Vinitaly recap

It’s over and we made it! Literally, this was the hottest Vinitaly ever. Usually we are rugged up with jackets and scarves, plus an umbrella for good measure. This year, it was like summer and the vines on the shores of Lago di Garda are already looking quite green. The heat made some tastings pretty challenging, with reds too warm and whites not cool enough. There were quite a few highlights but, before we get to the serious stuff, the nominations are:

Most colourfully (crazy) dressed goes to Paolo Stella of Stella/Erpacrife in Piedmont. Only Paolo could pair yellow pants with a purple striped shirt and purple vest. Oh, and the shoes were blue and silver! Bravo pazzo Paolo.

Best lunch: Franz Haas. If you are smart, you can avoid the panini queue and snack at the producers stands. The prosciutto is always great at Ronco dei Tassi and Poderi Colla has one of my favourite cheeses, fresh toma. But the antipasti at Haas was superb. Fresh ham, speck, marienberger cheese (like fontina but with flavour) from Valle Venosta and lots of schuttlebrot, a large savoury biscuit studded with caraway. Great with a glass of Moscato Giallo secco.

Our best in show wines (and I’ve tried to balance the obvious bias) are:

Pieropan La Rocca 2009 (one of the best ever vintages for La Rocca), Tenuta San Leonardo San Leonardo 2004, Grattamacco 2008, Salvioni Brunello 2006, San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo 2007, Boscarelli Vigna del Nocio 2007, Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc 2007, Marcarini Barolo Brunate 2007, Poderi Colla Barbaresco Roncaglie 2008. We were really impressed with 2009 Chianti Classico, a vintage for beautifully perfumed and elegant Sangiovese.

Special mentions go to: Felsina – for their new cru Chianti Classico, Colonia, from a vineyard located near Rancia. Also to Josephus Mayr at Unterganzner – a great line up and we look forward to our piccolo piccolo piccolo allocation of Lagrein next year. Brunello di Montalcino 2006 – the wines are as good as the early reviews suggested. 2007 Barolo – this is going to be a perfect vintage for restaurants – the wines are open and fruity, drinking well now and prices have held steady.

Next year the format changes slightly. Vinitaly usually begins on the first Thursday in April but in 2011 it will held from Sunday April 1st to Wednesday April 4th, also finishing a day earlier because of Easter.