Zero sulfur Sangiovese from the most unlikely place. Killer Trebbiano and Cerasuolo from Abruzzo. Vinitaly day 1 highlights.

Days at Vinitaly, the annual Italian wine trade fair in Verona, can be so packed with meetings, impromptu and planned, that you don’t get the opportunity to taste all the wines you had hoped.

My Vinitaly was a short one, just two days. And my first day was eaten up by an important seminar (more on that next week). But a few compelling wines made it into my glass nonetheless.

Stefano Cinelli Colombini, one of the most intellectual winemakers I know, has been a great friend and on-and-off client over the years. He’s a conventional winemaker through and through. But ever inspired by the young winemakers in his country and beyond, he continues to experiment with new and sometimes controversial techniques.

He was geeked to taste me on his new Senza Sulfiti, a zero-sulfur Sangiovese. It was the last category of wine you would expect to find at the stand of this pillar of Montalcino viticulture.

The wine was vibrant and varietally expressive in its aromas and flavors with the classic tasting profile of world-class Sangiovese (no surprise there). 100 percent delicious and extremely approachable. But the curious thing, as Stefano pointed out, was how bright the color was, the result of zero sulfur added, he noted, a surprise to him.

My pervagations also led me to the Abruzzo pavilion where Elena Nicodemi of the Nicodemi farm in Colline Teramane poured me her super Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

We often and erroneously think only of red wine, maybe even rosé wine, when we cast our gaze toward this undiscovered and undervalued region along the Adriatic coast, where ancient tectonic faults and other geological events have delivered ideal soil types for the production of long-lived, nuanced wines.

Elena’s wines are no exception to the many great whites growers are making in region.

Valentina Di Camillo of the Tenuta I Fauri has become a friend thanks to our shared interest in classical music. She is an accomplished and superbly talented concert pianist. She’s also an extraordinary winemaker.

Her Cerasuolo Baldovino is literally making me salivate as I write this!

There is so much great wine in Abruzzo for all of us to discover. The good news is that we are moving past the tired and crusty salespeople who have historically marketed Abruzzo as a producer of inexpensive red wine for by-the-glass programs in braindead restaurants.

So many great wines and so little time. My only regret is that I was only able to spend two days at the fair. Thanks for being here and stay tuned for more. Have a great weekend! It’s a long weekend in Italy because of the April 25 holiday, so enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s