From the department of “public service announcements”…
How’s this for a premise? [hipster Sicilian Natural wine producer] Arianna Occhipinti (above) and [legendary winemaker, master blender, and race car driver] Giorgio Grai walk into a winebar in Siena… The two winemakers represent the antipodes of Italian winemaking in nearly every way (including geographically!). And they are two of the nicest and most intelligent people in Italian wine today.
I probably won’t be getting up at 3 a.m. (10 a.m. Italian time) on March 16 to watch the streaming of a conversation between Arianna, Giorgio, the original Italian celebrity chef Gualtiero Marchesi, Giuseppe Vajra (one of our favorite winemakers), and a few other Italian food and wine luminaries. But I’m hoping that someone will have the good sense to post a YouTube somewhere. The icing on the cake: one of my favorite Italian food bloggers, Stefano Caffarri, curator of Appunti di Gola, will be moderating.
My good friend Francesco Bonfio, president of Vinarius (the association of Italian wine shops) is the organizer.
In other news…
One of the winemakers I admire the most (for the superb wines he makes and for his honesty and soulfulness), Angiolino Maule has announced the dates of the VinNatur conference and tasting at the Villa Favorita, March 24-26.
Of all the Natural and biodynamic wine fairs in Italy, VinNatur is perhaps the one that thrills me the most and its selection process is the most rigorous. Not only are producers required to practice chemical-free farming, but they are also required to submit soil samples to ascertain whether or not “residual” chemicals are present in their vineyards (resulting from runoff from their neighbors’s vineyards).
In past years, my very close friend and jazz guitar virtuoso Ruggero Robin has performed at the event (he and Angiolino — an accomplished musician in his previous life — are good friends, as well). I don’t know yet if Ruggero will be there but I hope so!