Having just returned from Italy last week I’ve been fielding the usual array of questions from my friends and colleagues. How was the food, wine, weather, you can fill in the blank with just about any imaginable question. I’m more than happy to share my Italian adventures as they are almost always without exception educational and very positive experiences.
One question however that seems to come up like clockwork every year is, “You went to Italy again? Haven’t you been there before?” Yes I’ve been to Italy a number of times and each journey is a humbling experience that leaves me convinced I will never learn all there is to learn about Italian wine, food and culture. And then the follow-up question, “Do you really need to travel all the way to Italy to learn about Italian wine?” The answer is a resounding NO! There are a number of great resources to help you through the maze of Italian wines and their confusing laws. I encourage every wine lover to dive into the amazing world of Italian wine and absorb all you can. There are however some intangibles that you can never get from reading something on a web site or in a book.
The following are a few of those examples.
- The island of Sardinia is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Look forward to further exploration.
- There is little agreement among producers of Chianti Classico concerning the new “Gran Selezione” classification. Of those tasted at Vinitaly, Fattoria La Ripa’s Gran Selezione was a star.
- Taurasi is not only one of Italy’s greatest wines but it is also a beautiful medieval hillside town complete with a castle. But where are the tourists?
- I didn’t know vines could live for 200 years and still produce wine.
- If there are nicer, more hospitable people anywhere else on the planet I have yet to find them.
My job at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has taken me to some amazing places over the years. Italy certainly has its share of breathtaking, eye-opening locations within its borders. Of the 20 different regions, I still have never visited eight of them. Stay tuned.
Paul Quaglini, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinepaulq