Wine News - May 04, 2006


Welcome to VOLUME IV, NUMBER 5 of Wine News, the e-Letter from the WineCountry.IT network. (Would you rather see the e-Letter on your favorite browser? Use this link. Usa il link seguente se vuoi leggere le News in italiano).

Italian Flavor Consortium

Italian Flavor Forum V
June 27, 2006
Golden Gate Yacht Club
San Francisco, California, Usa

Educational Italian wine and food event dedicated to importers, distributors, resellers, restauranteurs, wine bars, wine collectors and trade writer.

By invitation only!

If you are a professional and are interested, please use this form.

We are also looking for US distributors in california and other states for our growing quality wine and food portfolio.


Dear reader, as promised in the April e-letter, we have for you a blow-by-blow account of our Italian journey. This is our 'Italian Sideways 2006', 19 days chock full of events, meetings, tastings, traveling and a few days' vacation.

Enjoy the story and the pictures and, should you wish to join us for the whole or part of next year's Italian wine extravaganza extraordinaire on the occasion of the 41st Vinitaly, contact us for more information.

In addition, this month Rosa D'Ancona takes us to Latium on her discovery of Italian ancient and native vines up the boot to west central Italy.

Unfortunately we also have bad news for Italian wine producers. For the second time in less than three years, Australia has surpassed Italy as the top US wine importer on a monthly basis. To get back to the top, Italy needs to continue the marketing efforts which already paid off in 2005.

We are strongly convinced that is now the time to push and promote the true strength of Italian vitivulture aggressively. That is its great variety based upon the large number of native vines which are cultivated nowere else in the world.

On our part, we will continue promoting Italian quality wines and food with the next Italian Flavor Forum V, scheduled for Tuesday, June 27, at the Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco, California.

Loris Scagliarini, WineCountry.IT President


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Italian Wines Topped by Australians in the US

Australia - ItalyFor the second time in history, Australian wines have surpassed Italian wines on the US market on a monthly basis. In January, the Australian wines increased 13.7 percent, while Italian wine imports grew just 7.9 percent. This happened before, in the six month period between January 1, to June 30, 2004.

The new data was reported by Coldiretti, based on figures released by the Italian Food & Wine Institute, relating to Jan 2006.

Italian Sideways 2006 – Day 1

BedroomOf course, the title is a tribute to 'Sideways', both the very appreciated Rex Pickett novel and the movie by film director Alexander Payne. Actually, it's not the first time that we have 'borrowed' the title to define a personal wine-focused journey. The first time we did a reverse Sideways, starting from San Francisco and ending in Paso Robles, as Miles and Jack did starting from L.A. This time, however, our 'Sideways' takes us to Italy for a 19-day wine-related journey on the occasion of the 40th Vinitaly trade show.

Day 2

MemmoDay two of the journey, or our first full day in Italy we drive to Bagni di Orvieto, in the Umbria region, with our good old Italian friend Daniele Malagoli and Jonathan Dalrymple, president and CEO of Mediterranean Ventures, a Texas-based Italian wine importing company. We have a great time, so much so that we run late and miss a late lunch in Umbertide, at the Carlo Massimiliano Gritti winery. As the OMC song goes, "time flies when you're having fun".

Day 3

Chinese OroscopeDay three is chock full. Later in the afternoon we visit Mirco Casari, president of La Tradizione cooperative which produces the ABTM, or the traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena, locally known also as 'black gold'. As it happens, Casari is one of the largest whiskey collectors in the world, counting over 20,000 unopened bottles of mostly whiskey, but including bourbon, cognac and brandy from all over the world.

Day 4 & 5 (40th Vinitaly)

GroupDay four and five kind of blur one into one anoother. One meeting, with related tasting, just rolls into the next and, if it hadn't been for the scribbled notes, the two days would be not much more than a list of wine names and producers, mostly from Italy, but with good representation of wines from the major wine producing regions in the world.

Day 6

Dinner at Buccelletti in Val di ChioWe avoid Vinitaly during the weekend to avoid the greater than ever number of visitors. Instead we drive to Castiglion Fiorentino, where isters-in-law Lidia and Roberta, and their husbands, Bartolomeo and Cesare Buccelletti, set us up in a gorgeously restored and tastefully furnished with original antique furniture country home, and truly overwhelm us with an incredible dinner.

Day 7

Osteria del TeatroFirst Lidia and Roberta take us on a partial tour of the family's extensive property, including a historic village which they will restore to expand the agriturismo offering, part of the olive groves and vineyards. After visiting Castiglion Fiorentino we end the day in historic Cortona, with another incredible dinner at the Osteria del Teatro. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything Lidia, Roberta, Bartolomeo and Cesare.

Day 8 (40th Vinitaly)

Loris Scagliarini, Maurizio Favrel, Jonathan DalrympleWe get up at the crack of dawn and hit the highway smack dab in the middle of the Monday morning commute. When we finally reach Verona and rush back into the fray of the Vinitaly closing and meet with our excellent Italian marketing manager, Christian Lepori, I feel like I already have a full day work behind me.

Day 9

Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Amabile BarboliniWith the Vinitaly over, we have the chance to catch up on lost sleep. In the afternoon however, we get going again visiting the Barbolini winery, one of the best producers of Lambrusco in the Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC zone. As it is often the case, the estate is a family affair run with love and passion by different generations of family members.

Day 10

Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Amabile BarboliniMore business meetings with managers of the Modena chamber of commerce, followed by a visit to the headquarters of La Tradizione cooperative which produces the ABTM, or the traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena, guided by Daniele Malagoli. I close the day with an evening out with my old local buddies while Brigit has a light dinner with my mom, which includes the typical dipping of slices of the Modenese bensone pastry in sweet Lambrusco wine as dessert.

Day 11

SardiniaWhen we get up at 5AM to go to the Bologna airport, from where we fly to Sardinia, my head is pounding from the mix of Prosecco, Pignoletto, Bosco Eliceo, Lambrusco and Barbera wines that washed down the homemade salami, cheeses and paella dinner the night before. The island is so balmy and the weather so excellent that, though very tired, our bodies start to relax and look forward to the next few days, which will be much more relaxed than the previous week and a half.

Day 12

Marino Dessole e Loris ScagliariniWe go to the small town of Sorso, near Sassari, and visited April's Company of the Month, the Cantina Cooperativa Romangia di Sorso e Sennori, where we meet the president, signor Marino Dessole, and taste the new Cannonau and Moscato di Sorso Sennori from the barrel, as well as a new product, Cannonau Riserva, which will be released next year, after extra ageing.

Italian Sideways 2006 – Day 13

Wine MuseumA day almost totally dedicated to relaxing and tourism! We sunbathe on the beach, have a picnic overlooking a cool bay, check out a couple of nuraghi, the prehistoric truncated conic towers left by a mysterious civilization all over the island, and visit the interesting Wine Museum in Berchidda.

Day 14

Dinner at homeAnother relaxing day with a picnic among the sand dunes overlooking the empty beach called La Caletta (The Small Bay), followed by a visit to Orosei. Here, after taking a picture of a tranquil church, we end up drinking a glass of homemade Cannonau wine with three members of a local fraternal order, who offer Brigit two blessed roses taken from the main altar.

Day 15

MuralWe end the day at the Ristorante Lu Impostu, facing a beach by the same name, where we feast on hors d'oeuvre of tiny octopi in sauce, followed by mixed green salad, mixed seafood grill and sea bass simmered in Vernaccia wine, washing down everything with a bottle of solid Depperu's Ruinas Vermentino di Gallura DOCG.

Day 16

Porticos of Castelfranco EmiliaOur friends Gastone and Rita pick us up at the Bologna airport and feed us what Rita has defined "a light repast" at their place. As expected, it turns out to be an abundant, delicious dinner paired with a lightly sparkling homemade Moscato which we pour from a bottle without label, as is often the case when eating at home in Italy.

Day 17

Family dinnerThe evening has long since been set apart for a family get-together dinner at my sister and brother-in-law's home. My extended family is almost all present, including, in addition to the hosts, my mom, my brother and sister-in-law, two of my sister's three sons with wives and kids (one each), and my brother's son with wife and kid.

Day 18

Tasting LambruscoaSince it is our last day, in addition to preparing topolini (little mice) as hors d'oeuvres, my mom convinces Brigit to to close the meal by indulging in another extra treat, typical of the Modena area, which in the past used to be the peasant dessert: typical bensone cake dipped in sweet Lambrusco amabile (semisweet) wine.

Day 19

Billo the CatAt San Francisco airport, Customs does not let the red Ostiglia or the whole grain rice pass. Entrepreneur Luca Valentini drove for over three hours, from Turin to Castelfranco Emilia the day before to bring the rice to us. Customs, however, has no problem with the white Roma rice.

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Italian Native Vines

Vitiviniculture in the Latium region has roots in truly ancient times, dating as far back as to the Etruscans, who were known to have grown vines in what's currently the Viterbo province. During the Roman times though, Rome became the imperial capital and vine growing was further developed and spread throughout the whole region.


Vine and olive groves found their ideal environment in the volcanic soil of the Castelli Romani (Roman Castles) area, where their cultivation was mentioned in works by the poets, Tibullo, Orazio and Catullo, as well as in more scientific writings of the time, such as the Naturalis Historia (Natural History) by Plinio the Elder.
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Company of the Month

The Company of the Month for May 2006 is the Azienda Vitivinicola Poderi Rosso Giovanni, a Piedmontese grape producer and winery located in Agliano Terme, in the province of Asti, one of the best zones for the cultivation of vines, in particular for the production of high quality Barbera d'Asti.

Barbera D'Asti Superiore "Vigna del Carlinet"

This family-run estate is currently under the direction of Lionello Rosso, whose committment to producing high quality wine is so strong that in 2002 he decided not to bottle his wines, as they did not meet his own self-imposed quality standards.

Azienda Vitivinicola Colledoro

Italian Flavor Consortium
Associate Producers

Italian Flavor Consortium


Vini Castellari Bergaglio
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