Vinitaly is the largest wine show in the world and, until recently, exclusive to those in the wine business. But last year, the event added a new element to its already impressive repertoire, an “off show” that allows the average wine lover to indulge in the decadent tastings and high-class cuisine. The new show is called Vinitaly for You ; it takes place during the same time as Vinitaly, and it’s open to all. This is exciting news for anyone who wants to taste the best, most recently released Italian wines.
Verona hosts Vinitaly, and has done so every year since 1965. The 2010 edition runs from April 8th-11th and is open every day from 6pm until midnight. Over 4,000 exhibitors will be present and this means that there are literally thousands of wines to taste. The beautiful city of Verona is jam-packed with enthusiasts and it’s important to keep a few things in mind if you plan on attending the event.
Taking place in April, the event rides on the wings of spring, which is definitely the best time to visit Verona. The river quickly runs and is rimmed by trees with leaves just beginning to bud. Hotels and B&Bs fill up fast, so make sure to get reservations in advance. The tickets to the event, which run 35-40 euro, do not sell out, so no need to worry about that. However, if you buy tickets online in advance from the official Vinitaly web site, you can save a few euro.
Tickets that allow you to re-enter the event for all 5 days are reasonably priced at 75 euro, and are worth considering.
Vinitaly for You is located in the Palazzo della Gran Guardia, an historic building in the center of Verona. Last year, Vinitaly for You drew an audience of over 3,500 people and there’s a good chance that this year will be even bigger. In the past, the stories about Vinitaly–told by elite wine journalists–described endless rows of wine bottles and winemakers with everything designed to make a good impression. One of the main goals for most exhibitors is to make connections, so they proffer their best wines. These are not the table-wine Chiantis from the 80s, their bottles nestled inside straw baskets; these are the best wines Italy currently offers.
When most people think of high-end Italian wines, they think of Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, and Super Tuscans. Barolos are made from the Nebbiolo grape in the Piedmont region. The Brunello grape is a clone of the Sangiovese grape, the grape used to make Chianti, and capable of being aged over 100 years. The Super Tuscan phenomenon took place at the end of the 70s, when creative Italian winemakers felt the need to invent a new category for their wines, one that didn’t fit into the government’s DOC and DOCG categories. These wines are of incredible quality, and are created by using various creative methods of production, for example, non-native grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or the process of aging wines in small oak barrels, known as barriques.
It would be a mistake to only look into these famous Italian wines however. The country itself is the largest producer of wine in the world and has over 2,000 unique varieties of grape. Why not go out on a limb and taste a Nero di Troia?