When Gianpaolo Giacobbo, a wine writer with Slow Wine tells you: “good wine comes from beautiful places,” you know it’s going to be a great day! That’s how my Monday morning began. Six empty glasses sat in front of me, waiting to be filled with Asolo Prosecco DOCG wines. Bubbles for breakfast!
Travel in a glass, I always say, each time I swirl and sniff. My palate is my passport to Italy’s vineyards, and Italian wine experts like Gianpaolo are my tour guide. The Slow Wine Guide US Tour arrived in Miami on January 31st. All who attended were noticeably impressed with the stunning host location, the Rubell Museum.
Asolo Prosecco DOCG
Asolo Prosecco comes from the hills of the region surrounding the ancient little town of Asolo –an enchanting area that is rich in art and history. The area’s landmark, the medieval Rocca Fortress and the sun’s golden hue that kisses the facades of the town’s historic homes, inspired the Asolo Prosecco DOCG logo. Although established in 2009, the DOCG was officially known as Colli Asolani until 2014.
Through this guided tasting, we traveled to the Province of Treviso. We began at the foot of Monte Grappa and slowly glided over the hills to the west of the Piave River. The Dolomites and the Montello uplands shelter the vineyards.
“The fresh air from the north is balanced with the warm air of the flat lands,” explains Giacobbo.
My favorite wine was the Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Brut from Borgo Molino. I also found the 2020 Asolo Prosecco DOCG Brut Superiore by Tenuta Baron to be very interesting. I’d like to try it again and ponder.
For more information, visit https://asoloprosecco.com/
Consorzio di Tutela dei Vini d’Abruzzo
Next, we ‘flew’ to Abruzzo. Our first guide was Davide Acerra who is the Marketing Manager for the Consorzio di Tutela dei Vini d’Abruzzo. The consortium aims to protect, enhance, and take care of the interests relating to the controlled designations of origin, of the regional territory. If you are a wine savant, you will know the differences between IGT, DOC, and DOCG, etc. However, we won’t get into that today. Just know that maintaining the highest quality and standards are important in the Italian wine industry.
In Abruzzo, you can drive from the sea to the mountains in just forty minutes. The region is home to three national parks: Majella; Abruzzo; and Gran Sasso. The area’s diurnal shift helps grapes ripen in a more balanced way. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo the name of both the grape and wine, is the second most planted grape planted in Italy after Sangiovese. (Don’t confuse these wines with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany.)
Before the second ‘take off’, I sat and stared at a new set of six clean wine glasses. As I anticipated tasting some medium or full-bodied reds, I imagined munching on Abruzzi Pecorino cheese. I was sitting on a hill against a backdrop of mountains, patiently waiting for the Arrosticini (Abruzzese lamb skewers) to finish on the grill. Davide’s eyes lit up as he mentioned these perfect regional food pairings.
My favorites were Pasetti, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Tenutarossa 2017 and Illuminati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riparosso 2019. The six wines were 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Wines produced under the denomination are at least 85% of the grape variety.
Jonathan Gebser, an editor for Slow Wine guided the tasting. As he swirled the wine in his glass, Jonathan’s passion for wine could not be contained. His astute presentation was approachable. Plus, he would pause to get the attendees’ feedback.
To learn more, visit: https://www.vinidabruzzo.it/en/
What is the Slow Wine Guide?
The annual Slow Wine guide, published by Slow Food Editore, adopts a new approach to wine criticism: not only reviews and organoleptic descriptions but a real wine storytelling where the deep and direct knowledge of the wine companies is the one and only protagonist. The team visits all cellars and take into consideration the wine quality; adherence to terroir; value for money; and give greater weight and importance to the estates’ production methods.Through the guide and international tour, they support and promote small-scale Italian winemakers who are using traditional techniques, working with respect for the environment, and safeguarding the incredible biodiversity of grape varieties that are part of Italy’s heritage.
The wine and wineries potentially receive a variety of designations based on the Slow Wine guidelines. The wineries that produce high quality and original wines (and respect the land and the environment) receive the ‘Snail.’ The ‘Slow Wine’ designation is awarded to wines that represent an expression of place, originality, and history.
To see the Slow Wine Guide List for the Miami presentation, visit this link.
Drinking Wine with Heart
While familiar with the Slow Food movement, today was my introduction to Slow Wine. I would have liked the presenters to have elaborated on the Slow Wine values as they related to the wineries and wines presented. However, maybe that talk can take place another day.
YouTube sensation and native Abruzzese Chef Vincenzo says, “All around the world people say ‘organic’ and things like that.” As he picks up some lemons still with their stems and leaves on, he exclaims, “This is fresh guys!”
Through industrialization and mass production, fast food, greed, and waste, the simple idea of ‘fresh’ has become an anomaly. It is these ‘slow’ movements that have brought us back to basics. We must preserve the lands that we love so that many more generations to come, can enjoy quality food and wine.
As the swirls in my glass slow down and so does the ‘tour’, I once again ponder about Live in Italy Magazine’s mission: travel authentically. And, when it comes to wine, learn what you love and drink with heart. Salute!