Vinitaly returns to Verona
Vinitaly is the Italian national wine fair, usually a behemoth with 50,000 visitors a day, held in Verona. After two years when Covid prevented the fair from taking place, April 2022 saw its return. Mercifully, it seemed rather smaller in terms of visitors. For example, while the trade does not have to pay to get a ticket, private tickets had risen from perhaps €40 to €100. As a result, it was altogether a better, more professional experience, though nothing can prevent huge traffic jams from building up when the fair closes at 6 pm. There were some lessons to re-learn.
1. Never even contemplate any form of transport from station or town to the fair other than two feet or two wheels. If you know the local bus routes you can use them (Janet is an expert on the no.s 73 and 24), but if there is a traffic jam … there is a traffic jam.
2. Have a plan with appointments and stick to it. It is so easy to get distracted by the hundreds, no, thousands, of producersj you can quickly lose focus.
3. If you have a clear plan, only accept invitations to really special tastings, like Gabriele Gorelli’s historical Super Tuscans tasting, a highlight, thank you!
4. Don’t fret too much about all the amazing regions you haven’t got time to visit. There’s always something to look forward to. Finally, enjoy the spring sunshine!
Padiglione 10: Piemonte
The major regions all have a huge hall dedicated to them. Of course, producers can choose to be in other places, especially if they belong to an association such as FIVI (independent winegrowers) or can afford their own stands. But for most, the home pavilion is the obvious place to be. And this certainly makes it easier to find producers if you have one region in mind. So, Janet and I spent most of three days in Padiglione 10, conveniently near to the Re Teodorico entrance, the one closest to the no. 73 bus stop. (The bus is fine if you arrive 45–60 minutes early.)
I had made appointments for most mornings, on the hour. After that, we filled in with other producers who were on my hit list. I was really keen to make a good start on Alto Piemonte, to which I will be returning in two weeks’ time. In no particular order, I talked to and tasted the wines of:
Fara DOC: Castaldi Francesca
Ghemme DOCG: Mirù, Ioppa, Platinetti
Bramaterra DOC: Le Pianelle
Colline Novaresi DOC: Gilberto Boniperti
Boca DOC: Le Piane
Gattinara: DOCG: Travaglini
The next priority was a number of wineries in Monferrato from which I needed more information, after my visit last October and November. These included Cascina Castlet (great conversation with its winemaker), Borgo Maragliano (outstanding traditional method sparklers) and Marco Bonfante (for his remarkable Amarone-style Albarossa). I also increased my depth of knowledge of Albugnano DOC the small, Nebbiolo denomination close to Turin. with the wines of Alle tre colline, Roggero, Roggero, Pianferito and Oltre 500.
You can never have too much Barolo and Barbaresco! First Barolo DOCG: Rocche dei Manzoni, Chiara Boschis, Giovanni Sordo, Livia Fontana. And in the preceding weeks I had tasted and talked to new and old in Barbaresco DOCG: Roagna, Fletcher Wine, Punset, Poderi Colla, Marchesi di Gresy and Fontanabianca.
Making the most of being in Peschiera del Garda
Verona to Peschiera del Garda is just 20 minutes on the train. The advantages are that hotels are not quite so exorbitant, you can catch glimpses of the great lake and, of course, it has excellent restaurants. We particularly enjoyed the simple trattoria, Al Ponte, and the rather grander fish restaurants, La Locanda da Maria (bookable on The Fork app) and the innovative InChiostro.
The grandeur of Lake Garda never fades and we were lucky with mainly bright, sunny weather and no crowds. All this made for a memorable Vinitaly 2022.