Saturday, January 25, 2014

Report from ... Anteprima Amarone 2010, Day 3 - January 25, 2014

Day 3 is the big tasting day ... we'll take a look at that, the more than a little bit exciting press conference (I'm not kididng here), and then a walk around town before dinner ... let's take a look at what happened on Day 3 on this trip to Verona, Italy for the Anteprima Amarone ...

Gratuitous Dog Shot - I usually have at least one a day,
but this trip I have not taken one cause we have not seen a winery dog,
so here is where I have to make up for it.
Gratuitous Dog Shot #2 ... And we'll do it again, missing head belongs to a Whippet
(wearing the jacket)
Time to get serious:  The Anteprima Amarone held at the Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Piazza Bra.

Registering to take part as part of the press.
The main Tasting Room (there are two) - set up is just beginning (it's only 11:00am)
Between Tasting Rooms they are setting up the Mandarin-style "buffet", you'll see what I mean,
there is just tons of great looking food - like this baked good table.
And another table full of baked goods.
This will be the meat table.
One plate which will soon be among many.
And then there is this cheese lover's paradise:
"Hello Cheese, where have you been all my life?"
Room Two of the Grand Tasting.
Many booths, but thankfully old two wines per table.

But before all that it's the Press Conference.

The Press Conference ...
Now before you skim down to the wines tasted today, this one was worth attending, there was a little something for everyone - if you didn't like this one you didn't have a pulse:

Moderated by this man, Sebastiano Barisoni - at first I wasn't keen on this guy as his opening remarks
seemed a little all over the place.  It was as if he started talking in the middle of a conversation that
was already having in his head ... what I did get out of it was that "networking" was important, so was
promoting in far away lands, and Valpolicella's competitive edge is that "you can't de-localize wine.
But just wait ... he is just getting started ... soon he'll be warming up the controversy cauldron.
Then Christian Marchesini, President of the Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella, took over:
he spoke about the new DOCG status of Amarone and soon the whole region; only 5% of plantings
are international varieties; sustainable farming practices; the region will not grow anymore,
which seems to be causing some friction with producers.  He stressed networking, not just for
producers but for the Consorizio as well.  He also mentioned the increase of Ripasso production
at the expense of lower Valpolicella production.
Borisani quickly jumped in on that, pleading with the Consorzio not to put all their eggs in the
Amarone and Ripasso basket - "don't lose the value and beauty of Valpolicella".
More Olga Bussinello, whom we saw yesterday, she started by saying
the Consorzio can't be "a slave to tradition".
She the unveiled the new logo of the Valpolicella Consorzio Tutela Vini - if you look at the logo
you can see the C, the T and of course the V ... also notice the V is pushing at the border of the
circle, showing forward thinking or the pushing of borders.
Back to Barisoni (this man is a complete "merda disturbatore" - pardon my Google aided translation)
... just look at Marchesini's face here ... sorry it's out of focus but you get the drift.
Barisoni brought up the point of quality: with 8.5 million bottles being made a few years ago and
now 13 million, does quality remain constant?  Should there be a threshold, and where it is?
"it cause confusion for consumers," he ended with.
"You are doing to Amarone what they did with Brunello," he said.  "I can no longer tell people what
a Brunello is.  It's lost its identity.  Don't do that to Amarone," he pled.  Before turning the mic
over he quipped: "They are not sorry they invited me."
At this point in the conference I am sure this was not a happy tete-a-tete.
Andrea Marchini, Department of Economic forecasts & food sciences, University of Perugia.
Topics covered: quality must be achieved for lower prices, diversity remains important and
communication to consumer has to improve.  It also remarked that Italy lags behind the
EU average in innovation.

Barisoni again ... after the professor finished Barisoni asked him point blank: "do you think
over-production is a problem with Amarone?"  Andrea waffled for a bit then Barisoni pressed him
for a "simple yes or no answer".  Andrea conceded and told about a study he did with Sagrantino
and he watched quality and price plummet due to over-production.
Here with Daniele Accordini ... Barisoni talks about the loss of Chianti and Brunello's identity:
"You're no longer able to pick out the wine, you pick your producer."  Don't lose the average
consumer by destroying Valpolicella at the cost of more profits from Amarone ... [ed note. and I thought
this was going to be a standard, boring press conference.]
Daniele Accordini, Vice President of the Consorzio, with his state of the union for the 2010 vintage:
late budding lead to later than usual harvest; heavy rainfall in August; high temperatures in June and July;
less sugar, high acidity; average alcohol is 15.7%; making fro crisper and fresher wines due to higher

While Daniele spoke the two to his left still butted heads.
What an exciting Press Conference, not what I expected at all.  The President's closing remarks were to
be expected though - he disagreed with Barisoni completely and said everything was fine.
With the wineries now set up it's time to taste.
The Tasting ...
I tasted barrel samples but did not rate them, only the finished and bottled wines received a score - I also concentrated on those that had even the smallest of a Canadian presence.  Below is presented in (approximate) alphabetical order and only a score is given:

Aldrighetti Luigi, Angelo e Nicole 2010 Le Bignele
Aldrighetti Luigi, Angelo e Nicole 2000 Le Bignele

Bertani 2010 Villa Arvedi
(*** 1/2+)
Bottega 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva
"Pret-a-Porter" (****)

Bottega 2010 Il Vino Degli Dei
(*** 1/2+)
Ca' La Bionda 2007 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
"Vigneti di Ravazzol" (**** 1/2)
Ca' Rugate 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella
(**** 1/2)

Corte Adami 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella
(*** 1/2+)
Corte Archi 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
Corte Figaretto 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella
Damoli Bruno 2005 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
Flatio 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
(*** 1/2+)

Guerrieri Rizzardi 2003 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
"Villa Rizzardi"
(*** 1/2+)

The move to Room Two took me passed the fully set up, and now quite busy, "buffet"
Whose gonna pass up a free lunch of this ...
Massimago 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella
(**** 1/2) - in bottle just not labelled
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine 2010 Terra di Cariano
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine 2003 Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva
"Famiglia Pasqua"
(*** 1/2+)

I did not taste the wines from this producer - he had me standing around for,
no word of a lie, 5 minutes without even acknowledging me while he spoke to
a pretty woman ... so I said screw it ...
Tezza 2010 "Corte Majoli"
Zonin 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella

After the Tasting ...
Now the middle of the afternoon I decided to walk around Verona a bit, take in the sights and sounds - while you can't hear the cacophony of mixed languages, nor smell the foods I'll see what I can do about at least giving you the visual

Holocaust memorial with the names of the Nazi camps set in stone
Across from that is another horrific reminder of the past ... the box car of death
(I was inside this a few years back and it is truly a sobering visit)

Speaking of sobering: an Italian Wine Shop - they deliver to your hotel
or your home ... ah, how civilized
the arc in the daylight

Gratuitous Dog Shot #3
The Italian "Parking" Job
Gratuitous Dog Shot #4
Busy streets on a Saturday afternoon
Sun begins to set over the town square

A coffee shop ... that sells wine ... ah, how civilized
A stationery store ... that sells wine!

I need some pens, paper, a new calendar ... and some wine ... ah, how civilized
My first McDonald's sighting
And the menu ... the burger is only .90
Walking back to the hotel I passed thru this archway

The famous Juliette's balcony
Dinner ...
A rather simple affair, once again right off the hotel lobby at Risto Rubiani ... how me managed to drink more wine I can't even begin to tell you ... but as they say, "when in Verona" ...

Boscaini Carlo 2009 S. Giorgio Amarone Classico ... rich of fruit: black cherry, plum and some
smoky notes, but the fruit is what really comes through here. (*** 1/2+)
Gnocchi with cheese and mushrooms
Latium 2010 Valpolicella Superiore "Campo Pronai" ... black cherry, chocolate, plum, with hints of
woodsy intermingled with vanilla and pretty spice. (****)
Roast Veal with potatoes and vegetables
Cesari 2011 Recioto Classico ... an impressive little sweetie that doesn't come off to sweet:
violets and plum hit the nose, while on the palate it shows some delicacy with vanilla, plum,
black cherry and even some pleasant grape-y notes. (****)
Final course of the day: apple creme with creme Anglaise

And that, as they say, back in the US of A, is the ballgame folks ... Day 3 has come to a close and so has the Anteprima ... but wait there is still more.  Day 4 (and Day 5) sees us roaming the countryside visiting a variety of producers and tasting a lot more wine, so stick with me and I'll catch you up just as soon as I can.

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