Sipping the Wonderful Summer Wines of Italy
What can help New Yorkers deal with the summer heat wave in addition to strong AC, lots of water and loose fitting clothing?
“The Wonderful Summer Wines of Italy,” is the answer from the Italian Trade Commission of New York and The Italian Wine & Food Institute (a non-profit organization created in 1938 to enhance the image of Italian wine and food in the US). The two institutions have jointly organized a day-long tasting of delicious whites, rosés and sparkling wines (Prosecco, Moscato and Brachetto) for the press and insiders of the wine business.
At the tasting 19 importers presented a total of 30 wines along with food prepared by three major Italian restaurants in New York City: Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato’s Serafina and Tony May’s SD26. The presence of the restaurants was crucial, not just because it is better to eat something while you are drinking, but mostly because authentic Italian restaurants are crucial players in the introduction of wines on foreign markets and among consumers.
Guests could also savor chocolates by Ferrero, several cheeses from Pondini Imports, coffee from Manuel Caffè, prosciutto brought by the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma and Smeraldina water, crisp and healthy water coming from Sardinia.
“This is a special moment,” Consul General Natalia Quintavalle said, “the moment when important Italian Institutions open their doors to welcome leaders in the trade business to showcase the excellence of Italian products. Today it is all about wine. I have seen several and tasted a few wines of different origins and they all are excellent. What is even better is that there is great affluence of operators that are attending the event.”
“We thought of organizing a day in honor of summer wines,” Lucio Caputo, President of the Italian Wine & Food Institute said, “with the purpose to promote those Italian wines that at the moment are the stars of summer. Many of them are sparkling and we all know that bubbles lighten up any pool party or are essential ingredients for aperitivos on roof gardens, while whites are lighter and crispier, they can easily be enjoyed outdoors to cool off a summer day.”
“So many times, when you think of Italian wines you just focus on reds,” Camila Xavier of Palm Bay International, an importer participating at the event, said “This is a really nice opportunity to get to know the variety of whites and rosés Italy has to offer. Italy is a country that has such an amazing variety of indigenous grapes and this is the place to be to experience the whole thing.”
“We love to attend events like this,” Laura Casinelli, Director of Communications of Serafina said, “it helps build a stronger community, not just to get your product promoted.” Serafina served a delicious artichoke hearts salad topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano that paired perfectly with all the wines available at the tasting, especially light and crisp Prosecco.
It has been years now that Prosecco has become a must on the wine lists of restaurants and bars around the city, yet 2012 has been proclaimed the “Year of Moscato.”
Moscato wine is a unique type of sparkling wine developed from muscat grapes. These grapes are known for their sweet floral aroma and are used to develop raisins and enormous sweet dessert wines as well. Moscato is extremely light, frothy, fun, sweet and low in alcohol. It is ideal to be sipped alone on those warm evenings when you linger at the dining table, or alongside brunch, whether sweet or savory. It pairs perfectly with cheeses, roasted meats and desserts (think wedding cake).
"It's a happy wine," observed Italian trade Commissioner Aniello Musella, “It is a wine that’s easy to enjoy. It is summery and festive, and it tastes like it is a lot more expensive than it really is.”
Brachetto should definitely be next. Yes, it is red (sometimes pink), but it is a light-bodied, highly aromatic wine with distinctive notes of strawberries that is served chilled that will lighten up any summer day.
Overall the event was a great success and the general wish of the participants is that something similar will be organized more often, hopefully in the Fall in presentation of the best wines for the holidays.