Last week I had a dream I was in a majestic residence in the heart of Verona Italy. I was upstairs in this palatial building overlooking the Roman Arena while enjoying lunch with more than 100 of Italy’s top winemakers. After lunch, I was given VIP access to taste some of the world’s finest wines with a small group of industry professionals and journalists…and then I woke up and realized it wasn’t a dream.
The sixth edition of Opera Wine was held at the Palazzo Della Guardia in Verona on April 8, 2017. Opera Wine is an exclusive event presented by the Wine Spectator and Vinitaly. Each of the wineries selected pour one great vintage of their wine. The owners and winemakers are on hand to meet with you and discuss their wines. The selection of producers is based on the producers track record of quality and their historical importance in their region. For an Italian wine lover, there is no greater one-day event than Opera Wine.
My dignitary access came because of my being a student at the Vinitaly International Academy but that is a story for another time (editor’s note: you can read about it here). The real stars of this event were the wines. From the far northern regions of Valle d’Aosta and Alto Adige to the southern reaches of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, each region of Italy was represented. Famous names are at every table within the Grand Palazzo: Allegrini, Biondi Santi, Mastroberardino, Gaja, Ornellaia, Sassicaia and the list goes on.
I must admit that even though I mapped out a strategy before the event to taste as many wines as possible, I only got through roughly half of them during the three-hour event. Perhaps I spent too much time asking questions and savoring each wine to taste all 104. Shame on me.
You are probably wondering if I had a favorite or two and I know it sounds cliché but that would be like choosing you favorite child. However, there were two wines I had to go back at the very end to see if they really were as impressive as I thought they were. Yes, is the answer to both Elvio Cogno’s Barolo Ravera 2005 and Bruno Giacosa’s Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto Riserva 2008. Now if I can only capture that dream again…
Paul Quaglini, Wine & Spirits Sales Manager
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinepaulq