(This past Saturday, at the Wine Symposium of the Finger Lakes in Geneva, New York, I presented this speech at a lunch featuring local chefs and wines. It’s a consideration of Finger Lakes riesling as the local wine of New York City. —JG)
I buy Finger Lakes riesling at the local wine shop near my home in the Berkshires, a branch of the store, in fact, where I got first got into the wine business, run by Jimmy Nejaime.
But I am no riesling expert, and so I can’t really deliver a speech comparing Finger Lakes wines with Mosel riesling and Wachau riesling. And I’m not sure how relevant that is, in any case. I buy it because it is my local wine.
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Wednesday evening 14 May
For the second dinner of Nebbiolo Prima, I went to Rabaya in the town of Barbaresco, a cozy little place with beamed-ceilings and a patio overlooking the famous Rabajà vineyard. The food here is simple, traditional fare. We started with an insalatina di gallina (shredded hen salad), followed by tasty tajarin pasta with Bra sausage, and a thin slice of braised veal with hazelnut sauce. The bottles, proffered by our producer hosts, flew around even more wildly then they did at the first dinner. It was a terrific opportunity to discover some interesting wines and take a break from nebbiolo immersion.
The first was an aromatic nas-cetta from Le Strette in the Barolo town of Novello. It turns out, as producer Savio Daniele explained, that it’s one of the few to . . . Continue reading →
“How do you embrace the democratization of content, the cheapening of content, while maintaining the integrity of your brand?” That’s how Daniel Alegre, president at Google for worldwide partnerships and business solutions, framed the challenge for traditional publishing in the digital media age. He was speaking at the 8th Annual Institute of Masters of Wine Symposium, on the opening panel, briefly interrupted by the mayor of Florence, Italy, who arrived on Italian time to give his welcome. There are more than 450 attendees here in Florence, including more than 120 who have passed the Master of Wine exam.
Tuesday and Wednesday were big days for big wines at Nebbiolo Prima.
In Tuesday’s tasting of Barolos—96 in all—from the villages of Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba and Monforte d’Alba, it was Monforte that pulled off the weight and intensity of the vintage with the most grace and aplomb. “2010 was a fairly cool year,” said producer Silvano Bolmida of Monforte, as we headed to a dinner in Barbaresco. “It didn’t get excessively hot during July and August and the nights were always cool, prolonging the maturation period and developing aromas. In late September, we got a big burst of heat that pushed the nebbiolo to a high degree of ripeness and concentration. But the evenings remained cool, which helped the grapes retain the tannins and aroma. If you worked well, reducing . . . Continue reading →
Besides the morning tasting of the just-released newbies, the opening day of Nebbiolo Prima offered several opportunities to taste older wines. In the afternoon a tasting in the vaulted cellars of the former Calissano winery in Alba featured wines from the famed 2004 vintage. And in the evening, participants and producers sat down together for dinner at one of three local restaurants.
These organized dinners (there are two of them during the week) are an opportunity for participating journalists to get to know wine producers in a more relaxed setting and to taste their wines with food—and without having to spit.
I went to Al Castello, the restaurant in the Castle of Grinzane Cavour , which once belonged to Count Benso di Cavour, one of the people responsible for . . . Continue reading →