One of the many joys of wine is getting to spend time with the people that turn grapes into drinkable art; their talent and passion inspire me everyday. New York City is always a top destination for winemakers and my hometown hosts a never-ending parade of tasting events. Each month or so, my new Wine About Town column will showcase some of the marvelous winemakers & tastemakers that I've had the pleasure of sharing a bottle with at events in NYC. There is never a drought of great Italian wine tastings in the Big Apple, so this inaugural edition of Wine About Town is all about sipping La Dolce Vita!
Winemaker Giampaolo Tabarrini was in a cheerful mood at the Slow Wine 2018 Tasting at Eataly Downtown.
I've admired his wines for a long time so it was truly a treat to finally meet Giampaolo Tabarrini at the Slow Wine tasting. Friends had told me that this talented winemaker from Umbria was gregarious and high-energy and I found myself delightfully swept up in his vino vortex. The Tabarrini family has been making wine for four generations in Umbria, outside of Montefalco.
Celebrated for his complex single-vineyard Sagrantino wines, I'm also a big fan of Giampaolo's white wine Tabarrini Adarmando (around $23). Inspired by his grandfather Armando, Adarmando is produced from the local Trebbiano Spoletino grape and is a beautifully textured and expressive wine. Tabarrini is a great example of Slow Wine's mission to showcase small-scale Italian winemakers that respect tradition, the environment, and terroir.
Angela Velenosi in NYC at the Domaine Select grand portfolio tasting at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi.
One of the most dynamic and well-known personalities in wine, I refer to Angela Velenosi as The Lady from Le Marche. A true force of nature, Angela entered the wine business more than 30 years ago with very little capital and now Cantina Velenosi is one of the powerhouses of the region. Velenosi produces a wide array of wines from their vineyards in Italy's Le Marche region, including many from indigenous grapes like Passerina, Pecorino, and Lacrima. Her superb red wines Offida Ludi 2013 ($65, blend of Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot) and Rosso Piceno Superiore Roggio del Filare 2013 ($55, blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano) each received an impressive 90 points in Wine Spectator.
Francesco Marone Cinzano, chairman of Col d'Orcia, was in NYC for the annual Benvenuto Brunello tasting at Gotham Hall.
Benvenuto Brunello is always one of the most festive and highly anticipated events on the NYC wine calendar and this year's tasting of Brunello di Montalcino 2013, Riserva 2012, Rosso di Montalcino 2016, Moscadello, and Sant’Antimo did not disappoint. Many of the producers described 2013 as a classic vintage that will age beautifully. Col d'Orcia is always one of the standouts; the wines are consistently evocative and Count Cinzano's witty sense of humor shows that fine wine can be lots of fun. Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 2013 ($55) is an elegant addition to any meal or occasion.
Winemaker Maddalena Pasqua di Bisceglie of Musella Winery was in NYC for the Historic Families tasting at Del Posto.
A biodynamic Amarone? That's pretty exciting and ambitious but Musella's commitment is paying off beautifully. Musella Amarone della Valpolicella elegantly conveys a sense of their terroir, in the hills near Verona, with impressive freshness and structure. Historic Families (Le Famiglie Storiche) represents thirteen quintessential producers of Amarone della Valpolicella, the Italian noble red that hails from Italy’s Veneto region. Each producer has their own style but share a dedication to preserving the integrity of Amarone. Musella Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva 2011($64) balances Amarone's signature richness with an enticing melange of freshness and earthiness.