APRIL 2015

April 29 Villa Bucci
I have made a kind of goulash and decide to open a bottle of wine. I choose Villa Bucci Rosso 2010. I love Villa Bucci – the wines are fruity, well-structured and satisfying.

April 26 The Shopping Network
We go to Milan for a tasting. We meet Angela, a lively, mid-twenty-ish woman in a lace mini-dress. One of her jobs is to act as spokesperson for an Italian Jewelry Company in the USA and Australia. She will be flying out to Minnesota (which is evidently a major center for Shopping Network programs) in a few days. She is interviewed on the shopping shows about Italy and her employer’s new line of products. I am absolutely sure she is fabulous in this job. She is intelligent and…well…the word “bubbly” hardly does her justice. Who knew that such a job existed? Not me.

April 22 Big Chievo Dinner

Sabrina at the Chievo dinner
Sabrina at the Chievo dinner

We go to the headquarters to wait for our ride to the Big Chievo fan clubs dinner. All the players and coaches and the owner of the team will be there, along with around 500 soccer fans.

Our pal Sabrina wrote to the producers of Uomani e Donne (Men and Women), a very popular Italian TV show that purports to match up couples. Here is her story:

“I got a call on Tuesday asking if I could come to Rome on Thursday. I said yes, because I wanted to be on TV. When I got to the train station in Rome there was a limousine waiting for me. Everybody in the station looked at me like I was a movie star. I had brought along a dress to wear. I still have good breasts and the dress showed them off. Well, they said I couldn’t wear it and made me wear a white suit with a plain blouse. I said: okay because I wanted to be on TV. Then they put a whole lot of makeup on me and the hairdresser started blowing out my hair to make it straight and parted it on the side. I never war my hair like that because it makes my nose look too big. But there was nothing I could do to convince them to leave my hair alone. Finally I get my chance to go into the studio. There are all these lights and cameras and people. I was pretty nervous. I stand there in front of the man contestant and he says to me: Do you have any tattoos? I said: yes. And he said: You can go now. And that was it. At least I got to ride in a limo.

On the way home from the dinner someone asks Sabrina what her next venture into television will be. “Contardino cerca Moglie” “There’s this rich farmer in Tuscany…..”

April 21
2We go to the Hotel (and Spa) Millepini in Montegrotto. My oh my. It has the deepest pool in the world – 42 meters at its deepest part. People from all over the world come to practice scuba diving here. There are also classes that teach babies to swim. Large windows in the foyer /bar area allow you to watch the proceeding. I am mesmerized.

 

4 me and Lucio fotoWe are here for the launch of Vignalta’s Metodo Classico Brut Rosé made from the Friularo grape.

Lucio Gomiero, owner of Vignalta says: “It’s the anti-Prosecco par excellence,” says Lucio.

 

 

April 19 Chievo soccer fans host Udinese soccer fans before the big game.

5 ladies serving foto6I love Chievo for their sportsmanship. No hooligans here!

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April 12 through 16 The International Consorso
7 Guy 2 yes there were other tasters besides meI have been participating as a judge at the International wine competition held at the fair in Verona for the last few days. Blind tasting morning and afternoon – some 40 wines a day.

My goodness! I had a flight of what I believe was supposed to be Proseccos…all but 2 of the 13 tasted like laboratory experiments. They tasted constructed rather than the result of the fermentation of grapes.

So far I have given my highest score to a Lambrusco. Why? Because it was exactly what it was supposed to be – from the purple froth to the lively grapey fragrance and taste. It did not try to be something more or different.

On the last day, we taste wines that have already been vetted by other panels. The flight of reds is good – I would be happy to have any of them on my table in a restaurant.

JpegStrangely, I am the only one – of the 105 tasters – to bring a book to read during the pauses. The book in the photo is Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.

I am usually the first one back from break. We do around 12 wines take a little break and come back for 12 more. Then it is lunch. In the afternoon we repeat the 12-break-12 routine. The photo was snapped by an oenologist named Paolo, who was on my commission. He said: “My wife reads lots of books too. And then she tells me about them so I don’t have to read them.”

April 16:

9 ugo's birthdayI only do the morning tasting session at the Concorso in order to go to the Carroarmato and taste wines with Ricardo and Laura (his wife and a really good taster) and Annalisa (owner of the Carroarmato). Ricardo started his business a couple of years ago importing Italian sparkling wines into Peru. He is now expanding his line and wanted us to taste his selections and give some assessments of quality levels. Very interesting tasting. My favorite was a ringer that Annalisa poured for us. We tasted the wine blind and I liked it very much. What a happy surprise when it was revealed to be a Valpolicella from Viviani, one of my favorite Amarone/Valpolicella producers. The wine was round, satisfying and food-friendly.

Then on to the Osteria 23 for Ugo’s Birthday Poetry Shout. This is a photo of Ugo that, I believe captures the moment.

April 15: Hooray for Monica!
Monica Sommacompagna at her book launch yesterday for her novel L’Uomo Senza Etichetta. I have just started reading it….wonderful! Hooray for Monica!April 26, 2015

April 2: Combat Poetry
glenn and igenio fotoOur pal Glenn (poet and book shop clerk from Connecticut) read his poetry at Osteria 23 in Verona. He had come to town a couple of days earlier. The first evening of his stay we were having an aperitif at the Filippini and in came Ugo. (Michael often calls Ugo when we have out of town visitors because seeing Ugo is a must – like seeing the Great Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower). And when I introduced Glenn as a poet, Ugo said: “He must come to my Thursday night poetry session.” What a night. It was like doing dinner theatre or singing in a Vegas lounge. But Glenn was a pro: Reading poems in English to a room full of Italians, many of whom were tucking into their seafood salad, takes nerve. The book shop he words at, by the way is The Book Barn.