A HUGE wine conference with thousands of vendors (4,270 exhibitors from 30 countries), it’s one of the largest in the world.
Knowing where things are located will keep you from wandering aimlessly. It’s essential to have a basic understanding of the layout.
It was the final trip of Mark’s masters program which I was invited to join- 15 students on their last hurrah. How much fun is that! We had no expectations, just mental preparedness for long days, and a lot of tasting.
The Set Up – Vinitaly is:
- Mostly Italian wines from all over Italy (dry, sweet, sparkling, and dessert).
- Organized by regions in different buildings (pavilions), including one for organic and biodynamic wines.
- An international pavilion (2017 had wines from Kosovo, Poland, France, Spain, Portugal, Georgia, South Africa, United States, Russia, Japan, Croatia, Hungary, Australia, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Uruguay and Moselle. Gin was represented as was Saki and other spirits).
- Specialty liquors and beverages including Limoncello and Grappa.
- Italian specialty food products from ageless balsamic vinegars to Parma hams, and wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano to a variety of olive oils and more.
- Restaurants for lunch, areas for regrouping, and snack pop-ups.
- Offsite events and tastings.
- Italian coffee to keep you fueld. Nothing is better than an Espresso Macchiato or Cappuccino, made the
properclassic Italian way!
During the course of three days, we attended several tastings. Our chaperone was an Italian winemaker who’d spent years working at wineries throughout Italy. Laura was connected.
The first morning started briskly; a tasting of 14 whites from central and southern Italy with Doctor Wine. Single varietal and blended wines, the grapes included Pecorino, Grillo, Falanghina, Vermentino, Verdicchio, Greco, Malvasia Bianca de Candia, Malvasia del Lazio, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano Toscana, Trebbiano Giallo, Bombino Bianco, and Sauvignon Blanc; half of them were new to us! All wines were nice; our standout was the Pecorino grape. Yes, Pecorino is more than cheese.
Tenuta I Fauri Abruzzo Pecorino
Robe: oat straw
Aromas: minerals, lemony apple, slight saline characteristic
Palate: bright and dry, more minerals than citrus, melon undertones. Medium bodied.
This higher-acid grape is grown primarily in the Abruzzo and Marche regions.
Torre Dei Beati Abruzzo Pecorino 2014
Robe: oat straw
Aromas: Meyer lemon meets crème anglaise, medium intensity
Palate: Soft, round mouth feel, more citrus than cream, slight saline and dried sage notes. Medium bodied. Organic producer. Aged 9 months on lees.
Italian bubbles were a highlight, wanting to taste and learn more about what’s commonly referred to as Processo, a market that grew 13.9% between 2015 and 2016*.
The Consortio di Tutela della Denominazione Prosecco was in a pavillion of their own representing the Prosecco DOC. Tobia Capuzzo, Technical Manager of Environmental Sustainability discussed several aspects of Prosecco including how to recognize real Prosecco versus fake; a “state label” is on the neck of every bottle indicating authenticity versus fake fizz. Prosecco’s recent popularity caused fraudulent use of the name, occurring mainly in shops and wine bars, and was being sold on tap, which is against EU rules.
We took bubbles a step further to Franciacorta tasting from the smaller producer Cortefusia, along with the larger Ferghettina. Made primarily with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it’s closer to Champagne in taste, and made the same way- Metodo Classic.
A gracious tasting of Fattoria di Montemaggio wines was discovery at its best.
Montemaggio is a small organic estate in the Chianti Classico region at about 500 meters (1,500 feet). Agronomist Ilaria Anichini led us through a tasting of several wines:1999, 2004, 2007, 2007 risera, 2010 riserva, and 2011 Chianti Classico, as well as four other wines. Chianti Classico isn’t necessarily one that lives for years but their older Chianti were very much alive. The estate is an ecosystem of sorts with just 8 hectars, constant experimentation and a lively variety of plant life. We’re hoping for a visit this year.
Tips On Preparing For Vinitaly
- Register early, immediately download your electronic ticket, and save it as a pdf. You’ll be thankful for the ability to access it on your smartphone.
- Download the Vinitaly app on your smart phone. Constant updates are supplied in addition to information about every event, vendor, and a map.
- Review all wineries, events and tastings, then decide on a plan. Know there are 18 buildings.
- Resist the temptation to schedule back-to-back meetings on opposite ends of the grounds (it’ll make your experience more peaceful).
- Signup early for tastings and events requiring prior registration. Many fill up.
- Identify wineries you’d like to taste by region and make appointments. Allow 45 minutes to 1-hour for each.
- Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be on your feet all day.
- Book your lodging as soon as possible and decide how you’ll commute to the conference. (We got stuck in a horrible traffic jam leaving the first day. It took 1.5 hours to go less than a mile.) Glad I know the serenity prayer.
Vinitaly was a fabulous experience we highly recommend for anyone in the industry or studying wine. If you have questions about our experience, give us a shout!
* Data Source: data processing C.I.R.V.E. on Valoritalia Conegliano 2017