IWINETC 2012 feedback draw winner announced!

IWINETC 2012 attracted over 300 industry professionals to Perugia, with a total number of 253 conference delegates, 26 Bloggers, 95 workshop participants of which 40 were Hosted Buyers, an increase of 10% on 2011 (pre-audited figures). The event delivered three days of powerful business opportunities, topical education sessions, invaluable networking opportunities and over 8,000 pre-scheduled appointments organised between Hosted Buyers and wine experience providers.

Comments and feedback are important for developing the future of IWINETC and ensuring the event continues to meet delegate’s needs. So we asked all participants for their comments on the event. All feedback  received by 15 February was entered into a draw for a free registration for IWINETC 2013. And the lucky winner is……… Marijan Močivnik

Marijan is based in Slovenia and is a photographer and journalist.  He attended the very first IWINETC back in 2009. Here are the answers to a few questions we posed:

1. Could you give us your overall feedback on all aspects of IWINETC 2012? 

In general I think that conference was vey well organised, no comments on place etc, it was good. As I already mentioned, very good was the decision that English was the only official language (not as it was in 2009 in Spain – English/Spanish). Of course it is impossible to participate/follow all programme (as there are up to 3 talks at the same time (as I remember – I did not check the programme now) and in some cases up to 2 were of the same interest for me). I work in graphic design studio and we have to deal very often with the presentation of different information and I think that the programme could be better presented if made (also) in the form of table … where it is possible in one view to see what is going on where, what is to be paid separately and so on.

2. You mentioned in your feedback on IWINETC 2012 that we should include smaller countries as venues for the event. Croatia will host the 2013 edition of the conference. How much do you know about Croatia as a grape escape destination?

I know Croatia quite well, its coastal part much better than other parts. Our Vino magazine and our design studio work also with and for Croatian clients (regions, winemakers, …) and we also follow them quite intense.

3. Based in Slovenia can you tell us a little about the wines and wine tourism in your country?

I can tell a lot :-). In general: beginnings in wine-making from Roman times. Today 3 wine-growing regions (Podravje (Štajerska Slovenija and Prekmurje), Posavje (Bela krajina, Dolenjska, Bizeljsko) and Primorska (Brda (on the Italian side of the border it is called Collio), Vipava valley, Slovenska Istra (Istra on the Croatian side of the border), Kras (Carso on the Italian side …). Mostly small winemakers and few bigger cellars (up to few millions bottles per year), total annual production 80 – 100 mio l of wine, quite high consumption of wine per capita (I have to check latest data), a lot of grape varieties (some well known – sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot gris, merlot …, some more or very local (šipon, zelen, rebula, malvazija, pinela …), some traditional particularities (Cviček – light reddish (but not rose) wine made from white AND red grapes …), beside modern technology also making of so called orange wines (traditional, white grapes, long skin contact – white wines made in the way of making reds …) …

4. You write for the Revija Vino magazine. Can you talk us through the kind of content we would find and who is your readership?

It is magazine for lovers of wine, culinary arts and other delights. Contents: news, reports, interviews, opinions, selections of best wines, wine and food matching – everything from Slovenia and also from abroad… our own events for our readers, blogs on our web site … Magazine is well designed, with good photography and good contents. Definite opinion leader in the field of wine and culinary in Slovenia. Some abstracts also published in English. Readers? Demanding, mostly high educated … good paid people.

5. Finally, in which countries do you think we should consider holding the 2014 conference?


IWINETC once again upheld its reputation for delivering world-class professional education with more than 40 sessions and over 250 delegates attending the seminars. We look forward to seeing you at IWINETC 2013 from 15-17 March. Early bird registration is now open!

Photo Sparkling wine by Mary Cressler, Vindulge

All aboard the Orient Express to Zagreb’s Regent Esplanade for IWINETC 2013

5* Regent Esplanade Zagreb was built in 1925 to provide luxury accommodation for passengers of the famous Orient Express. During the sixties the hotel was the home and playground for world famous celebrities including Yul Brunner, Jack Pallance, Rosana Podesta, Belinda Lee, Anita Ekberg and Orson Wells.

Diplomats and world statesman have also wined and dined in the Esplanade. Nikita Hruschtchow, Leonid Breshnev, President Nixon, Fanfani, Edmund Kohl, and Queen Elisabeth.

Agatha Christy wasn’t the only novelist to include the hotel in a book. Elena Tessadri, a well known Italian novelist chose the Esplanade as the setting for one of her novels. Anyone know which one?

Today, the Regent continues to follow its glorious tradition by caring for the high standards of service. With the increase of tourism to Zagreb and indeed the whole of Croatia, the Regent Esplanade Zagreb makes for an ideal venue for the 5th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference and Workshop. We look forward to welcoming you to a hotel that has been termed “the Temple of comfort and Gastronomy” from 15 – 17 March 2013.

Don’t miss the opening plenary session on Friday 15th March in the spectacular Emerald Ballroom. Early bird registration now open.

Winter Wonderland – Campania, Italy

Villa Matilde

Giorgio greeted us, umbrella in hand, a smile from ear to ear. “Welcome to Villa Matilde!” Rain wasn’t dampening anyone’s spirits on this soggy Saturday. We tasted Fiano and Aglianico, savored delicious bite-sized appetizers, feasted on cici and pasta soup with fresh bread and olive oil while the crackling fire warmed us. What a fine way to spend a Saturday. Well, that was the plan anyway.

I write this from Benevento, where it has been snowing since yesterday. I’m hearing reports that this is the biggest snowstorm in 54 years. “At least it won’t snow in Naples,” we were told. Ah, I just checked the forecast and it is indeed snowing in Naples. Our visit to Villa Matilde was scheduled for today, but the snow threw a monkey wrench into all our plans. The three wineries we were supposed to visit? We’ll save those for another day. I will give my highest compliments to Daniela Mastroberardino, president of Moviemiento Tourismo e Vino Campania and owner of Terradoro Winery for her ability to adjust plans on the turn of a dime. Villa Matilde accommodated us on next to no notice a day early. The experience I described earlier indeed happened and the Villa Matilde staff could not have been more attentive and gracious.

CampaniaCampania. We’re in the land of Falanghina, Fiano, Greco and Aglianico. After our lunch a lucky few joined Giorgio for a tank tasting of Greco, Fiano and Aglianco Rosé. We bade our farewells and boarded the bus again bound for Benevento. Did I mention it was snowing in Benevento, our next destination. Weary travelers, we arrived via treacherous roads and befuddled drivers at the beautiful Hotel il Molino. Chef Angelo D’Amico prepared a marvelous dinner for us. Lucky for us, due to the unrelenting snow, we had the opportunity to spend some one on one time with him the following morning.

Angelo D'Amico

We awoke to find it still snowing. Daniela scrambled and after a brief presentation on Campania, we followed Chef Angelo into the kitchen for a hands on cooking demo. He led us through the preparation of two dishes: one a potato and pasta soup, the other a dish laden with Campanian vegetables. You’ll find a video of us in the kitchen and the recipes, loosely translated from Italian. The recipes seem complex, but trust me, he had both these dishes finished in less than ten minutes and they were scrumptious. Fresh and local makes such a difference.

Cantine Grotto Del SoleEarly afternoon the sun broke through the glooms and began to melt the snow. We climbed aboard the bus and headed towards naples with one stop left: Cantine Grotta Del Sole. We met below the winery near the lakeside vineyards and visited with Gilda Martusciello, whose family has owned the winery for four generations. Their vineyards are planted in four areas: Phlegraen, the Sorento Peninsula, Irpina and Vesuvius and they grow and produce Falanghina, Piedirosso, Gragnano, Greco, Aglianico and other varietals. We sat with Gilda and members of her family while we watched pictures and heard the story of their winery while tasting four of their wines.

Cantine Grotta del Sole

We said our goodbyes and boarded the bus one final time as we made our way to Naples. The International Wine Tourism Conference 2012 behind us, we look forward to IWINETC 2013 in Zagreb, Croatia.

Recipes: (more complicated sounding than they are to make)


ingredients for 4 people:

2 dark potatoes
oil of olive
1 spoon of chopped and browned onion
30 g of black pig
320 g of mixed pasta
vegetable soup
cetara anchovy dripping
1 fillet of anchovy
Laticauda pecorino cheese

How to prepare the base:

In a large saucepan heat oil with onion, mashed garlic, pig and tomatoes.

Let them cook for about 3 minutes at high fire. Add chopped potatoes and let them brown for a few minutes. Add vegetable soup and let it dry.

Do it as many times as potatoes need to rupture.

Add other spoons of soup and let the pasta cook in it for 7/8 minutes stirring continuously.

Prepare dishes adding a handful of grated pecorino cheese.

Hotel il MolinoVegetable dish:




Tom Plant, http://wineormous.com

Tasting at Mustilli Winery during IWINETC 2012

Three lovely wines showing great typicality made even more interesting by using local grape varieties. Tasting notes taken at the time from four bloggers…

Mustilli Spumante: “a lemon and mandarin thing going on here… a mineral apple thing” –  Julie Pegg

Mustilli Falangina Sant Agata Dei Goti 2010 : “a decent nose -a little touch of honey… a little peel… citrus” – Bill Eyer
“Very fresh, citrus, and floral tasting. Would taste great with seafood” – Mary Cressler
“There’s a definite aroma of perfumed talc… old lady’s perfumed talc” – David Lowe 

Mustilli Cesco di Nece Aglianico 2007 : “really impressed with the nose, fruit forward, rich, jammy fruit lots of raspberries. Very approachable. Medium to full bodied, a little dryness on the after taste. Tannins as expected. Really nice.” – Melba Allen

The tasting was preceded by an exploratory wander through the estates ancient cellar – mold covered walls, racked vintages snuggly aging, and oak barrels maturing the latest vintages.

Photographs and text by Andrew Barrow

Vesuvius, Romeo, Napoli, Pizza, Campania & Wine Pleasures

“Our lives, our mood and mind as we pass across the earth turn as the days turn” ~ Homer, taking just this snippet from Odysseus’s own Odyssey; it reminds a bit about the eight day Italian Odyssey that I and a great group of other wine writers [bloggers] had embarked upon just a few days ago. Homer’s words in my view not only foretell the future; but also recount the past and, perhaps, explain the lessons it has taught us all about walking in another’s shoes, experiencing their travels and travails and coming back to our own homes better from the experience.

Romeo Hotel iwinetc 2012Speaking for myself, I learned so much more about a destination I truly love to visit, despite the “bumps” in the road that made the trip all the more memorable. After completing a trip like and experience all the different wine and food regions, as I have the pieces of the puzzle are all coming together nicely and I really like what I see so far, I hope to return again soon.

Piano Di Monte Vergine Dei Feudi Di San Gregorio 2011 iwinetc 2012The very last of day of our collective journey found us in Napoli or Naples as it is known by many folks in the U.S. Our fearless bus-driver, of Wine Bus fame, delivered us all in fine shape from the freak snow storm which delayed our arrival to the beautiful Romeo Hotel. A great place to recharge the travel-batteries, it sits just across the street from the harbor, with grand views of Vesuvius and makes a great jumping off place for other tourist and travel destination like Pompeii [a must see]. The only thing I would recommend that they change is the form over function of the shower and “lukewarm” at best water are definitely not my cup of tea.

Napoli Pizza iwinetc 2012Just moments after check-in, our group was invited to an Aglianico Taurasi Tasting, where we encountered four different wines of widely divergent vintages. There was a 1999 Radici Taurasi Aglianico, which I thought was just about over the hill, but still had nice fruit and very mellow tannins. There was a 2001 Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine, a wine that left me breathless, wow a real stunner. Of course attempting to procure a bottle [by any means] before returning home, left me empty handed [sigh]. Nearly none of the group had a good experience with the Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine Feudi di San Gregorio 2004, it was a bit too tannic, chalky, with too much campfire nuances. Finally, there was the 2006 [black label] Taurasi, which was quite good, loads of ripe fruit, leather and smoke, but pulled up a bit short on the finish. Overall, it was a great introduction into the Taurasi Aglianico, all wonderfully powerful wines from one of Italy’s premier grapes, along side Sangiovese Grosso, Nebbiolo and Sagrantino. Finally it was time to head over to La Citta del Gusto in Napoli [Gambero Rosso] for our Blogger Fam-Trip farewell dinner. Where of course there was more wonderful wines for us to experience, that we had missed the opportunity earlier, because of weather related conditions. Gambero Rosso’s easily found in Napoli and is a must stop for you dinner or lunch plans. Città Del Gusto is considers itself a Tavern at lunch and easily makes the transition to well stocked Wine Bar in the evening, they also boast an authentic wood-fired Pizzeria, Cafè that prepares some of the best Nepalese style pizza in town. Last but not least, if you like to get your chef-hat on, they have brilliant, fully equipped home cooking schools, which can include wine pairing recommendations. From my experience; Città Del Gusto provides the right environment to bring together great food, tasty wines and the budding enthusiasts for some of the gastronomic experiences you will find in Napoli. Our evening included a wonderful selection of authentic Campania style foods, wines and desserts, which bowled us all over at the end of the night. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but nonetheless most of us were ready to head back to our different destinations, so that we could get our stories about our wonderful experiences out on the web for the rest of the world to see and hopefully inspire them to make a similar trek. Until next time folks, sip long and prosper cheers!

Bill Eyer, San Diego, Ca Cuvée Corner Wine Blog

Terre Margaritelli Winery – Umbrian Hospitality

“We are small. We are new. We want to produce our own wines with our own personality.  As a new producer it is important for us to have people listen to our story.”  –
Federico Bibi, Sales and Marketing Director of Terre Margaritelli Winery

In a region where so many producers have been around for generations how do you begin fresh and stand out?  Intimidating for anyone to consider in any industry and something that Federico Bibi and Jennifer McIlvaine of Terre Margaritelli Winery are attempting.  Located in Umbria between Perugia and Assisi in the wine region of Torgiano, this winery spans 52 hectares of vineyard and produces over 50,000 bottles of wine annually.  Though I visited the winery during the evening when it was already dark I can imagine classic Umbrian hillsides with views if Assisi in the distance.

Margaritelli iwinetc 2012We visited the winery on February 1st during the International Wine Tourism Conference and Workshop to find out what makes them different from their older neighbors.  What they may lack in generations they make up for in creativity, passion for the business, and the wine in the glass.

Margaritelli iwinetc 2012Though they have been around since the 1950’s, Terre Margaritelli is considered a newer member of the wine community with a winemaker who has been there only six years.  Back in the 1950’s, Federico explains, “There was just ‘red’ grapes and ‘white’ grapes, but nobody knew exactly which grapes they were”.  It was twelve years ago they decided to replant everything so they had full control and knowledge of the grape varieties planted. They also decided to become certified organic, a process not easy to obtain. “It is hard to be organic in a big property,” stresses Federico, “but for us there is no other way. It is our philosophy.”

This philosophy is not only displayed in their vineyard practices but also their hospitality. During our visit we were treated to hands-on cooking lessons making traditional gnocci; something many of us genuinely enjoyed and learned from.  As we sat down to eat our creation we noticed biodegradable plates and utensils, a small but telling detail that fits the precise and compelling way Federico expresses his passion around the philosophy of the winery.

Margaritelli iwinetc 2012Their hospitality seemed as organic (no pun intended) and natural as their winemaking principles.  After finally sitting down for dinner and learning about the wines, we became witness to Federico as not just a businessman, but also a loving husband and new father.  His passion shows both in the work he does for Terre Margaritelli and relationship with his wife and chef Jennifer McIlvaine of Life Italian Style.  You can sense their camaraderie and love for each other simply by the way they interact and laugh together.  It may sound a bit romantic, but they made us feel like part of their family during our dinner sharing wine, great food, laughter, warmth and stories. This hospitality, good food and wine created a very memorable experience for fellow bloggers and myself. Something I hope many other travelers, both wine and food lovers, can have the opportunity to experience.

…  For more on Terre Margaritelli Winery, the specific wines we drank, and the recipe for Jennifer’s delicious gnocci please stay tuned to my blog, Vindulge,  in the weeks to come.  I am going to attempt to make Jennifer’s gnocci for my own family upon my return home next weekend. Let’s see if I pass the test!

Mary Cressler, Vindulge http://www.vindulgeblog.com/

Terre del Principe uncovered by the Minority Wine Report

When Manuela Piancastelli first took a group of bloggers through the Terre del Principe in Campania she called it a “newer” winery. “It’s only 500 years old,” she said as she opened the floor and led us down the dark stairs to a cellar her and her husband – the dreamer – Peppe Mancini stumbled upon when looking for the perfect place to age their wine.

This dark place dates back 10 centuries.  Do the math: That’s 1,000 years.

Wine bottles with plastic wrap on labels iwinetc 2012There were a scant 86 barrels in the cellar, dutifully labeled, and some 300 bottles with labels wrapped in plastic to save them from the humidity, which reached 80%. You would think the place would reek of mold, but the smell really wasn’t a nose buster. And the artifacts of aged-old wine de-stemmers, spooky corners and scales of steps led to great picture taking.

Terre del Principe makes seven distinctive wines, mostly from only three indigenous grapes specific to the region: Pallagrello Bianco, Pallagrello Nero and Casavecchia. These were mostly new grapes to us and piqued our taste buds and interests.

Moreover, the taste sensation of pairing them with what has to be the best homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and melt-in-your-mouth pizzas this side of paradise no doubt added to the experience. And if there’s anything we’ve learned while traversing through Umbria is that wine is not just a beverage, but a way of living.

The winemaker is Luigi Moio, who Manuela calls “the brains” of their winemaking operation. Luigi, who is a professor of oenology at the University of Naples, unearthed these three grapes that have led to yet another source of wine in a country that has more than its fair share of fabulous vino.

The best of the bunch were the Ambrusco 2009, a 100% Pallagrello Nero that showed a rich ruby color with hints of dark fruit, black leather, cherry plum and just a touch of tobacco on the nose. It ended with a very fine acidity and tannin structure.

The Fontanavigna was a bright, clean refreshing take of 100% Pallagrello Bianco that paired remarkably well with that mouthwatering mozzarella and smooth-as-silk ricotta – made on the premises by a man whose name we never learned but whose face we will never forget.

Chef Marco Pepe iwinetc 2012The Il Sasso di Riccardo, a Passito di Casavechhia, wrapped up the tasting as a semi-sweet red wine that the guy with no head – look at the pictures, we never learned his name – makes cheese specifically to be paired with this wine. The wine starts sweet, but once touched with spicy and strong cheese, so strong that Manuela would not let us even near it till lunch was ending, takes on a new life and finishes dry.

On an aside, the pizza wasn’t what we Chicagoans consider “pizza” per se, but it might rank as one of the best slices of dough, tomato sauce and cheese that was ever put together. Luckily for us in the Windy City, the chef, Franco Pepe, will be opening a pizzeria with a partner in our town this year.

Now if we could only get that Ambrusco over here then too….

The Minority Wine Report, http://www.theminoritywinereport.com/


An evening with the passionate Goretti family

After listening to Micheal Wanbickler’s opening speech at the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference, I heard someone behind me say “ciao Melba, how are you?” The voice caught me completely by surprise as I whirled around to face the smiling animated face of Sara Goretti of Azienda Agricola Goretti Estate. I met Sara a couple of Years ago at VINITALY and was very much and pleasantly taken away by this out going, yet genuinely natural person. Her enthusiasm is very contagious when she talks about her family’s endeavors.

On the first day of the International Wine Tourism Conference during lunch, I got a chance to sit and talk to Sara about the wines her family makes and her role in the family business. Sara and her sister Gulia are the fourth generation of Gorettis to produce wines. They are passionate about the wines that they make and are very supportive of each other. Sara’s parents, Stefano and Constanza, Aunt Luisella, Uncle Gianluca, grandfather Gisberto and grandmother Marcella are also still very active by taking care of the more tedious day to day duties, while the younger generation promotes and spread the awareness of their work.

Sara explained to me that she is traveling a lot to the USA to promote her family wines. She said that because the 2003 DOCG red wine the Sangratino di Montefalco, as well as their super Umbria red 2003 DOC  L’Arringatore  (the wine getting its name after Aulo Metello, an ancient Italian orator)  were rated by Parker and Wine Spectator, it has become difficult for them to sell in the USA. Some Importers pass them by just because they think that the wines are widely distributed where this is not the case. So she travels to the US two to three times a year to promote not only these wines, but also the other of the range.

Goretti visit iwinetc 2012Later that evening our group was driven to the Goretti winery located a few minutes outside of Perugia for a visit and a dinner tasting. Because we were ushered off late from the Conference, night had already fallen and unhappily we didn’t get to see the vineyards nor the grounds. However, on our arrival, the first thing we did see was the large majestic centuries-old Tower looming out at the bus. The Tower is the emblem on their wine label and where the Goretti family receives their guests for tastings, dinner parties or receptions. But before going to the Tower for our tasting, we were taken over to the boutique where there are the 18 wine products the Goretti family produces. And like many of the Italian wineries, they also produce and sell their own olive oil and honey. Another range of product that Sara develops with her sister Gulia are soaps, spa and bath items. These skins and spa treatments products are all natural products designed around the theme of wine and well-being called the S&G line of ‘Winetherapy’.

Goretti visit iwinetc 2012Although Umbria has many varietals, the Goretti Estate grape of choice is the Sangratino making the Montefalco reds, while the Grechetto grape is us mostly for their whites. Other red varietals they used are the Sangiovese and Merlot to make the Fontanella Rosso Dell’Umbria a fruity yet simple red wine and a rosé with the same name. A part from their Signature white “Il Moggio” and DOC Colli Perugini DOC made 100% from the Grechetto varietal, there are others. They make a blend using the Trebbiano Toscano and Grechetto varietals giving the Fontanella white wine version of the reds. Then there is the Vin Santo, a full-bodied sweet wine; two grappa with one of them aged 18 months in Lavonia oak barrels and a 20 year old brandy.

Goretti visit iwinetc 2012So after attending Anthony’s lecture on letting the customer talk earlier, Sara tried to put into action what she learned by giving us short explanations about their Estate while being attentive to our questions. One question on the tip of everyone’s tongue was linked to four gasoline pumps situated just to the right of the door as you entered into the boutique. Nice and shiny, they were hard to miss and sparked everyone’s interests. Apparently this is a drive up service where the locals can bring their own containers to fill up at the pump. Because the Gorettis’ can’t guarantee that the wines will travel well under these conditions, they do not sell from the pumps for export, so don’t ask.

Melba Allen, http://thewine-profilers.blogspot.com

Photo of Sara Goretti by Andrew Barrow of http://www.spittoon.biz

Le Donne dell’ Umbria

“It is important to drink good wine each day” is a seemingly simple statement promoting quality over quantity, and is unsurprising coming from one ofItaly’s most notable produces. But with this, Teresa Lungarotti encapsulates her family’s ethos that has spread further than just their wine business. As well as striving for success in the vineyards and winery, the Lungarottis are pushing for a better environment, to promote art and culture, and to increase the profile ofUmbriaandItaly.

Now led by sisters Chiara and Teresa, with their mother Maria Grazia, Lungarotti aims “to bring value to the company, but also to the land and culture at the same time.” The patriarch, Giorgio, would have been proud. Teresa told us that he always encouraged them to “look to the future… to search for something more interesting for quality” and there appears to be no stopping these three formidable ladies.

Following her degree in literature and art history at the University of Rome in the 1950s, her mother Maria Grazia worked relentless on cultural projects which first produced the Wine Museum in Torgiano (in 1974) and then a second museum dedicated to the olive in 2000. Even in her 80s she is still the director of the charitable Lungarotti Foundation and has received recognition from the President of Italian Republic for her activities in culture.

So it is little surprise that her daughters are pioneers too. Following an oenology degree from theUniversityofPerugia, Teresa went to theUniversityofBordeauxwhere she was the only woman fromItalyon the course. Upon her return toItalyin 1979, she immediately started implementing new ideas – they were one of the first wineries inItalyto introduce cold fermentation. Teresa admits that this was not popular at the time: “Imagine a young woman having to say to an old man with great experience, ‘what you have done until now is wrong; do what I want.’… but after tasting the wine they understood.” Echoing her mother’s determination to bring change, Teresa holds many positions in cultural and business associations, and is the founder of the association “Le Donne del Vino” (the women of wine) which promotes female entrepreneurship in the wine industry.

Chiara Lungarotti iwinetc 2012Chiara Lungarotti is now the CEO of the Lungarotti Group which produces nearly three million bottles per year and has 120 staff. Despite the size of production, quality is never sacrificed. Teresa says, “Never be in a hurry… each kind of wine needs its own time… We do not sell wine when it is unbalanced, tough, rude; we give a consumer a wine when it is ready, not before”.

The company pushes technological and environmental boundaries too. In conjunction with the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, they recently started a ground-breaking biomass experiment which aims to produce energy from the waste material of the pruning process. Despite Teresa’s proud declaration that the project “saves money and we take care of the natural environment”, it is clear that the high cost of the project will take many years before they break even on the investment, and cost-saving is merely an added benefit of the project.

It’s heart-warming to see a large wine producer care for their product, care for the environment, and care for their staff and customers in equal measure. They are certainly “Umbrian pioneers” as Jane Hunt MW recently called them, but they are also pivotal to the future ofUmbria. The region would certainly be a lot less of a compelling tourist destination without them.

David Lowe visited the Lungarotti Winery as part of the International Wine Tourism Conference 2012. You can hear more of David’s thoughts on wine and technology at http://bigpinots.com and on Twitter @bigpinots. 

Photos by Andrew Barrow of http://www.spittoon.biz

Visiting Sagrantino Pioneers at Arnaldo Caprai

The blogging and traditional media contingent of the International Wine Tourism Conference 2012 had a chance to visit Arnaldo Caprai, a winery known for being pioneers in the revival of an indigenous grape, Sagrantino.  And it is here, in Montefalco where the dark, tannic grape Sagrantino reaches its greatest potential.

We were led by Marco, son of the founder Arnaldo, on a walk around the property. The family’s dedication to innovation was evident in the experimental vineyards, where vines varied in height, training system, rootstock, and density.  The aim was to continuously improve quality by discovering the best viticultural practices for the grapes and the land.

kitchen Caprai IWINETCAnd, lest we thought we could just sit back and drink wine, Arnaldo Caprai Chef Salvatore Denaro put us to work as soon as we left the vines.  With boisterous energy, he sliced thumb-sized pieces of dough and bade us to roll, roll, roll the pasta.  Although he spoke Italian, his message was clear: if we wanted to eat, we must work.  We laughed at our efforts, where some of our noodles were too fat and some too thin. In the end, the Umbricelli pasta was delicious.  It was served with Chef Salvatore’s hearty ragu, a tomato sauce with ground pork, and topped with tender pork ribs.

Pasta Caprai IWINETCThe selected Arnaldo Caprai wines served with lunch were good matches with the local cuisine. A starter of traditional antipasto, including wedges of Casciotta cheese, a delicious blend of sheep’s and cow’s milk, as well as locally produced prosciutto was tasty with the white wine, Grecante, a 100% Grechetto wine with high acid, lemon, minerality and a bitter almond finish.

Caprai wine at IWINETC 2012Moving on to reds, we first tried the Rosso di Montefalco, blended from Sangiovese, Sangrantino, and Merlot. It was medium-bodied and had a nice cherry character from its predominance of Sangiovese. Moving on to Sagrantinos, we first tried a Collepiano 2007, a dense wine with rich black fruit, and then on to the 25 Anni, which was first produced in 1993 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the winery. This was a big wine with tons of character and structure that will age very well. In fact the aging potential of Sagrantino is decades.  At a tasting in New York, I had been to a vertical tasting of Arnaldo Caprai wines going back to 1990s: these beauties, so brash in their youth, develop very interesting and complex character in their age, like many people I know.

Diane Letulle, Wine Lover’s Journal