Judging southern Italian wines

This morning we began tasting and scoring wines in the competitive sessions of the Radici Wines festival. We have to blind taste more than 200 labels between today and Wednesday, when the winners will be announced. All of the wines are made from indigenous grape varieties from Southern Italy.

They’ve gathered a remarkable group of judges for the media jury — Italian and international (there’s also an Italian restaurant and wine professional jury). This morning I was seated next to Jancis Robinson (she’s “number 1” and I’m “number 2”; how cool is that???!!!). That’s Franco Ziliani center addressing the “jury” and our excellent interpreter, Marilena Balletta, who’s been doing a great job interpreting for the solely English speakers of our group (as a veteran interpreter at events like this, I can’t say that I envy her!).

It’s been great to rub shoulders with über-cool wine blogger Ryan Opaz (in the foreground, sitting to my right, “number 3”).

And I’ve also had a lot of fun horsing around with Jo Cooke, David Berry Green, and Kyle Philips. And I’ve also been enjoying sharing thoughts on Marxist ideology and Latin epithets with Maurzio Gily.

The Borgo Egnazia resort where we’re staying is pretty incredible but so far we haven’t had much time to enjoy it…

And as Alfonso can imagine, there’s no internet in the rooms…

But, honestly, life could be worse… :-)