Monday, May 23, 2011

Vinitaly 2011, Part 5

Saturday morning we did our best to get up and out the door early, as we knew that not only did we have a lot of ground to cover, but that the crowds would be bigger. The latter was confirmed when we arrived at the shuttle bus stop to find not just a dozen or so people, but a small crowd and multiple buses lining up. When we arrived at the Veronafiere, lines were already formed trying to get in, though due to this I did manage to run into a friend from Atlanta who was also attending. Once we finally got in, I was glad we had a plan, and that it included trying to hit some of the more out-of-the-way spots.

Our first destination was the Veneto winery Marion. We'd had their 2006 Valpolicella at lunch Wednesday, but our first introduction to the wines came after reading about them in the Wine Advocate two years ago. Due to that writeup, we sought them out on our prior trip to Vinitaly and were rewarded with a great visit. This time, things were even better. Husband and wife Stefano and Nicoletta Campinelli welcomed us, remembering our prior introduction. However, before we tasted through their wines, they asked if we'd like to try one of the wines from the Soave producer Nardello, who was sharing their booth. Nardello's 2010 Soave was a nice way to ease into our Saturday before we got into the wonderful Marion lineup. We began the Marion tasting with the 2009 Valpolicella, followed by the 2007 Valpolicella Superiore, which is among the best Valpolicellas around (outside the Dal Forno/Quintarelli pair of course). Next we had a trio of IGT wines, the 2005 Calto (a blend of Corvina and Teroldego), the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2007 Teroldego, which was quite impressive. We then finished the tasting of new releases with a wonderful 2007 Amarone. The tasting wasn't done though, as we were treated to the 1998 Valpolicella Superiore, which was still fresh, and finally the 2002 Passito Bianco, a white dessert wine. Overall, this was one of the most impressive visits we had for the week, illustrating that Marion is certainly a producer to watch. I really think they are on the verge of becoming one of the true stars of the Veneto with their amazingly diverse lineup.

From Marion, we then went to visit one of our other favorite Veneto producers, Tommaso Bussola. As in prior years, Tommaso's wife Daniela hosted us, and as in the past she was initially a bit withdrawn, but quickly warmed. We began a deep lineup with the 2009 Valpolicella, the 2007 Ripasso, and the 2006 Valpolicella TB. After the 2004 L'Errante IGT, it was time for the Amarones. We had the 2006 Amarone, the 2006 Amarone TB, and the 2006 Amarone Vigneto Alto, each more opulent than the next, before finishing with the 2008 Recioto and the 2004 Recioto TB. These are all more modern-styled wines, but all impressively done from one of the best producers in the region.

With our last venture into the Veneto complete it was time to begin out random trek through the remainder of our list. With lunch looming soon at our usual spot in the Tuscany pavilion, we had the opportunity to make two more stops in the region. First up was Tua Rita, one of the top producers of Supertuscans. We had a phenomenal tasting, as we were offered the entire lineup from this great producer. After starting with the 2010 Rosso di Notri, we then had the 2009 Perlato del Bosco, a great IGT blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. We then went into the 2008 vintage, with the 2008 Giusti di Notri, the 2008 Syrah, and finally the 2008 Redigaffi, the 100% Merlot that is the star of this winery. All were impressive, and it was definitely a highlight that a winery such as this would offer these great wines for tasting.

Our final stop before lunch took us back to the Brunello Consorzio one last time. This time our destination was Uccelliera, a winery we had not visited on previous trips. We were to quickly discover that this had been a major oversight, as the visit was as good as any. Hosted by the Swiss wife of proprietor Andrea Cortonesi, we had a wonderful time. We began with both the 2008 Rosso and the 2009 Rosso, before trying the 2008 Rapace IGT. We then got to taste an excellent 2006 Brunello before being offered a barrel sample of the 2007 Brunello, and finally the 2005 Brunello.

Once again, lunchtime had arrived and we were right next to our usual spot. Saturday morning had been a great success, not just because of all the great wines we had tasted, but also the time we had spend visiting some wonderful people. Marion, Bussola, and Uccelliera not only make great wines, but the people at each are warm and welcoming. They are what make Vinitaly so special. We still had the Saturday afternoon marathon to go, but the morning session had been as rewarding as any.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vinitaly 2011, Part 4

After lunch Friday, I wanted to spend our afternoon tasting the latest wines from Piedmont, but first we needed to make one last stop for a Brunello at Salvioni. We've met Giuliano Salvioni before, and I had a great visit with him last summer in Montalcino, so we couldn't miss out on stopping by at Vinitaly. It also helps that his wines are some of the best in Montalcino, and the latest releases were no different. We had the 2009 Rosso, followed by the 2006 Brunello, which was just as great in bottle as it was in barrel last June.

Now we headed to the adjoining building for Piedmont, but were rudely greeted by the heat. The weather was unseasonably warm this year in Verona, and Pad 9 where the Piedmont producers were headquartered had no air conditioning. It wasn't the most ideal way to taste great Nebbiolo, but we did the best we could. Our first stop was at Vietti, who was sharing their very large space with Coppo. I was surprised that Vietti had such a large, somewhat impersonal booth, as many of the top Piedmont producers are much more low-key. The first wine we tasted was the 2008 Barbera d'Asti from Coppo. We then were offered just two wines from Vietti, the 2007 Barbera d'Alba Scarrone and the 2007 Barolo Castigione (their base offering). The wines were nice, but it was disappointing not to be able to taste more.

Next we headed to the main tasting area of many of the top small producers in the area, the Langa In group. Our first stop was at Cigliuti, a producer we first learned about on our first visit to Vinitaly. We began with a pair of Barberas, the 2008 Barbera d'Alba Serraboella and the 2008 Barbera d'Alba Campass. Next we moved up to the Langhe wines, one Nebbiolo and one blended with Barbera, with the 2009 Langhe Nebbiolo and the 2008 Briccoserra Langhe. Finally, we had two excellent Barbarescos, the 2006 Barberesco Vigna Erte and the 2007 Barbaresco Serraboella. I thought these two wines were great examples of traditionally made Barbaresco from a top producer. As we finished up our tasting, we were discussing other similar small family producers, especially any that may be looking for import representation in Florida, as Dominic was with us and interested in finding potential clients. Within minutes, we were being whisked away to our next tasting.

Piero Busso was the producer we visited next, and one I must confess I was not familiar with. However, we were treated to a very nice lineup, with a few very good wines. We actually started with a white, the 2010 Langhe Arneis, followed by a pair of Barberas, the 2009 Barbera d'Alba Majano and the 2008 Barbera d'Alba Santo Stefanetto. Following the 2009 Langhe Nebbiolo, we then went through four Barbarescos from two vintages. First up was the 2007 Barbaresco Borgese, their entry offering. It was ok, but not among my favorites. Next was the 2008 Barbaresco Mondino, which was probably my favorite of the lineup, especially for the cost. We then went back for the 2007 Barbaresco Santo Stefanetto and 2007 Barbaresco Gallina, which was the most modern-styled of the bunch. Overall, I thought the wines were of good quality, though not quite at the top level of some of the other Barbarescos we tasted. However, they are very affordably priced for the most part and would be good choices for an intro to Barbaresco without breaking the bank.

Our next stop was to visit one of the best value producers of Barbaresco, the co-op Produttori di Barbaresco. We began with the 2009 Langhe Nebbiolo, then followed up with three different vintages of Barbaresco. First up was the 2007 Barbaresco, then the 2006 Barbaresco, and finally the 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Pora. The Produttori normally make several riservas, but don't offer them all for tasting. Also, there were no riservas produced in 2006, so the regular bottling can contain some of that riserva juice (depending on the Lot). All in all, it was another solid lineup from the co-op.

We then made a quick stop at one of the iconic producers of Barolo, Giuseppe Mascarello, where we were offered the 2004 Barolo Villero. I was a bit disappointed that this was the only wine we were offered, but it was nice to taste a wine I hadn't previously had.

Our next visit was yet another of the legendary Barolo houses, Aldo Conterno. Unfortunately, Aldo himself was not present, but we still got to taste some great wines. Before getting to the Barolos, we tasted the 2008 Barbera d'Alba Conca Tre Pile and the 2008 Langhe Il Favot. We then had the 2007 Barolo and the 2007 Barolo Cicala, which was an absolutely top-class Barolo, and one of my wines of the week.

At this point, the day was starting to run short, and though we knew we had time for at least two more visits, we wanted to make them count. On our way back to the Langa In area, we stopped in the area for producers that are part of the Mark de Grazia portfolio. There, we found Moccagatta, another top Barbaresco producer, and were treated to another great lineup that included whites and reds, and all of their Barbaresco bottlings. The two whites we tried were the 2010 Chardonnay and the 2009 Chardonnay Buschet. Moving to the reds, we had the 2010 Dolcetto d'Alba, the 2010 Barbera d'Alba, and the 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo before moving up to the Barbarescos. We were then treated to all of their 2008s, starting the the 2008 Barbaresco. It was then on to the single-vineyard wines, with the 2008 Barbaresco Bric Balin, the 2008 Barbaresco Basarin, and the 2008 Barbaresco Cole. Each was outstanding, though I had a slight preference for the Bric Balin.

Finally, we went back into the Langa In area, and were able to get a seat with Chiara Boschis of E. Pira-Chiara Boschis, who we had also met on our first Vinitaly trip. Chiara was friendly as ever, and led us through one more great lineup. Here we began with the 2010 Dolcetto d'Alba, followed by the 2009 Barbera d'Alba and the 2009 Langhe Nebbiolo. Moving on to the Barolos, we tasted the 2007 Barolo Cannubi, the 2007 Barolo Via Nuova, and finally the 2006 Barolo Cannubi. The Barolos were all excellent, classically-styled wines that I thoroughly enjoyed and were a great way to finish the day.

Overall, our second day was another success, with 74 more wines tasted. In our afternoon tastings, I came away impressed with the general quality of the 2008 vintage in Barbaresco, and really the quality of Barbaresco as a whole, which I think tends to get overlooked by its Barolo sibling. We again managed to visit with old friends, make a few new ones, and generally enjoy all there was to offer. Of course, now we only had one day left, and a lot of wine still to taste, which meant that Saturday we'd have to have a good plan and be on our game to get through as much as we could.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vinitaly 2011, Part 3

Friday morning we were back to the Veronafiere bright and early. Now knowing exactly where to grab a quick breakfast and where to get the shuttle bus, we were there soon after the doors opened. I had decided the we would begin the day again in the Tuscany pavilion, where we would then eat lunch in our usual spot before an afternoon in Piedmont. Our first stop of the morning as we came into pad 8 was Fontodi. Two years ago our visit to Fontodi was my first experience with their 100% Sangiovese Flaccianello, and I've since become a huge fan of their wines. I was also able to visit the winery last summer while in Tuscany. This visit was another excellent one, as we were able to taste their entire range of wines. We began with the 2007 Chianti Classico, followed by the 2008 Chianti Classico, the first vintage where the wine is certified organic. Next we had the 2007 Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo, before moving on to both the 2007 Flaccianello and the 2008 Flaccianello. We then had their two international varietals, the 2008 Pinot Nero and the 2007 Syrah. Overall, the 2007 vintage is definitely superior, and while I enjoyed the 07 Flaccianello (which I had last summer too), it may be a hair behind the 06 vintage, and also slightly behind some of the other great 07 Sangioveses we ended up tasting.

Our second stop of the morning took us to Montepulciano for the wines of Boscarelli, once of the great producers from this area just to the northeast of Montalcino. We began with a pair of young new releases, the 2009 de Ferrari IGT and the 2009 Prugnolo IGT. Moving up, we then had the 2008 Vino Noile di Montepulciano and the 2006 Vino Nobile Riserva. Finally, we wrapped up with the 2007 Nocio Vino Nobile and the 2006 Boscarelli IGT. The entire lineup from this winery is really quite impressive, and a great representative of an area that tends to get a bit overlooked in the US.

We returned to Chianti with our next visit, San Giusto a Rentennano. While the Chiantis here are excellent, the stars again are Supertuscans. We began with the 2009 Chianti Classico, followed by the 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva. We then followed those with the 2007 Percarlo (100% Sangiovese) and the 2008 Ricolma (100% Merlot). I thought the Percarlo was excellent, possibly a shade better than the '07 Flaccianello.

At this point, we were close to our appointed time to visit with Mario once again, but now to finally taste all of his wines from Terralsole. We began with the 2006 Brunello, which Mario thinks is one of the best he's made. That was followed by the 2005 Brunello Riserva, the 2006 Solista (a 100% Syrah IGT which we'd had at dinner the night before), and finally the 2005 Brunello. All of the wines were excellent, as was our time with Mario, who is always a great host.

Now firmly back into Montalcino again, we tried to make the most of our time until lunch, visiting some of the heavy hitters of the area. Up first was Poggio di Sotto, where we had the 2008 Rosso and the 2006 Brunello. Not surprisingly, this was one of the stars of the week, and took my vote for the best 2006 Brunello we tasted. It was incredibly elegant and balanced, as I've come to expect from this producer.

Next we went for a more modern style, but a critical darling, Casanova di Neri. We began with the 2009 Rosso before getting into the Brunello. We had the 2006 Brunello, which I thought was the best bottling of this cuvee I've had, before trying the 2005 Brunello Tenuta Nuova. We than had the 2006 Brunello Tenuta Nuova before closing out with the 2007 Pietradonice IGT and the 2004 Cerretalto Brunello. Overall, these are very well-made wines, though I hold a preference for the more traditional style of Brunello.

Our last stop before lunch was at one of the more traditional-styled producers, Talenti. Here we had the 2009 Rosso followed by the 2006 Brunello, which was superb. One of my top 2006 Brunellos for the week, it is also extremely affordable and thus earns high marks from me.

At this point, it was time for lunch once again. We had one more key Brunello producer to visit after lunch, but after that the plan was to make out way to Piedmont and taste the latest Barolos and Barbarescos.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vinitaly 2011, Part 2

After a refueling stop at our favorite Vinitaly eatery (the Pad 8 cafeteria), we were ready for a busy afternoon. With about 4 hours of time remaining, we decided to spend a little more time in Tuscany before heading to the Veneto. Our first stop was another of Chianti’s top estates (though one better known for their Supertuscans than Chiantis), Castello di Rampolla. We began with the 2008 Chianti Classico, then followed with the 2009 Chianti Classico before moving to the big guns. The 2006 Sammarco was solid as usual, but the real star was the 2006 D’Alceo, which had lots of dark fruit and a long finish. It was definitely one of my top wines of the week.

Our final stop of the day in Tuscany was Il Poggione. I had met assistant winemaker Alessandro Bindocci at a tasting in Atlanta a few months ago, and he was nice enough to take a few minutes of time out from a group he was already with to speak with us. We discussed my initial thoughts on the 2006 in Atlanta (which had been delayed from his visit, but tasted on a Friday night later with the 2003 and 2004 Riservas) and Alessandro made sure we were taken care of before returning to his meeting. He continued to check up on us as we went through the lineup of the 2009 Rosso, the 2006 Brunello and the 2005 Brunello Riserva, which were all very good.

At this point we were close to our appointed time to meet friends in the Veneto pavilion so we began to head in that direction. Along the way, finding out they were a few minutes away still, we stopped in at the Campania producer Terredora di Paolo. I’ve become a big fan of their red wines, but we actually decided to start with their whites. We went through a trio of very nice wines, the 2010 Falanghina, the 2010 Greco di Tufo, and the 2010 Fiano di Avellino. These are all whites I’d buy to accompany a light seafood dish, though I preferred the Falanghina and Fiano. After the three whites we realized we needed to head on, so we did not get into their excellent lineup of reds, instead promising to return. Alas, we never did, as we just ran short on time on the week.

Finally, we made it over to the Veneto pavilion, and specifically a group of smaller producers. We met our friends Dominic and Roberta, and went to visit Dominic’s client Tiziano Accordini. Tiziano was busy, so we took the opportunity to first taste the wines of Lorenzo Begali. Lorenzo’s son Giordano began with us, pouring the 2010 Valpolicella and the 2009 Ripasso. Giordano’s sister Tiliana then took over, offering us the 2007 Tigiolo IGT, the 2007 Amarone, and the 2006 Amarone Ca Bianca. Lorenzo himself actually stopped by before we finished with the 2008 Recioto. Overall, it was an impressive lineup once again from this family operation, and I look forward to searching out several of these wines.

Tiziano was now free, so we moved across the aisle to taste the latest wines of Stefano Accordini, which Dominic imports. Here we again started with the brand new 2010 Valpolicella, followed by the 2008 Ripasso. We then had the 2008 Passo IGT before moving to the big guns. We had the 2007 Amarone, the 2004 Il Fornetto Amarone, and finally the 2007 Recioto. The whole lineup was good, with the Passo a great QPR option, while the Il Fornetto is definitely one of the top Amarones anywhere below the Dal Forno/Quintarelli level. As always Tiziano was great to visit with, and his son was also there with him. Like the Begalis, they are a family-run operation, and extremely gracious. It is wonderful to be able to taste great wines made by such great people.

Our last two stops were with larger producers, though the first of these can still seem like a smaller family operation. Anyone who is familiar with my prior visit to Vinitaly knows about our meeting with Giuseppe Campagnola, who was so nice to us at dinner one evening and then spent a great deal of time tasting with us at Vinitaly two years ago. When we stopped by the booth this time, he was initially busy, but eventually found his way over to us and was as friendly as ever. We began our tasting with the 2009 Valpolicella, followed by the 2009 Ripasso. We the moved to the 2008 Valpolicella Caterina Zardini before trying the 2007 Amarone. We concluded with a very good 2006 Amarone Caterina Zardini and the 2009 Recioto. This was another good lineup from Campagnola, once again reminding me of how disappointed I have been in trying to find their wines here in the US. The Caterina Zardini wines are definitely top-quality wines that are among the upper tier of Veneto wines in my opinion.

Our final stop of a wonderful first day was at one of the biggest names in the Veneto, Zenato. Our group of five (Dominic and Roberta were still with us) was welcomed graciously and brought into the booth to sit at a table for tasting. We decided to begin with their whites, a 2010 Lugana and 2008 Lugana Sergio Zenato. I’ve had very little Lugana, but these were enjoyable, and wouldn’t be the only Luganas we tasted on the trip. Following these whites, we moved to the reds with two of my favorite QPRs, the 2008 Valpolicella and 2008 Ripasso. I buy these wines in most vintages, and the 2008s are once again solid performers. We then jumped up to the 2006 Amarone, the 2005 Sergio Zenato Amarone, and finally the 2006 Recioto, the first Zenato has ever made. The 2006 Amarone is great (and available at some US retailers for a steal) and the Recioto is outstanding – I hope it ends up as widely available as most of the Zenato line.

At this point it was past 6 pm and we had dinner reservations at 7 pm at the Bottega del Vino with a great group of folks, so it was time to go. There was some scrambling to be done though, as we needed to find Mario (who was joining us for dinner) before heading out. I’ll just say it was a blur of Mom, Dad, and I running about for 20-30 minutes, finding Mario but not all of us getting back, and finally getting on a shuttle bus, where we somehow managed to get to the restaurant right at 7. I’ll detail that dinner in a later post recapping the meals of the trip. Next up will be the recap of Friday morning, where we returned to the Tuscany pavilion.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Vinitaly 2011, Part 1

The opening morning at Vinitaly is always a bit of madness, as we've learned before. Getting through the ticket line and then the main gate can take a little time, so our planned schedule for the morning wasn't too busy. I anticipated starting in the Veneto as we usually do, then taking the afternoon to begin our assault on the Tuscany pavilion. However, those plans immediately got tossed when we ran into our good friend Mario Bollag of Terralsole in the ticket line. After getting our tickets we met Mario inside the gates and decided to go ahead and go with him to meet a good friend of his who has just started a new winery in Montecucco (just across the Orcia river from Montalcino). Mario's friend Paolo Vaggagini is actually the consulting winemaker at Terralsole, and has a similar role with many of Montalcino's top estates. Now he and his wife have started their own winery, Amantis, in a nearby area.

We tasted five wines with Paolo, beginning with his 2007 Birbanera, an IGT wine with Sangiovese, Colorino, Canaiolo, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. It's a very nice, easy-drinking wine that is a great choice for the price. We then had the 2006 Sangiovese, the 2005 Iperione (Cab Franc), the 2008 Birbanera, and the 2007 Sangiovese. These wines are all fairly priced as Montecucco is a relatively unknown area, but it's obvious that the terroir is good, and Paolo certainly knows how to make great wines. He was also a fantastic host, and I look forward to drinking more of his wine and hopefully seeing him again next year.

After that start, we had to make our first move to the Brunello Consorzio, and we were thrilled to come upon the stand of the Baricci family. I visited the Baricci winery last June after Mom and Dad recommended it from a visit they made several years ago. Nello Baricci was one of the founders of the Brunello Consorzio and remains a staunch traditionalist. His winery is also still a small, family-run operation, and in our past visits to Vinitaly they were not present. Now however, the youngest generation is taking a larger role and decided to make the trip north to Verona. Nello's grandsons were happy to receive us, and even more enthused when we told them about our prior visits to the winery visiting with their father and grandfather. When they poured their wines for us though, we were the excited ones, as their 2009 Rosso is very good and the 2006 Brunello is outstanding. This is traditionally-styled Brunello from the Montosoli hill in the northern part of the appellation that hits all the right notes. Even better is the price, as these wines are incredibly reasonable if you can find them in the US. I certainly can't wait to get some of the 2006 Brunello, and look forward to a bright future from this estate.

Our next stop was with another of the Montalcino traditionalists, Livio Sassetti. Livio's Pertimali estate has always made some of my favorite wines from Montalcino, and our visit with Livio two years ago at Vinitaly was one of the highlights of the trip. Livio was great once again this year, taking time to read us some of his poetry while we tasted. We went through his full lineup of wines, beginning with his 2009 Rosso and the 2006 Fili di Seta IGT. Next we tried his wines from vineyards outside of Montalcino, the 2008 Istriciaia from Maremma, and the 2007 Montecucco. Finally, we wrapped up with a trio of Brunelli: the 2004 Riserva, followed by both the 2005 Brunello and 2006 Brunello. Truthfully, the 2006 didn't stand out among all those we tasted, which is a little disappointing. It wasn't a bad wine at all, but it just didn't make a big impression on me.

After these two traditionally-styled producers, we switched gears with a visit to our friend Giancarlo Pacenti of Siro Pacenti. We have all visited the Pacenti estate, and enjoy the wines Giancarlo makes, though they are quite different than the prior wines. The Siro Pacenti wines are much more modern in style, aged new French barriques as opposed to the larger Slavonian botti (giant barrels) the traditionalists use. The resulting wines are thus bigger, darker, and a bit tougher to judge when so young. We tasted the 2009 Rosso and 2006 Brunello with Giancarlo, though I have now read that he will release two other Brunelli from the 2006 vintage, the PS Riserva as well as the Pelagrilli, made from his younger vines.

Our next stop took us briefly out of Montalcino, as we came across the Chianti estate of Felsina, which has become a favorite of mine over the past couple of years. I was disappointed not to get to visit the estate last summer, but we ran out of time the day I had hoped to visit. Our tasting began with the 2009 Chianti Classico, another strong effort for a bottling that became a house favorite of mine with the 2007 vintage. We followed that with the 2008 Chianti Riserva Rancia and the 2007 Chianti Riserva Rancia. The Rancia is a very backward wine when young, so these were both not showing a lot yet, but have great potential, especially the 2007. We then had the 2007 Fontalloro, an IGT due to the vineyards location the border of tho Chianti sub-regions, and finished with the 2007 Maestro Raro, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon IGT. While I enjoyed all of these wines, most of them still seemed very tight and closed.

Our final stop as we waited to meet up with several friends for lunch was another Brunello producer, Sesta di Sopra. Here we were actually offered the 2005 Brunello along with the 2009 Rosso. The 2005 Brunello was a very nice wine for the vintage, but I was disappointed not to get to try the 2006.

Overall, our first morning at Vinitaly was a good start to the event. We didn't taste a lot of wine, but got to spend some time with some old friends as well as make some new ones. We also tried some great wines we knew about and found some new things to seek out, which is always a plus. After lunch, we would spend a little more time in Tuscany before finally making our way to the Veneto to wrap up the opening day.

The blog is back! Vinitaly 2011 needs a report

It's been just over a year since I last posted here, as eventually the effort to keep up with every wine I was drinking got to be too much. I've decided to give things another go now, and really just focus on events. Going forward, most of the posts will be reports on tastings I attend, or special gatherings with friends or family that present the opportunity to try some great wines. I hope that with this new format I can present some great wines that I have the opportunity to drink, and hopefully these posts will elicit some discussion from those of you who take the time to read.

Of course, there's no better way to re-start things than with my reports from Vinitaly 2011 last month in Verona. Once again, Dad and I ventured over, this time joined by my Mom as well. It was a wonderful trip, and the three days we spent at the Veronafiere were incredible as usual. The weather was unseasonably warm, to the point where it was uncomfortable in some pavilions Saturday and Sunday. Nevertheless, we managed to taste a whopping 220 wines and came away impressed with many great producers from the length of the country. I'll keep each post to a session of time, splitting each day into morning and afternoon. Thus, 6 posts plus a possible wrapup that includes all of the the wines we had on the trip outside of the 3 days at the fair.