Dispatch from the land of Barbera, Moscato, and Brachetto

Anyone who’s ever been on an Italian wine industry media junket knows that the experience can be a bit of a schlepp. You generally have to board a bus at 9 a.m. and stay out all day, often until after dinner, visiting wineries, tasting wines, attending lectures and seminars, and eating way too much food.

It’s often exhausting but the upshot can be rewarding. When well organized, the trips allow you to taste a lot of wines that you might miss otherwise. And what’s even better is that you get to taste them side-by-side, mostly in single sessions for each category.

Last week, I spent three days getting on that bus at 9 a.m. And I’ve now tasted more Moscato d’Asti and Brachetto d’Asti and from more producers than ever before. And even though I’d been on a Barbera d’Asti junket once before (eight years ago now), I also got to refresh my knowledge and tasting notes for Barbera d’Asti and the newly born Nizza appellation as well.

I haven’t been on a trip like this in a long time. But I was glad to be on this one: for the last year, I’ve been contributing to blogs sponsored by the Moscato d’Asti and Barbera d’Asti consortia.

One of the highlights was getting taste a lot of Moscato Secco. It’s one of the new designations from Moscato d’Asti and it’s coming to a town near you soon.

Brachetto Rosé, a dry wine, is another brand new designation I was eager to check out. And it was amazing, honestly, to taste 30 or so expressions of Brachetto side-by-side, including classic Brachetto, still Brachetto, and the new category.

Despite the long hours, the massive amounts of truffles we were forced to eat (see below), and the behemoth number of wines we were compelled to taste, it turned out to be a really fun experience. And that was especially because of the super cool people who were on the trip with me (above).

I’ve been working in this business for more than 10 years now. And I’m convinced, now more than ever, that it’s not the wines that make me keep coming back. It’s the people. It’s the community that makes it all worthwhile.

I have a ton of notes that I’ll share. And this week, I’m traveling through northern Italy tasting more wines and talking to producers in other appellations as well. In the meantime, please wish me speed and safety.

Heartfelt thanks to the Moscato d’Asti, Barbera d’Asti, and Brachetto d’Acqui producers for hosting me. I really learned a lot on this one. Thank you!

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