Italian Wine Days in Seattle

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Baglio di Pianetto is a 250-acre vineyard in the rugged Sicilian hills above Palermo; it produces some 50,000 cases of wine. About half is exported, mostly to Germany, and ten percent to the US, mostly New York and Chicago. But winery owners everywhere, not just Sicily, roam the globe in search of new markets, and Pianetto's owner, Alberto Buratto, is no exception. In the wine biz, you've got to keep prospecting; if you stand still you get run over.

Buratto was in Seattle this week as part of the "Tre Bicchieri" road show sponsored by Italy's leading wine publication, Gambero Rosso. Over 40,000 different wines are produced in Italy from a bewildering number of grape varieties. A full-time team of professional tasters eventually select about 400 individual bottles every year for their top rating of "three glasses." Even though Americans consume fully 20 percent of all Italian wine, this week's visit was the first time the road show has touched down in Seattle, a remote outpost for the Italians. Pianetto's best wine is that Sicilian standby, Nero d'Avola.

Poderi da Nespoli.jpg

The Poderi dal Nespoli winery in Emilia Romagna wasn't on the Gambero Rosso tour; they'll be on something called "Simply Italian" later this year instead. Nespoli also has an elegant "Tre Bicchieri"-quality wine, the Sangiovese Riserva, which spends 14 months in oak. It sells for about $30 in Italy. I visited the winery last week when I was in Bologna; that's the winery's co-owner, Fabio Ravaioli, with his arm draped over the shoulder of his export manager, Daniela Facciani. He's just invested a small fortune to upgrade the winery with new solar panels, energy-independent warehouse and production facilities, an automated bottling line, and a new agriturismo in the property's original manor house.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on February 18, 2016 6:00 PM.

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