Life changing whites

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Terlano sets the bar high in the Italian Dolomites

In Italy, “wine cooperative” can be a pejorative, synonymous with grape-buying collectives that produce oceans of basic wine destined for supermarkets.

Northeastern Italy’s Alto Adige is an exception, known for co-ops that produce wines as good as those from top independent winemakers. Here, on the edge of the Dolomites, just six miles northwest of the regional capital, Bolzano, Cantina Terlano produces some of Italy’s most prized—and most historic—white wines.

How good? Since it began exporting its wines in the mid-1990s, this cooperative has released 73 wines that scored 90 points or higher in Wine Spectator's blind tastings. Something special seems to happen to white grapes—particularly Pinot Bianco—grown in the quartz-rich volcanic soils (known as red porphyry) at up to 3,000 feet in the hills above sleepy Terlano (pop. 4,200).

“It’s a different culture here,” says enologist Klaus Gasser, 48, who has been the winery’s public face for 20 years. He is maneuvering a four-wheel-drive up steep, narrow roads flanked by terraced vineyards and tidy, white stucco Tyrolean farmhouses. “It’s a little bit more organized. It’s the German spirit of taking care of the land.”

Indeed, the Alto Adige, or South Tyrol, was annexed by Italy from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918....read the full blog at winespectator.com

 

Amarone Family Soap Opera

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The battle over who controls an elite wine name

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare’s tragic-romantic heroine Juliet lamented, mournfully questioning the Verona family feuds that kept her from her Romeo.

Now, centuries later, the families of Verona are embroiled in another drama over a name: Amarone della Valpolicella.

The conflict began in 2009, when 12 longtime Amarone producers, led by Masi patriarch Sandro Boscaini, banded together to create a new elite confederation called Amarone Families (Famiglie Dell’Amarone d’Arte).

The Amarone Families—Allegrini, Begali, Brigaldara, Guerrieri Rizzardi, Masi, Musella, Speri, Tedeschi, Tenuta Sant’Antonio, Tommasi, Venturini and Zenato—signed a manifesto calling for voluntary higher production standards and creating a hologram sticker to identify their wines.

Wine and Punishment

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Prisoners in the big house serve top Italian wines and fine food!

Massimo Sestito knows how to put together a compelling Italian wine lineup.

As maitre d’ of one of Milan’s newest and trendiest restaurants, InGalera, he has carefully curated an 80-label list that is sprinkled with 90-plus-point gems and spans from Sicily and Calabria up to Barolo and Friuli and most everywhere in between.

Branding Vino

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How a hard-charging New Yorker helps drive Italian wine

When Stevie Kim dines out on her home turf in Italy, she shuns wine lists. She prefers to let restaurant owners surprise her.

 "I try different wines everywhere I go," says Kim. "For me, wine is something fun—it's not so serious." 

Kim is nonetheless a serious force in Italian wine as managing director of Vinitaly International, a global promotional vehicle for the country. When the 50th edition of Vinitaly—one of the world's largest wine fairs—opens on April 10 in Verona, it will bear the stamp of more than six years of her modernizing efforts. 

Just how did an Asian-American woman who grew up in New York end up as a leading promoter of Italy's vino?

"It helps that I'm not Italian and that I'm not a wine expert," says Kim, a tiny woman with a long black mane that flies about as she shifts from type-A New Yorker English to expressive and fluent Italian, complete with hand gestures....read the full blog at Wine Spectator

Sting and Trudie's Tuscan Adventure

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By Robert Camuto -- Wine Spectator April 30, 2016

In the countryside southeast of Florence, Italy, winemakers and other locals gather for an aperitivo on a gorgeous midsummer evening. Wine flows and fresh pizzas emerge from a wood-fired oven as the sun sets behind the Chianti hills.

A trim, bearded Englishman wearing jeans and a T-shirt, who has been mingling in the crowd, mounts the tiny stage with an acoustic guitar. He launches into a solo version of the Police's 1983 chart-topping hit "Every Breath You Take."

The crowd is galvanized by the familiar voice and the energetic reinterpretation of a classic song. For the man is none other than the song's creator.

At 64, Sting, the legendary Police frontman turned solo performer, has accumulated 16 Grammy awards and still fills arenas around the world. But the artist and his wife, Trudie Styler, are taking a break from a European tour to unwind at Il Palagio, the Tuscan estate they purchased in 1997.

Going Native

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An Italian winemaker expresses the tradition of....where was that?

Elena Pantaleoni has spent most of her life in the middle of nowhere.

Her family’s La Stoppa estate, which she took over 25 years ago, nestles in the hills around the city of Piacenza on the western edge of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy. It’s a gorgeous rolling countryside of vineyards, dairy farms and wheat fields. From the estate’s 15th-century lookout tower, you can see clear north to the snowcapped Alps and south to the Apennine Mountains.

“Even in Italy, most people don’t know where it is,” says Pantaleoni of the area, which is closer to the Mediterranean port of Genoa and the business center of Milan than to Emilia-Romagna’s own regional capital of Bologna.

Obscurity is magnified by complexity. The small Colli Piacentini DOC produces 16 different wine types—including reds, whites, rosatos, frizzante and sweet wines—from international varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to the Barbera-dominated blend with a name that sounds something like an Italian insult: Gutturnio.

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