Wide world of wine: Simply Italian great wines US Tour 2018 – Majestic wines of Italy

Dwight Casimere | 11/1/2018, noon
The largest trade tasting of the vast variety of Italian wines in North America has just completed it US tour. ...

The largest trade tasting of the vast variety of Italian wines in North America has just completed it US tour. More than 80 wines were presented by the leaders of that country's most renowned consortiums, who were personally on hand to lead guided tastings and seminars about their exquisite wines.

The Simply Italian Great Wines U.S. Tour featured a series of Guided Tastings and Wine Pairings from some of the great wine regions of Italy. The Consortiums represented included Chianti, Federdoc, Friuli Grave, Prosecco, Venezie, Romagna, Lambrusco, and Montepulciano, among many others.

The signature Walk-Around Wine Tasting, allowed participants to sample the wines along with their producers, who were there to personally pour the wines and offer insights into their production methods. A sumptuous buffet of Italian specialties was offered to further enhance the tasting, allowing participants to create their own wine and food pairings from a dizzying array of antipasti, pastas, salumi and cheeses.

The wines all have one thing in common. They are simply delightful. Italian wines, as a whole, tend to be lighter, fruitier and more balanced than wines from many other countries, particularly US wines from California. They tend not to use a lot of oak, if any. For the most part, winemakers tend to age their wines in large Slavonian oak casks, which allow the wines to rest and "breath," yet the casks themselves do not impart any additional wooden or oaky flavors to the wine. The primary goal is freshness. Winemakers try to preserve the fresh fruit flavor that is derived from the field. The result is a wine that is pleasant to drink and which pairs well with a variety of cuisines.

Marketing researches that have studied consumer trends are finding that the wine drinking audience is getting younger everyday and they are demanding wines that are more accessible. They also want wines that are in line with the new trends of cuisine, which are leaning toward lighter, more international fare, which encompasses a variety of new and exotic flavors. The new breed of Italian wines is perfectly in line with this trend. Nowhere was this more evident than during the seminars and tastings at Simply Italian.

The always illuminating seminars and guided tastings were the highlight of the day's activities. This reviewer personally attended the seminars conducted by Consortia Vino Chianti guided by Consortium representative Luca Alves. The seminar featured a Vertical Tasting Portrait of the Vintages and Territories moderated by Master Sommelier Laura DePasquale of New York. Participants had an opportunity to sample vintages dating back to 1999.

Famed President of Federdoc, New York, Riccardo Ricci Curbastro led the Seminar, Federdoc: Traceability and Regulation of Italian DOC Wines with a focus on Franciacorta: One Territory, Three Denominations. Curbastro gave a scintillating and knowledgeable presentation, detailing the distinctions between the denominations and their specific terroir.

He concluded his remarks with a marvelous anecdote regarding his encounter with legendary California winemaker Robert Mondavi. When he asked the great winemaker if he would share his production notes on one of his vintages, Mondavi replied; "Of course. When we share information we all get stronger!" That is the type of attitude Curbastro says he is hoping to instill in all of the members of his Consortium.