Eduardo Dingler, Wine to Sake: A return to Italy for Vinitaly 2021 | Eduardo Dingler



As the world slowly wakes up and travel and events pick up again, I took the first opportunity to return to Italy. Since my last visit, which took place in early March 2020, not much has changed.

Aside from the masks and proof of vaccination required indoors and small crowds, the country is still vibrant and full of passion.

The purpose of the trip included Vinitaly 2021, which is one of the most important events when it comes to Italian wine. The event, along with many others around the world, was canceled in 2020 and postponed to October from April in a smaller last-minute format.

Despite the small event, the three days offered a respite from virtual meetings and were a great opportunity to reconnect buyers with producers.

I had the pleasure of attending a handful of fascinating seminars which provided an in-depth educational experience. The first was, of all drinks, sake. I found myself sitting as a student rather than wearing the educator hat this time.

The course offered a wealth of information not only on the styles of sake produced, but also on the Italian sake scene, mixology and even a great cheese and sake pairing.

It was run by Italian sake authority Lorenzo Ferraboschi and famous mixologist Simone Baggio, who demonstrated to a crowded classroom some of his favorite ways to introduce sake into cocktails.

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It was great to see the level of excitement surrounding sake around the world, attracting people of all ages and backgrounds. Lorenzo guided the educational tasting, which included longtime favorite Dewazakura from Yamagata, led by a highly aromatic floral style, and Shirayuki Edo Genshu from Hyogo, which due to its aging offers a mountain of flavor with crème brûlée. , espresso, and tobacco.

As a sign of growing interest in sake in Italy, Lorenzo told me that there is a Sake Challenge scheduled for 2022 that will invite chefs and sommeliers to pair their favorite classic Italian dish with sake.

The second seminar was devoted to Marche, a coastal region in eastern Italy with a varied landscape of mountain ranges and beach views.

The two-hour masterclass titled “De la Vigna a la Tabola” (from vine to table) was led by the Marche authority Mirco Carloni, alongside a number of producers offering an overview of the wines of production , vineyards and culture. The Marche has more than 300 wine estates and is also one of the first regions to promote organic and biodynamic farming practices.

The tasting included 12 wines, seven white wines dominated by Verdicchio di Castello di Jesi DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Classica e Garantita or Classic and demonization of guaranteed origin), which certifies the regulations and quality.

Highlights include the Umani Ronchi Vecchie Vigne Verdicchio di Castello di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore 2019. Due to the old vines and concrete aging in one year, this wine offered a richness and complexity rivaling the greats. whites of the world.

Founded in 1957, Umani Ronchi is located in the city of Ancona and has established itself as one of the main wineries in the region with a presence all over the world.

Also winner in my book the 2020 Tenuta Cocci Grifoni Colle Vecchio Pecorino Offida DOCG. This winery has always been a champion of Pecorino, which produces wines with a kiss of Orange Creamsicle on a salty layer with ocean spray; and this one was just like that. Some strong theories exist on the arrival of Pecorino in the region. It is argued that the Romans brought it from Greece while new research indicates that it came from Germanic roots. Either way, it’s a variety to explore and a vivid example of the Italian passion for unique grapes.

As for red wines, we tasted a takeoff dominated by Montepulciano, some with Sangiovese and others with Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, bringing more structure and density to the wines.

One of the best examples for me was the San Giovanni Leo Guelfus Piceno Superiore Offida DOC 2017 made with 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese. This wine offered a rustic and juicy snapshot of the region’s traditional reds – easy to drink and upbeat instead of offering complexity and longevity.

A critical part of this class was for producers to spend time talking in depth about their wines, history and production methods in a captive setting.

Napa Mayor Scott Sedgley welcomed officials from the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco to announce a new partnership between Napa and Montalcino, Italy.

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