Name that Tune! Vinitaly 2017

Molise: The Sound of Wine. Love that. Not sure I know what it means. But it doesn’t matter. What sound does wine make? Lots of different sounds, depends on where you are, at what point the wine is (pouring? drinking? slurping the last delicious drop?), and who you’re with.

As the following photos will attest, I was with lots of people during this Vinitaly. It was full of moments calling for a soundtrack. Yes, still talking about Vinitaly 2017 because so many fun things happened there, and I’ve still got so much to tell you about! As you know, Italian Grapevine is a multimedia blog, and we often include songs. So, today, instead of pairing food & wine, I am going to pair wine producers and songs.

Vinitaly is a place of encounters: you see old friends, you make new ones, you try wines you were hoping to taste, and discover new ones of whose existence you were unaware. (Yes, you are going to have to click on the links to know what songs I’ve included as the soundtrack to this post!!!)

You’ve seen this man before, although I’ve never written exclusively about his wines or his estate. We met many years ago at a Bibenda awards dinner, and he has continued to rack up those awards! Take a look at his ‘wall of honor’. So proud of him, Paolo Cotroneo of Fattoria La Rivolta in Campania. The New York Times lists his Aglianico del Taburno as one of the 20 best wines under $20. His Falanghina del Sannio is in Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Wines for 2016. So put those on your ‘must taste’ lists.

IMG_8795Presenting Marzia Varvaglione of Puglia. What? You haven’t heard of her? Well, remember, you heard it here first. The company is actually called Varvaglione 1921 because that’s when they started making wine. And here is the youngest generation of the family, showing off a wine that is named for her, that reflects her style and her taste. Was that the door slamming as you head off to find a bottle of it? It’s called Marfi, for Marzia Filumena, her full name, and it is a Chardonnay Sauvignon blend: delightful, refreshing, bright and full of taste, just like its namesake.

Now, as I’ve said, we have fun at Vinitaly. You really ought to make sure you participate at least once in your life. IMG_8605Here are the owners of one of Sicily’s most important, respected vineyards, Conte Alberto and his father Conte Lucio Tasca d’Almerita, a.k.a. the Blues Brothers. Or should we call them the ‘Green Brothers’ since their winery is the first in Sicily to be certified according to the SOStain and VIVA guidelines. They are leading the way in sustainable wine practices in Italy!

And not only the owners, but some of the staff (and yours truly!) got in on the act. Fun, fun, fun!IMG_8608

Luca Gardini is perhaps the most famous Italian sommelier; from Emilia Romagna, he’s worked at Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence and with the famous chef Carlo Cracco in Milan. IMG_8745At age 29, he earned the title of Best Sommelier in the World from the World Sommelier Association in 2010. Luca is known for his explosive personality, and puts on quite a show. Here he is leading a tasting of the one Sicilian DOCG wine, Cerasuolo di Vittoria.

IMG_8715 - Version 2
Marco Caprai and yours truly (with an uncharacteristically typical Italian hand gesture), and Romina Marovelli, famed cheese-maker

When it’s time to take a break, a respite from the craziness and the rush at Vinitaly, I step into the Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria) stand. They always treat you like they’ve been waiting all day just to see you, hospitality at its best. And the stand and its owner / host Marco Caprai are like the music we’ve chosen to represent them: classic, cool, and hot. You know what to expect, but there’s always a surprise. Like jazz.

IMG_8714It’s good times when I see Alessandra Boscaini of Masi (Veneto). Look at that smile! Her song is a classic: harmonious, deceivingly simple and yet so satisfying – kind of like the Amarone she and her family make! This song is also a hymn to family and home, something so appropriate for the Boscaini family (and while I did not choose the song because it mentions 2 cats, it is especially appropriate for this cat-lover!)

How many famous Women of Wine can you spot in this photo?

What is a musician doing here in the middle of Vinitaly? Yes, this is the famed, young Italian conductor Andrea Battistoni, a friend of the National Association of the Women of Wine. When I thought which music I’d like to pair with Battistoni, I immediately thought of the very composer and piece that you can hear here, conducted by none other than Battistoni himself! It is mysterious, bombastic, joyous, generous, and like the conductor, the best Italy has to offer!

IMG_8722In Italian they say that class is not water. In the case of this lady, it would be Pigato. That is the only grape that Rossana Zappa grows and makes wine with. Her company, Vis Amoris makes six different wines from Pigato, including the first metodo classico, or champagne-style wine. She does the small region of Liguria proud.

Mount Etna is nothing compared to the fire and energy of this Sicilian woman, Gaetana Jacono, who owns Valle dell’Acate (Sicily).

IMG_8762Gaetana communicates a great passion for her land, her wine, her island, and does it all with understated class and elegance that is so exquisitely Italian. Speaking with her, one is reminded of that particular blend of strength and delicacy that you can find in Italian women; you’ll find it in this song too, the only Italian song of this soundtrack. It’s a love song, and it’s got soul. Listen, and you’ll see why this song represents the best of Italy, just like Gaetana!

This post is ending the same way I ended my Vinitaly 2017, with a visit to an old friend, Antonio Santarelli owner of Casale del Giglio (Lazio).


Antonio’s wines are well known to experts and amateurs alike, his international varieties planted in the terroir of coastal Lazio, like his well-known premier wine, Mater Matuta. But I’d like to focus here on his dessert wine, Aphrodisium, and if you listen to the track, you’ll know why. The blend of Petit Manseng (one of my all-time favorite grapes), Viognier, Greco and Fiano, late harvest, is simply libidinous. And timeless. Big clue to why I chose this track.

This post took us on a trip through Italy, north to south, with a few stops along the way. It took us on a musical voyage too. And hopefully it’s given you a wine list of delectable vintages to try, and people to get to know. Wine and friends, old and new. And it’s my last post on Vinitaly 2017! Promise!

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