We had a chance to speak for a few minutes before the panel and he was exceedingly forthright in his answers when asked about Montalcino, his association with Casanova di Neri, and what he considers his legacy and contribution to the history of Italian wine over the last few decades.
I don’t have time to post notes from our conversation today but will offer the following nugget.
When I asked how he feels about the fact that so many in Italy and beyond associate him with Merlot (many in the industry call him “Mr. Merlot,” using the English title mockingly), he said, quite frankly, “I don’t understand why people say that of me, when, in fact, it’s Cabernet [Sauvignon] that I like so much.”
I have to say that I admired his friendliness, style, and earnestness and I plan to visit with him this fall when Tracie P, Georgia P, and I head to Tuscany.
In other news…
It was a blast to connect with the newly formed consortium of Oslavia (Collio, Friuli) producers who visited Los Angeles for the conference and trade events (after stopping for two days in Vegas where they partied their asses off).
That’s Max Stefanelli of Terroni (kneeling, left) and his wife Francesca behind him with six of the seven producers from the village (can you guess the single producer who didn’t come? I’m buying a glass of wine tonight at Sotto for anyone who can!).
Here are the wines they poured for me and a handful of industry folks who attended a late night dinner and tasting at Terroni.
In other other news…
I connected yesterday with Lou (who needs no introduction here) and my new BFF Taylor Parsons, wine director at Osteria Mozza and Tuesday night I had dinner with Anthony and David at Mozza, where the conversation spanned an arc of Mel Brooks Hitler humor, the art of mixing (records), Anthony’s father’s incredible musical legacy (“he’s conducting better than ever at 93,” he said), burrata, anchovies, and Verdicchio.
So many great wine and so little time… So much more to tell but I have another slamming day and evening ahead of me here in Los Angeles.
If you happen to be in town, please come and see me at Sotto where I’ll be pouring wine on the floor from 6 until 9 or so…