Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Registration Now Open for International Wine Tourism Conference

The fifth annual International Wine Tourism Conference will be March 15-17, 2013 in Zabreb, Croatia. Registration for the event is now open.
Croatian wine is increasingly being recognized on an international stage, even more remarkable because the country produces large quantities of its native varieties such Plavac Mali and Malvazija Istriana rather than international darlings like Merlot or Chardonnay. In addition, the country of Croatia, just across the Adriatic from Italy, is a fascinating destination, with rich culinary traditions that reflect its crossroads culture such as salami with Paprika - a little Italian, a little Hungarian.
The three-day conference features a very international perspective, as presenters come from around the globe to give their unique views on the state of wine tourism.
The International Wine Tourism Conference is relevant for anyone in the travel business who is looking to expand their tours to wine country, operators who want to get more bang for their wine-travel buck, and wineries that want to learn how to attract more visitors.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Campanian Whites Bring Pleasure to the Table

Campania is an Italian region that encompasses Naples and the coastline and inland to the south. The region is home to a number of indigenous varieties that are still being produced today.

At a dinner at Hotel il Molino as part of the International Wine Tourism Conference fam trip, I had the good fortune to dine at their chic and modern restaurant, sampling their chef's fine cuisine with a number of Campania wines.

The menu was exceptional: crispy polenta with a beef meatball, squid sausage on toasted bread with a pizzaiola sauce, tortello of caciocavallo cheese (a local specialty) with a cream of Paestum artichokes, slow cooked Marchigiano beef with carmelized onions.  This fine meal, made with locally sourced ingredients, was served alongside a host of local wines.

While a rule of thumb in the wine world is often whites to the north, reds to the south, the southern clime of Campania is perfect for growing wonderful indigenous white wine grapes.  Two of the wines stood out to me that luxurious evening.  The 2010 Fiano d'Avellino from Terredora winery was round on the palate, with peaches, lemons, and intoxicating floral aromas.  The 2009 Fiorduva from the Marisa Cuomo winery was also a stand-out. This wine is a blend of Fenile, Ginestra, and Ripoli. The grapes all grow on Dolomitic calcareous rocks on terraced vineyards that face the Mediterranean Sea.  The Fiorduva had a lemony zing that complemented the squid sausage magnificentlly.

With summer coming, look for the white wines of Campania to cool off. This distinctive, flavorful wines will make you forget about Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs and give your mouth a reason to celebrate.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ancient Greek Variety Malagouzia Makes a Comeback

At the Celebrate Greek Wines kickoff party tonight, I discovered an intriguing white wine that's new to me, but old to the Greeks: Malagouzia. This ancient variety was nearly extinct when a professor from Thessaloniki discovered a patch of it and brought it to a Greek winemaker. That was back in the 1970s, and today the wine is having a wonderful second coming. I'm told it's become a cult wine in New York City, and I'm not surprised. The nose of a Malagozia draws you in with intoxicating white flowers, lychees, and stone fruit. On the palate, the wines, which clock in at 12.5 abv, range from dry to slightly sweet. The flavors include lychees, lemons, and lemon pith. Good structure, nice acidity, and a pleasing pour with shrimp appetizers that were being served at the fantastic rooftop space, La Piscine, at the chic and modern Hotel Americano.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wine and Theater, Together at Last

Last week I had the pleasure to see Lonely I'm Not at Second Stage Theater  in New York City. The play, which featured a dynamite cast including the all-grown-up Topher Grace of That 70's Show, was a dynamic modern day romance. However, what really struck me from a wine point of view occurred before I entered the theater. That's because my Pinot Grigio was served in, well, a sippy cup. Oh! So I can bring it into the theater. How civilized. No more frat party chugging as the lights flash. It was a thoughtful touch at a lovely venue. If you're in New York, go see Lonely I'm Not. And take your time with your wine.