Thank you for the patience!

I find it curious how one of the things I like the most, wine, requires such a huge amount of patience: a quality that isn’t one of my strong points, I must admit. I mean: i am the one who is made fun of in the office because at times I can be polemical or have a short temper. But as it often happens, to me at least it does a lot, opposites attract and wine became both a great passion and some sort of school of patience. There’s so much about that: from the vineyard, the lovely grape juice might take 10, 15, 20 years before being ready to drink (think of some old school Barolo). And in the vineyard, you need to wait a whole year, following the vine’s life cycle – and you can do nothing about it, but being patient. Or else: If you want to get to the higher education level, patience must be your best allied: it will take years to get there and, most of the times, not on first try. You need patience to taste a wine, to learn how to do it without feeling completely lost or the only one who doesn’t smell a thing (we all were there, right?!). The most important part of this, though, is that patience isn’t a passive waiting; it is, instead, a continuous call to action toward your goals, no matter what they are. .

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Wine of the day: 

Rocca di Montemassi 2008

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah

I haven’t tasted it yet, I’m waiting for the right moment, so be patient. The tasting notes will come!

Blending people 

Sunday morning: finally some well deserved relax! Woke up late, had a nice, smooth, long breakfast and then what I love the most: a good book – about wine, for a change! And I can’t help thinking of my last trip, of the amazing group I was with: amazing professionals, but amazing human beings as well. They were one of the best blend I’ve ever had… and I had quite a few in these last years! During all the long preparation days before the events I often look at those lists of names, wondering how they will get along and if they will. It’s pretty much like assemblage for Champagne and you feel a little chef de cave who’s working on the best cuvée, blending these varietals from different countries and different vintages. Apparently difficult, but it can turn out in a perfect vintage wine, just like 2003 for Dom Perignon: tough, but someone had to do it, right?! 

Mine is a privileged point of view and it is fun to see how the people involved in the trips, who are strangers to each other in the beginning, become real friends after just a few days. We all play in the same field, with the same rules, and from that starting point it’s easy to connect and get closer. And when after quite a long time they tell you that they’re still in touch and thank you for the experiences they shared together, you can only think of that perfect blend that was Dom Perignon 2003.

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Wine of the day:

Dom Perignon 2003
Floral on the nose; well structured, with a gritty minerality on the palate; hints of brioches, as well as vanilla, peach and lemon; long finish with salinity. Elegant and complex, it’s a wine that has a real physical presence 

Wonderlust 

I’m on one of my wine trips on these days. In this occasions, for entire days I’m surrounded by top sommeliers from all over the world and wine journalists or bloggers: can you imagine what our conversations sound like? Wine, wine every moment, wine in its every possible form of discussion, to the point that when you hear a man saying “sexy”, you can be pretty sure he’s talking about wine… and it’s not even boring! I must admit, this is my favorite moment of the year!

Getting together with such an international crowd is an amazing possibility to learn a lot from their experiences about different tastes in different countries, new points of view and networking, which we all know how important it is. One thing we all have in common is this big passion we share that, as a matter of facts, makes us all come together on a common ground and, from there, it allows us to go further developing ideas, tastes, pairings, and friendships.

I love the energy that almost everyone shows when discovering terroirs and cultures other that theirs. I don’t think you get this feeling in other industries as well, but I guess it’s quite hard to find.

I’d call it “wonderlust”, in the sense of a desire of always wanting to know more, to taste more, to get deeper into the subject and I always have the almost physical sensations of it growing inside!

It is pure sparkle, it makes me smile just like Champagne does… and guess how much we smiled yesterday night?!


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Wine of the day:

Perrier Jouet Belle Époque 2007

Clear pale yellow color with a fine perlage, medium intensity on the nose with white flowers, orange and lemon hints; intense on the palate, with a high acidity and white flowers notes.

To smile for!

Vintage magic 

The Mille Miglia is a world-famous memorial car race that takes place in Italy every year, from 1927, with only a few years in which it didn’t run. Cars drive through an open-road circuit from Brescia to Rome and back, for total of more or less 1600km, 1000 Roman Miles – and that is where its name comes from. All the cars participating in the competition must be older the 1957. Last night I was there when some of these cars made their parade in the historical city center of Vicenza. When you see them passing by it feels like you’re going back in time: the cars, Maserati, Ferrari, Bugatti, Aston Martin – only to mention some – are perfectly maintained in their body and engines. I find it magical, just like when you enter one of those historical, dark cellars that smell of mould and humidity, open a bottle of an old vintage wine and find out it is still in a perfect condition. It does feel like magic.

There’s a lot of work behind one of those bottles, we all know that, just like there is in maintaining in perfect conditions vintage cars. The secret, I believe, as in many things in life, is just passion and love.
Can you imagine yourself driving a vintage car like one of those of the Mille Miglia through the Tuscan hills of Chianti, stopping somewhere sunny for a pic-nic, pretty much lost in the middle of nowhere, and opening an old vintage Chianti Classico Riserva? Wishful thinking?!

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Wine of the day:

Chianti Classico Riserva 1986, Castello d’Albola

1986 wasn’t the best of vintages; the wine results a little weary, but still fine one and with a good expressiveness of its territory.
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La Mille Miglia è una famosa corsa di auto d’epoca che si svolge annualmente in Italia dal 1927, ad esclusione di alcuni anni. Il percorso è un circuito che da Brescia arriva fino a Roma e ritorna di nuovo alla città di partenza, percorrendo circa 1600km – 1000 miglia degli antichi romani, da cui il nome della manifestazione. Tutte le auto che prendono parte a questa competizione devono essere state messe su strada per la prima volta in anni precedenti al 1957.

Ieri sera ero presente mentre alcune di queste bellissime auto sfilavano nel centro storico della mia città, Vicenza. Quando ti passano vicino, sembra quasi di tornare indietro nel tempo: Maserati, Ferrari, Bugatti, Aston Martin – sono per citarne alcune – in condizioni perfette, sia nella carrozzeria che nei motori. Io lo trovo quasi magico, un po’ come quando ti trovi a scendere in quelle vecchie e buie cantine storiche, che hanno quell’odore unico di muffa e di umidità, apri una vecchia annata e scopri che in realtà è ancora in condizioni perfette. Sembra magia, per davvero.

Sappiamo bene tutti quanto lavoro ci sia dietro ad una di quelle bottiglie, esattamente come nel mantenere perfette quelle auto d’epoca. Il segreto credo, come in tutte le cose della vita, è solo passione e amore.
Riesci ad immaginarti alla guida di una di quelle auto d’epoca e mentre percorri la tua strada sulle colline del Chianti, decidi di fermarti in un prato soleggiato per un pic-nic e apri una vecchia annata di Chianti Classico Riserva? Non sarebbe un sogno?

 

Mom in a glass

Sunday it was “mother’s day” here and, just like every year, we spent it together and, just like every year, she was moved almost to tears when I arrived at her place with a flower bouquet for her. And, I mean: isn’t it just like the bare minimum?? I’m not a mother and I believe I can’t even understand what this means; the stories she tells, or those of my girlfriends who already have kids, let me grasp something, but being one is a completely different story.

Our relationship has grown and evolved with time, also thanks to the – physical – distance that separated us for a few years when I was living abroad. Those years were crucial in giving ourselves a completely new balance: not only as mother and daughter, but as two adult women able to talk, to open up and to listen to each other, capable of understanding and criticism as well.

This evening I was on a tasting for work and, among the many wines we tasted, one in particular reminded me of her: a single grape Primitivo, velvety, warm, persistent and softly tannic. It’s a perfect description of her: warm, welcoming, persistent in her presence, severe at times, but with a hint of sweetness.

As of today, whenever I’ll drink that wine again it will be like having mom in the glass… surely reminding me to drink responsibly!

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Wine of the day:

Sasseo 2015, Masseria Altemura

Ruby red colori; blackberry and blueberry on the nose; medium bodied, elegant tannins, with herbal notes and red fruits on the palate, long finish.

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Domenica era la festa della mamma e, come ogni anno, l’abbiamo trascorsa assieme e, esattamente come ogni anno, si è emozionata quasi fino alle lacrime quando mi sono presentata a casa con un mazzo di fiori per lei. Che poi, dico: un mazzo di fiori è davvero il minimo sindacale per tua madre! Io non sono mamma e credo di non poter minimamente capire che cosa si provi; i suoi racconti o quelli delle amiche che hanno la fortuna di esserlo già mi lasciano intuire qualcosa, ma viverlo è sicuramente tutta un’altra storia. 

Il nostro è un legame che è cresciuto e si è consolidato nel tempo, in parte anche grazie alla distanza – fisica – che ci ha separate per alcuni anni quando io vivevo all’estero. Quegli anni sono stati decisivi nel darci un equilibrio totalmente nuovo: non più solo come madre e figlia, ma finalmente anche come due donne adulte capaci di ascoltarsi, di aprirsi l’una con l’altra, di capirsi e di criticarsi se necessario.

Questa sera, per lavoro, mi trovavo ad una degustazione e, fra i molto vini che abbiamo assaggiato, uno, in particolare, mi ha fatto pensare a lei: un Primitivo in purezza vellutato, caldo e persistente; tannico, ma con dolcezza. Lei è esattamente così: calda, accogliente, persistete nella sua presenza; a volte dura, ma con dolcezza.

Da oggi, ogni volta che berrò quel vino sarà come avere un po’ di mamma nel bicchiere… probabilmente quella che mi ricorda sempre di bere con moderazione!

Spring and Chablis

It is, finally, the first sunny Saturday in May. I breath deeply. The air starts to feel warm again and I walk throught my city’s streets determined to go up there, to that place that is one of my heart’s. I really like Spring. I keep on walking, climbing the little stairs: they’re so many, it seems they’re neverending! Once on top, I inhale deeply: frankly, to catch my breath rather then to smell the air this time. I can’t believe I was so off my game! I like this place: it is calm and peaceful, just what I need after such a hectic working week. It allows me to relax and unwind and…. and what’s this lovely smell?! Just right next to me there’s a beautiful lilium garden: this immediately takes back a childhood memory of a school recital in which every kid was assigned the role of flower, and I was the lily. I love those delicate, white flowers, with their elegant umbrella shape and their unmistakable scent.

I’ve been working in the wine business for some years now. It started slow, but then it became a real passion that led me to wanting to know more and more, to studying and being informed. It’s a continuosly evolving world, in which you always learn something new: about wine, vines, production areas, producers…

I’ve learnt, as an example, that each wine is an expression of its terroir, which is not only the territory or the soil on which a vine grows, but it is a wider concept that includes the comunities living in a certain area, their distinctive culture and local traditions. All of this, concentrated in a bottle… 0.75l, mainly!

While I was making mine all what I learnt in the time, I realized that I was honeing what I defined as my “winey soul”. The more I was getting to know about wines, their tastes, soils, definitions, the more I was spontaneusly comparing them to many different aspects of life: people, situations, feelings, emotions, character traits.

That is: while I was up there and the air smelled of lilium and childhood, my thoughts went straight to that Chablis I drank at some friend’s place, not long ago. And I’d really love to have a glass of it right now.

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Wine of the day: 

Chablis Saint Martin Domain Laroche 2015

Clear lemon color; clean on the nose with fruity aromas and white flowers; dry on the palate, medium + acidity, with white flowers and minerality; 

100% Chardonnay, I find it a very good expression of its variety
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È un sabato di maggio, il primo finalmente di sole. Respiro a fondo l’aria che inizia a farsi calda e passeggio per le vie della città decisa ad arrivare fin lassù, ad uno dei luoghi del mio cuore. Che bella, la primavera. Continuo a camminare, salgo le scalette (ma quante sono?! Non finiscono mai!) e una volta in cima respiro di nuovo a fondo, forse più per prendere fiato che per annusare davvero i profumi che mi circondano. Sono davvero fuori allenamento! Mi piace venire qui: c’è pace, tranquillità, esattamente ciò di cui ho bisogno dopo una settimana di lavoro intensa come questa. Mi permette di staccare la testa dai pensieri e… e questo profumo? Mi volto. Di fianco a me, un giardino di gigli: mi torna subito alla mente la recita scolastica dell’asilo, quella in cui ad ogni bambino era stato assegnato un fiore ed io ero proprio il giglio. Adoro questi fiori bianchi e delicati, con quell’elegante forma ad ombrello ed il loro profumo inconfondibile.
Da qualche anno lavoro nel mondo del vino. È una fiamma che si é accesa lentamente, fino a quando è diventata una vera e propria passione che mi ha portata a leggere, studiare, informarmi. È un universo vastissimo e in continuo cambiamento, in cui non si finisce mai di imparare e di scoprire cose nuove: vini, vitigni, zone di produzione, produttori…

Ho imparato, ad esempio, che il vino è espressione del suo terroir, che non è solamente il territorio o il terreno su cui un certo vitigno cresce, ma un concetto molto più ampio all’interno del quale rientrano anche le comunità che abitano una certa zona, la loro cultura distintiva e le tradizioni locali. Tutto questo, in una bottiglia… da 0.75l, per la maggior parte!
Mentre facevo miei molti di questi concetti nuovi, mi rendevo conto che stavo affinando (tanto per stare in tema) quella che ho definito la mia “winey soul”. Più conosco i vini, ne assaporo i gusti, ne annuso i terreni, più mi viene spontaneo paragonare tutto questo ai più disparati aspetti della vita: situazioni, sentimenti, persone, tratti caratteriali.

Ecco: mentre mi trovavo lassù e l’aria profumava di gigli e di ricordi d’infanzia, il mio pensiero è volato a quello Chablis che ho bevuto non molto tempo fa a casa di amici. E ne vorrei davvero un bicchiere ora.