Event: Slow Wine Magazine‘s Annual Italian Wine Trade Show at the Highline Ballroom.
Spirikal’s bottom line: It never ceases to amaze me the amount of passion wine producers radiate when discussing their wines. For wine enthusiasts everywhere, this passion transcends language barriers between Italian merchants and the American visitors. Visitors get the chance to taste some delicious wines that aren’t yet available in the US.
This year’s trade show didn’t disappoint, and unlike last year, I-Gourmet offered guests tasty samplings of cheese, charcuterie and breads from Italy. Totally worth the rain.
Turn out was huge despite the rain. Only pre-registered guests were allowed in.
Review: It was my second time to visit this expo. After a quick check in at the front desk, I got my press pass and set off to taste some wines. The place was crowded, and I didn’t have much time because the expo would finish in a couple of hours.
Fill ‘er up!
In some ways, I think this year’s show at the Highline Ballroom was better than last year’s at the Waldorf Astoria in Midtown. First, there was no blizzard, but this year featured delicious Italian treats from I-Gourmet, which came as a blessing because I had little to eat before hand. My only gripe was the tight space of the venue. It was difficult to navigate and to be honest, I didn’t even make it to the wine tables on the top floor.
My new chum Brad from I-Gourmet serving up delicious Italian cheeses.
Armed with a wine glass and expo map, I chatted with the producers and distributors as well as many of the guests, many of whom were restauranteurs and wine merchants from the East Coast and Chicago.
Coated with pistachios and honey, it is the best cheese I have tasted in a long time.
Unsurprisingly, there were some casualities. Mainly beginners who mistakenly drank the wine. And when you mix red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, it will almost always spell disaster. One woman sat passed out while drooling a steady stream of saliva on her I-Phone. Ewww.
Happily, I played my cards right and didn’t fall into that trap. Proper schmoozing with the producers and merchants also got me three bottles of wine, a block of sheep’s milk cheese and breadsticks. Yummy.
Best dressed character slicing ham for the famished visitors.
This guy from I-Gourmet definitely wins the best dressed vendor of the entire exhibit. A cheerful man with curly Tom Baker’s hair, I swear I could watch him for hours.
Sorry, my scarf ain’t for sale, mate.
Enjoy the photos and be sure to check out the links I included on the wine merchants.
Delicious, fruity, and a great treat from Villa Venti.
My new friend Renata from the Cà ed Balos Estate showing off the signature Dolcetto d’Alba
I know very little about Piedmont reds, except that they’re delicious with a slight fruity note. The Dolcetto d’Alba from Cà ed Balos in Castiglione Tinella turned that upside down with this bold, robust little number.
Casale Della Ioria‘s Cesanese got my vote for the best sparkling wine. The first sip set my my mouth fizzing and burst of dry, deep flavor but a completely clean finish. It’s not Prosecco, but done in the champagne style. If this wine is available here, I’ll definitely acquire a bottle. Other wines included a couple deep red wines that left me a loss for words. Impressive, but challenging. Enjoyable but incomparable to anything I had tasted before.
Family owned and run, Zidarich’s red wine from Trieste had an unusual flavor from the grapes mascerated and fermented on their skins that made me really think. I loved the fact that it challenged me to go out of my usual comfort zone.
On the second table selection, I ran into the Tenuta Montemagno team. Some of the best red wines I have tasted in a long time. The Estate has also a luxurious inn that offers accomodation to visiting guests. Sounds like my kind of holiday.
Contratto sparkling wines
Sparkling wine in the Champagne classic method style from Contratto. I particularly liked the dryer, clean finish which according to Laura, the rep, was developed for the English taste-buds. Nice!
Although I like a decent prosecco every now and then, I’m afraid Zago’s sparkling did not quite meet the mark of the others at the expo. I found it a bit too sweet for my liking and lacking in fizz.
I especially like the white wines from Tenuta Terraviva. Slightly acidic with a light finish would make the perfect accompaniment for a summer picnic.
As the show dwindled down, it was time to go. I grabbed my samples, cards and umbrella and headed out into the rain. It was the best afternoon I spent in a long time learning about Italian wines. If you’re interested in joining these expos and/ or are in the industry, you must check out Slow Wine Magazine.