Italian Wine tasting (Sicily) & Pizza

I just got back from a fabulous impromptu Italian wine & pizza tasting with several of my wine tasting group members (and some guests/possible new members??).

There were only 7 of us there, and 5 of the 7 can be considered “industry” people (the other two are “public defenders”). The fact that there were so many industry people should not intimidate anyone as we all CLAIM to know a thing or two about wine, but in reality we are just a bunch of open-mined AND opinionated (is that possible?) wine lovers who have sacrificed a good livelihood for one we infatuate over.

There are so many things I can write about. The heated argument about whether JOE consumer cares about HOW his wine is made. Which is better, New World wines or OLD WORLD wines. How to interact with those who know less about wine. The evening prompted so many interesting topics yet I must admit…I am too BUZZED to get deep right now. So I’m simply going to blog (briefly) about “TECHNOLOGY”.

We talked about the improvements wines from all over the world have made in recent years.  Someone commented how they wonder if wines from the same winery in a recent vintage & one from a vintage many years ago were made (and tasted) the same (or at least comparably). At which point the phenomena of technology & perceived “better quality” came up. We wondered if improved technology has in fact improved quality or has led many AUTHENTIC & genuinely hand made wines to have now become more generic – also unaffectionately known as “laboratory wines”.

Overall, I liked 3 of the 7 wines we had. I felt the other 4 were overly extracted and lacked balance. They were too jammy (or as our gracious host put it possessed – “stewed plums”) & did not have the acidic & tannic backbone to hold up to the sweet/extracted/jammy flavors. The 3 I liked were not the types of wine I typically go for. They were not Bordeaux style wines. No Cabernet Sauvignion. No Merlot. No Cab Franc, Petit Verdot or even any Syrah (shiraz). Lots of varietals I am not all that familiar with. But the ones I liked had interesting yet subtle fruit, nice minerality, a hint of spice or floral to the nose. But most important was a backbone that sufficiently supported the flavors.

I’m off to Israel this week to meet with my fabulous boutique wine producing contacts and help to bring back NY/US worthy wines.  Barring unforeseen wine drinking within the next 48 hours my next report comes from the holy land AKA the next “up-and-coming wine haven”…

Until then, happy wine tasting…


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