Two of the powerhouses of this year’s Vinitaly, Wine Spectator and Veronafiere-Vinitaly, have paired up on more than just Opera Wine this year. There is a whole calendar of tastings and master classes to complement the pavilions that feature, region by region, Italy’s vast array of vintages.
And while we hoped to see them in the same room, that will wait for a future date, as Monica Larner conducted her part of the tasting from her Verona hotel room. Yes, even iconic women catch Covid!
If you ask me, the audience was as curious to see these two impressive opinion-makers on stage as they were to taste the superb vintages on display. Don’t take my word for it, look at this line-up!
What an opportunity to hear stories from the mouths of women who’ve made history, from the Albiera Antinori to her cousin, Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta (a.k.a. Lady Sassicaia), from Basilicata’s Aglianico-toting Elena Fucci, to Sicily’s pistol-packin’ mamma, trailblazer Arianna Occhipinti.
Lest anyone think that this was a time for Gucci-wearing, the only girl in the Barolo Boys group, Chiara Boschis, reminded us that: “You work like a donkey, all day.” No, I am not making this up (nor could I!)
This was also a fun and unpretentious tasting of iconic wines (how many days do you actually taste Tignanello, Allegrini’s Amarone Classico Riserva Fieramonte and Sassicaia all in a couple of hours?) where the audience took stabs at which wine was in our glass because the tasting was blind. It would have been the hardest one, had it not been for the fact that it was the only white: the Nosiola Fontanasanta from the Trentino region presented by Elisabetta Foradori.
What struck me was the bravery and the bravura of these women, who quite humbly were asking the journalists how to improve the communication of this complicated, complex, rich and varied world of Italian wine. Marilisa Allegrini suggested the promotion of the whole territory, of the art, culture, cuisine and landscape that actually do somehow end up in every glass of Italian wine.
Certainly there are great models out there, great storytellers like Monica Larner and Alison Napjus, who listen, taste and then recount with their mellifluous language. But what a privilege to hear directly from those who with humility and hard work have made the history of Italian wine!