Above: three restaurant professionals who attended the Slow Wine Guide 2016 tasting yesterday in downtown Austin. It was the first time that the tour had come to Texas.
What a thrill for me to see so many Italian wine celebrities and so much great Italian wine yesterday at the Slow Wine Guide 2016 tasting in Austin!
The well-attended trade-only event was an overwhelming success for the organizers, participants, and tasters alike.
When I rolled in from Houston around 3 p.m., midway through the gathering, there were easily 200 persons in the room.
I was geeked to talk to Matilde Poggi, owner at Le Fraghe in Bardolino but also president of the Italian Federation of Independent Grape Growers (FIVI) and vice-president of the European Confederation of Independent Grape Growers (CEVI).
It was also great to catch up with my good friend and Franciacorta consortium vice-president Silvano Brescianini who was pouring Barone Pizzini.
Both of them were visiting Austin for the first time and for Matilde, I believe it was the first experience in Texas.
But the biggest thrill was getting a chance to taste with my friends Giancarlo Gariglio and Fabio Giavedoni, the editors of the Slow Wine Guide and two of the Italian wine writers whom I admire most.
I thank them from the bottom of my heart for braving the fast-food-lined roadways of America to bring this tasting to the Lone Star State. They had driven all the way from San Francisco with their band of editors and organizers. To hear them tell their tale of eating salad at a roadside Burger King, forced to stop there out of sheer hunger, was as hilarious as it was tragic.
Just a handful of my Italian counterparts managed to keep up with me as I led them at the end of the night to the Continental Club for a great set by the legendary Austin-based singer-songwriter and band leader Dale Watson.
As I was overcome by jet lag and finally had to say goodbye, I leaned into Giancarlo, who was clearly enjoying Dale’s grooving set, and I said: “when you get back to Italy, please tell them that this, too, is America.”
To Giancarlo and Fabio, the Slow Wine team, and all the winemakers who poured and spoke about their wines yesterday, thank you for coming to Texas. The Italian wine world is all the better for it.