At the end, VinItaly 2016 offered a sparkling finale
VERONA, Italy – Days three and four at VinItaly are a contrast in energy and attitude. On day three winemakers still eagerly eye the passing throng, hopeful the next person at their stand is that much-awaited importer or buyer with deep pockets, ready to offer the ultimate deal. By day four, however, the pace has caught up with the reality, the mood is subdued and thoughts are trending to home, not of VinItaly.
Many of the winemakers and winery representatives have been running at full speed for nearly a week, with long days negotiating with buyers from around the world and often long nights entertaining (or being entertained by) those same buyers.
When you approach a booth in search of a sample or two, the edge of fatigue shows, the people ready to grab their bags and go.
“Yes, it’s been a long week,” said the woman standing behind a clear, ice-filled bucket, Franciacorta bottles splaying out like foil-capped roses. “Because you know we’ve been here before VinItaly and then it was constant pouring, pouring, pouring from open to close.
“It will be good to be home.”
But VinItaly, even with its hair in curlers, still is a marvelous place to find new wines and be surprised by old favorites.
“C’mon, you must try this,” said a friend as he dragged me into the Veneto pavilion, where Antonella Bronca poured us some of her Ser Bele, a red Bordeaux blend (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), the top of the short line of reds made by Sorelle Bronca winery in tiny Colbertaldo at the base of the Prosecco hills.
That Sorelle Bronca makes any still wines (two reds and one white) is notable because the winery is in the limited Prosecco DOCG, where vineyards are prized for producing Glera grapes for the sparkling wine Prosecco.
Of course, Sorelle Bronca, named after the two Bronca sisters, Atonella and Ersiliana, makes delightful Prosecci, particularly their Particela 68, named after a small vineyard on a steep hill near their bed-and-breakfast.
All their wines are made in an organic method although the sisters stay low-key about it, the only hint (unless you ask) are the words “Organic Vision” on some of their advertising.
“We know what we do,” Antonella said. “You can taste our care and our passion in our wines.”
As VinItaly’s closing bell neared, we scurried into the second-floor Lombardia pavilion for some Franciacorta and then beat the 5 o’clock finale with a final swing through the Veneto for a last-minute sip of Prosecco DOCG.
Franciacorta is the sparkling wine from Lombardia that sometimes compares itself to Champagne and in recent years it’s become popular among young wine drinkers seeking something less expensive than trendy single-grower Champagne.
Italy’s best-known sparkling wine, Prosecco DOCG, studiously dodges any comparison with Franciacorta and Champagne by emphasizing its affordability, its range of styles and its everyday appeal.
In my mind, Prosecco DOCG is the perfect way to end VinItaly, and so we finally worked our way to the exit, passing a few diehards still looking for a final inspiration.
For the rest of us, however, we had found inspiration enough in this 50th anniversary of VinItaly and and now look forward to resting up for No. 51.