just can’t go wrong! 😉
      The letters before the regions do not have any specific meaning – they are just a list that uses letters instead of numbers to try to keep the post somewhat organized despite its length!
      Take care

  7. vinoinlove

    I’m so happy that you liked the Trabucchi d’Illasi wines! Their Recioto della Valpolicella and Amarone are phenomenal. Did you get a chance to try their Recioto di Soave and their ‘Dandarin’ as well? I’ve visited the winery and the owner Giuseppe Trabucchi is just such a nice man. Ever since I first tried Trabucchi they are my personal favorites when it comes to wines from the Veneto.

    Now I’m looking forward to read your impressions from the Gambero Rosso New York Event which is in mid February, isn’t it?

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi Julian,
      Yes, I totally loved their wines! I had had their Amarone before (not the Cent’anni though) and I had liked it a lot, but getting to taste a good selection of their production all together was a blast and a revelation (for me) of the incredibly high level of the average quality of their entire lineup. Really impressive.
      Like I said, the Cent’anni really impressed me and it was delicious, but I have to say their Recioto della Valpolicella blew me away completely! It is just FANTASTIC!
      I did not get to try the Recioto di Soave or the Dandarin, unfortunately.
      Beside the two wines mentioned above, we had their Amarone’s 2006 and 2004, which were both winners (2004 better than 2006, in my view), and their “base wines”, the Valpolicella Superiore Terra di San Colombano (good) and the Terre del Ceredo which was really good.
      It’s a solid winery, and I am sure you must have had a great time visiting them and getting to know the owner!
      And finally yes, Gambero Rosso NYC is coming up on Feb 15, just like you said. I am looking forward to it too!
      Thanks for your comment, Julian.
      Take care

  8. Heather (Sweet Precision)

    Oh Stefano, I am completely envious of your knowledge when it comes to wines! I’m glad the event in NYC was a success and you enjoyed it. I actually have a wine-related question. I’m planning on making some homemade chocolate truffles for a friends birthday and wanted to pair them with a nice wine for the present. Do you have any suggestions?!

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi Heather,
      Absolutely: with your delicious chocolate truffles I would recommend a Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito (for instance, Arnaldo Caprai’s is available in the US and is excellent) or a Recioto della Valpolicella (Bertani’s is good and can be had in the US) or the “ultimate” pairing for chocolate, albeit not Italian: a nice bottle of thick Pedro Ximenez Sherry. Any of these options should make your friend very happy 🙂
      Let me know if you have difficulties finding those wines locally and I will be glad to help you.
      Take care!

  9. talkavino

    Stefano, thank you very much for so many kind words, I think you are too kind! I really enjoyed our walk together – I’m glad I had you as a partner as otherwise I would miss out on many great wines – and conversations.
    Great job on the review – I didn’t even get a chance to start on mine – but it should be coming : )

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi Anatoli!
      I just wrote what I think – I have immensely enjoyed our get together and walk around: it has been a lot of fun and we also got to sample and talk about many very good wines.
      I hope there will soon be other opportunities to get together – maybe already for the Gambero Rosso event?…
      I am looking forward to reading your account of the event and looking at the pictures!
      Take care

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, Zanzana – very true, one of the nice aspects of wine is its “social ramifications”. You get to meet many interesting and dedicated people and listen to many cool stories!