Yes, finally we held the trade tasting that was so long heralded. The wines showed well, and the three producers we had on hand were charming and informative.
A moderate-sized crowd showed up, including good media people. And some top-flight restaurant people attended as well. Very gratifying.
Today's follow-up has been gratifying as well.
And why not? The Valpolicella wines of Luca Fedrigo of L'Arco drew a consistent crowd. This young man of 33 has been making wine, or involved in its making, since he was 17. He worked for Quintarelli for 11 years until he broke up with Signor Giuseppe's niece. Time to leave the vinological nest.
The relations between the established great of Valpolicella and the young man with a vision are close, cooperative and warm. On a personal note, Luca and his young lady are expecting a second child. This is man who gets up at 4 AM to Skype his wife and 3-year old daughter. This is also a man who says, "I make wines that I like." No trend-chasing here.
Charming was Francesca Ciani of Aquila del Torre, and the rave comments of her organic, unoaked Friuliano (Colli Orientali) whites centered on her Friulano and the Sauvignon Blanc. We loved these wines the first time we tasted them. They possess wonderful balance and finesse. On a Ciani family note, the first person we met of that family was Francesca's brother Michele, the enologist, who became a papà just a few weeks ago. Auguri!
This is the young Italian wine generation, striving to make ever better wines, committing themselves to this often unremunerative way to make a living because it's in their blood. I mean, what would Luca Fedrigo do if he didn't make wine? The question doesn't even compute.
In case you think I forgot Chiara Martinotti, the GM and guiding hand at Cascina Gilli, how could I? Looking as elegant as any chic Upper East Side lady, she poured the three wines that we currently import: the Freisa Vigna del Forno ("Nebbiolo in a bustier"), the surprise hit sparkling Malvasia, and the newly arrived Barbera d'Asti, unoaked and fresh as a bunch of spring's early violets. Whatever I once said about Barbera d'Asti -- fuggeddabbadit. This is delicious, well-priced vino.
I have to cut this short. Must run to a Cascina Gilli tasting at Eataly. There will be photos of the Anfora tasting soon.