The world of wine offers many first times: new flavors, new aromas, new colors… Truth to be told, every new encounter with an unknown bottle is a first time. And how many first times at Vinitaly, the main Italian wine fair! This was actually my third Vinitaly, but the 2018 edition had many first times in store for me. Here is my Top 3!
1. Opera Wine
A good dose of luck brought me to the super-event on the eve of Vinitaly: Opera Wine! Organized by the ne plus ultra wine authority, Wine Spectator, it’s set in the amazing Palazzo La Guardia, across from the symbol of Verona: the Roman Arena.
I went in with my VIP pass… Opera Wine is chock full of real VIPs: Italy’s most renowned producers! And what can I say about the afternoon tasting? With the 107 Best Italian wines of the year, I didn’t know which way to look, or to point my wine glass. I’ll admit, my heart belongs to Barolo, but it also beat for Sassicaia and Ben Ryé, the amazing Passito di Pantelleria from Donnafugata.
2. Grandi Cru Concert
On Monday, our evening was made even more delightful by a concert organized by the Comitato Grandi Cru, an association of some of Italy’s most important wineries with their flagship vintages.
On the stage of Teatro Nuovo in Verona, the outgoing President, Lucio Tasca d’Almerita, introduced the new president, Valentina Argiolas. As Tasca himself underscored, it was a passing of the baton between the two main Italian islands: from Sicily to Sardinia. After the official presentation, the stars of the evening took the stage: a small orchestra of musicians from La Scala, the world-famous opera house in Milan!
Selections from Mozart, Rossini, Verdi and Bernstein were enjoyed by all, and a Special Mention goes to the bassoon player who showed his vocal abilities during the Brindisi from La Traviata. Libiamo, ne’ lieti calici!
The aperitivo following the concert featured the best of these producers’ wines; truly an evening that delighted all five senses.
3. Finitaly Dinner
On Wednesday, we attended the most fashionable and ‘pink’ event of the whole Vinitaly: Finitaly, the final dinner hosted by the Association Le Donne del Vino (Women of Wine).
Association members donate wines to accompany the dinner, offering the chance to taste wines from all over Italy.
I started and ended with Piedmont, first an Arneis and in the end Vermouth, but in between I must have tasted a wine from every single region. Like Disney’s famous song from Frozen, cited in the title for today’s post: “I know it all ends tomorrow / So it has to be today!” And for those of you who speak Latin: Carpe diem!
Bye-bye, Vinitaly! Arrivederci ‘til 2019, with more new first times to come!
By Italian Grapevine contributing writer, Francesca Giuliano