Report from Vinitaly by Italian Wine Guy

30-year veteran of the Italian wine industry Italian Wine Guy reports this year on Vinitaly.

Vinitaly 2011 will be remembered for many things. But the big story was the heat. Arguably the hottest Vinitaly on record with temperatures reaching 32º C.

There were some new hellos and one goodbye to this Vinitaly. As of next year, in 2012, Vinitaly will shorten to four days and start on a Sunday, something people have been asking for some time now. Unfortunately, the premier of the new format next year will be during the week before Easter and also will coincide with L’Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. That will make it impossible for agents and journalists who cover both events.

Etna wines were one of the big hits this year. The Nerello wines from the brooding mountain are being compared to Burgundies and Nebbiolos. And the prices reflect that sense of rarity. Sicilian wines are becoming seen in a new light.

Daniele Cernilli is trying to reinvent himself, à la James Suckling but without the aplomb that the American in Tuscany seems to have started off. Calling himself Doctor Wine (isn’t there already a Wine Doctor and a Doctor Vino?) it is a feeble attempt at trying to enter into the 21st century. Hint to Cernilli: If you are calling it a blog, you might want to open your comments section up.

Speaking of Suckling, his absence at the fair was not noticed, again. In that sense, why should he come down and taste with the masses? He doesn’t have to do that in Bordeaux? So there will be no “Vinitaly- I am here” video likely to issue from his website.

The real star of the show was the youth in full press at the booths. Young Italians seem to be embracing Italian wine and moving into sectors once held by middle aged men. I noted this because when I was one of the young ones, the older men who ran the business were a closed set. Now that I have been in the business for some time (my first Vinitaly was 1984) I am seeing the impatience of youth knocking on the establishment’s door. So there will be much turnover in the next 5-10 years.

Talk this year at the Lageder event in Alto-Adige, Summa, was how they were going to work around the new Vinitaly schedule. Likely the two natural wine events near Verona, Vin Nature and Vini Veri are studying the 2012 calendar too.

The 2010 vintage in Italy, as in France and Germany, is showing to be a very good vintage. Weather patterns laid out a wonderful march to ripeness. There should be very good wines coming from Piedmont and Tuscany.

So, Sicily, Piedmont, Tuscany, all seem to have their eyes on the 2010 prize. Hey, it seems to be working for Bordeaux.

Read Italian Wine Guy’s blog here.

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