February 2918

First things first: Books

#cisonoanchio (#i’mheretoo) by Monica Sommacampagna

Monica tackles cyberbullying in this novel about Asia, a lonely 13-year-old girl who finds a light in the darkness of the digital night thanks to a conversation with her artist grandmother, and her grandfather, a former soldier. #cisonoanchio @gabriellieditori In Italian.

February 28  Annalisa’s Birthday Party

Annalisa, owner of the Osteria Carroarmato and one of my dearest friends, celebrated her almost-birthday in style. (She was actually born on February 29.)  And a good time was had by all.  Wine lovers may want to take a peek at the wine lineup.

 

 

 

 

 

3 February Amarone Anteprima

This is an important annual event in the Verona – the presentation of the vintage that producers may choose to release on the market.  In this case it is the 2014 vintage.

But first we went to the annual conference that precedes the tasting. For as long as I have been attending this event, the conference has always followed the same track: a couple of politicians tell us that Amarone is a symbol of Verona in the world, a technician tells us some statistical details and someone in the audience brings up Prosecco’s success – as if Amarone (big, red, high-alcohol) and Prosecco (white, sparkling, moderate alcohol) are direct competitors.

This year they invited Vittorio Sgarbi to take the dais.

Sgarbi, for the many of you who do not know him, is a former television personality, alleged art historian and minor politician. He made his name 30 years ago ranting about art to the television masses whom he clearly thought of as the unwashed hoards.

In the first minute of his presentation he compared wine to a marocchina (literally a Moroccan woman, also often a general a term for black women). I moaned aloud: oh, god. He plowed on with more of the women and wine comparisons (woman like sweet wine while MEN appreciate drier (amaro) wines.  He then gave that old sop: “women are, of course, smarter than men.” A smirk twisting his lips before adding: “That’s why we have to keep them in their place

I will concede that he got in a few good political jibes (that had nothing to do with wine or Amarone).  But he also drew laughs for sprinkling his spew with words like cadzo, scoppare, merde, culo (you can look these up yourself). He uses these words to demonstrate that he knows how to speak the language of plebs – like wot we, in the audiences, wuz.  He also drops the names of artists – Dali, Raphael, Warhol – to prove his intellectual superiority.

For the sake of full disclosure: my university degree was in Art History and I did graduates studies in Chinese At History. (I can still tell a Han from a Tang at thirty paces – even while wearing my reading glasses.) I therefore find the flaunting of these names especially irritating. He makes these artists mere props to support his towering ego.

At the tasting I spoke with producer Piero Zanone about the presentation.  He said: “For a bizarre year like 2014 maybe you need a bizarre speaker.”

Which brings us to the bizarre 2014s. It was an uneven vintage, one that none of the producers would declare great.  However, a few were able to make decent wines due almost entirely to the position of their vineyards.  Among the successful 2014 are: Zanone and Marinella Camerani,

Nice wines that were NOT from the 2014 vintage:

Marco Secondo 2012 Very nice. Fresh. Firm black cherry fruit, fruit-filled finish.

Zyme 2003 cherry jelly, long, firm finish, with an undulating meandering fruit. After 5 minutes in the glass, the flavors settle into pure pleasure.

There is something uplifting about Zyme wines; they make me want to stand up straighter.

I did not taste all the wines on offer – there is a limit as to how many high-alcohol (15° plus) wines one can taste effectively.

As I was leaving I ran into Arturo Stochetti, who said. “Non scherzo con Amarone (You don’t fool around with Amarone.) With regular wines you can taste – and spit – twenty or thirty wines. But with Amarone….”