Above: Tench pâté, pike crudo, and marinated sardines by my current favorite chef in Italy, Vittorio Fusari of Dispensa Pani e Vini (located in the heart of Franciacorta).
Let’s face it: Vinitaly — Italy’s annual wine trade fair in Verona — isn’t exactly known for the seamlessness with which it executes. Last year, the cellphone and wireless network were offline the entire duration of the fair (leading to utter chaos among fairgoers attempting to confirm appointments via text and email).
This year, a two-hour lunch event for Italian wine bloggers was delayed for an hour and fifteen minutes (supposedly because Daniele Cernili went overtime for his event in the same space). I was invited to the event and spent an hour chatting with my Italian blogger colleagues outside before I had to move on to my next appointment.
Above: Chef Fusari and Franciacorta consortium president and legendary bon vivant Maurizio Zanella.
But, man, when it comes to putting on a Vinitaly event, the folks from the Franciacorta Consortium sure know how to get it right.
Not only did the event “Franciacorta in Cucina: l’arte dell’abbinamento” (Franciacorta in the Kitchen: the art of pairing [food and Franciacorta]) start right on time, its entire execution was flawless, with superb food (by Vittorio Fusari), world-class waitstaff (from his restaurant), and an excellent speaker, Nicola Bonera, the consortium’s in-house sommelier (winner of Best Sommelier in Italy 2010).
Above: The menu included five courses and five wines. My stand out was the Arici rosé, made by my good friend Giovanni Arcari who had invited me to the event.
I get invited to SO many events like this and I reluctantly accept, knowing that they’ll probably start late, go over time, and bore the guests with a speaker who talks down to the crowd like preschoolers.
Nicola’s spiel was impressive and engaging and I was thrilled by the insights he shared regarding disgorgement and varietal composition of the wines. Did you know, for example, that Franciacorta producers must include disgorgement information on their labels? This new regulation went into place three years ago. (Does anyone remember a high profile U.S.-based Italian wine writer calling for more transparency in disgorgement info last year?)
The event was nearly seamless… except for the fact that I had to request a dump bucket, which appeared a few minutes after my petition.
I still haven’t posted my photos and notes from the two visits that Tracie P and I made to Fusari’s AMAZING restaurant in Erbusco (and I will soon).
In the meantime, the moral of the story: when invited to a Franciacorta Consortium event, ACCEPT the invitation!