Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vinitaly 2010

My five days of work at Vinitaly have left me with a bit of nostalgia and a small hole in my heart missing the friends I made. I was excited to find out that I would be working in an area which I didn't know much about and with a person who is known not just for his great knowledge of wine but also for his big character. Fabrizio Marzi is not only director of the Travaglino vineyard, but also councilman for the Oltrepò Pavese wine region and co-author for one of the books I had to memorize in order to become a sommelier. Everyone warned me with a laugh that I would have good time with Marzi and learn a lot. That I did. I was placed at the Valle del Riesling stand along with three germans from St. Nikolaus- Hospital, who presented their wines and Christina Doria from Mezzaluna Cantina. The fact that I didnt even know that riesling grew in the Oltrepò or even in Lombardia was enough to make me nervous, but the nineteen different rieslings represented by fourteen different vineyards that I needed to know and memorize was even more scary. Slowly I started my tasting and wrote down key words that would help me remember each brand. My new friends over at Travaglino kept me fed with scrumptious bites of gorganzola from Cremona (grazie Paolo!) smoked salmon, salami of diverse types and of course red or sparkling wine when I'd had enough of the riesling. Gabriele Marchesi, president of the Valle del Riesling, was to my right representing his cantine, Marchesi di Montalto and also checking up on me to make sure I was doing everything correctly. I like to work and I love to learn, so having people like him and Marzi around to help give me answers to my questions was of great value. Many people would ask me about the riesling grape and the wine it creates but most of all the difference between Italian and German riesling. Even with the same semi-aromatic grape, the two types of wines are completely different and made, I think, for different types of people. The Italian version, like most Italian wines is made to be served with food. Whereas the German version is sweeter and fresher, obviously since the region it grows in (Mosel), much cooler than that of the Italian region. Both are good in their own respect and in some way I wish would have been presented separately but at the same time having people learn the differences that 'terrior' can make is really quite interesting. By the end of the fair, with sore feet and many mistakes later, I was able to discuss any of the brands easily and offer to any person their preferred taste. Prospects for the future were made and wine was drunk as bottles were given in thanks. I am left smiling knowing that the people I met I will come in contact with again in the future and I will for sure be drinking their wines. Most of all I have learned more that I thought I would and for that I thank all my new friends and colleges in the Oltrepò Pavese. Until next year.

I miei cinque giorni al Vinitaly 2010 son trascorsi con grande intensità e passione, infatti mi mancano già le persone conosciute che adesso posso chiamar amici . Ero felice quando ho saputo che la mia destinazione era una zona che conoscevo poco l'Oltrepo' Pavese e sapere anche di lavorare accanto a Fabrizio Marzi grande conoscitore del mondo del vino, direttore della cantina Travaglino, ma anche consigliere per l'Oltrepò Pavese, nonchè scrittore di alcuni libri basilari che ho dovuto studiare e memorizzare per diventare una sommelier.
Tutti mi hanno avvisato che avrei imparato tanto lavorando con Marzi. Infatti ciò è accaduto. Ero sulla zona della Valle dei Riesling, insieme con tre produttori tedeschi da St. Nikolaus- Hospital, che hanno presentato i loro vini e con Christina Doria della cantina Mezzaluna. Il fatto di conoscer poco il Riesling e poco dell' Oltrepò Pavese mi ha fatto innervosire, dover poi memorizzare i diciannove diversi Rieslings di quattordici diverse aziende vinicole ciò mi incuteva davvero paura. Pian piano ho cominciato a degustare e scrivere le parole chiave che mi aiutavano a ricordare ogni cantina. Mentre i miei nuovi amici di 'Travaglino' mi riempivano di cose gustose come il gorgonzola di Cremona (grazie Paolo!) salmone affumicato, salami e ovviamente vino, rosso o spumante; questo il Riesling aveva superato il mio personale 'livello di guardia'.
Gabriele Marchesi presidente del Valle del Riesling era sulla mia destra, a presentare la sua cantina Marchesi di Montalto e controllava anche se eseguivo bene il mio compito . A me piace molto lavorare e sopratutto imparare perciò avere attorno persone come lui e Marzi pronte a darmi risposte alle mie domande era importantissimo. Tanti clienti mi chiedevano le origini e il gusto del Riesling, ma sopratutto la differenza fra la versione italiana e quella tedesca.
Anche se questa uva semi-aromatica è la medesima per entrambi, il terrior e il microclima fa la differenza creando due tipologie molto diverse di vino. Credo anche che siano da abbinare a persone con caretteri e origini differenti. La versione italiana, come tanti vini italiani è fatta per essere bevuta assieme ad una pietanza, mentre il Riesling tedesco può anch'esso accompagnare un piatto, ma spesso essendo molto più dolce e aromatico è indicato anche ad essere apprezzato da 'solo'. Tutti e due le tipologie sono ottime e devono essere rispettate per le loro peculiarità. Alla fine dell' expo, con i piedi veramente stanchi e dopo aver fatto un paio di errori iniziali , avevo raggiunto il mio obiettivo cioè conoscere bene le peculiarità dei Riesling presentati ai clienti.
Ho lasciato il Vinitaly con stampato un grande sorriso sulla mia faccia sapendo di aver conosciuto persone molto competenti e avendo la possibilità di rimanere in contatto con loro.
Ho imparato tantissimo da questa esperienza.
Grazie mille amici e colleghi dell'Oltrepo' Pavese. Ci vediamo il prossimo anno!


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