The New Year is already underway, and like everyone else, I’ve given some thought to resolutions. I put together a list of five resolutions that are specific to someone, like me, who is passionate about Italian wine.
Without further ado:
1. To stop drinking so much Italian wine.
Italian wine (when sampled in Italy) often lacks context. If you live in this country as I do, you have access to the best regional Italian cuisine on the planet. But available Chinese and Indian fare is uninspired and my beloved Mexican flavors are almost nonexistent, even in a big city like Rome. The same rule applies to the wine offerings in Italy. Excellent releases and back vintages from Italian regions are readily available, but it is almost impossible to locate sophisticated offerings from other wine nations such as Australia, Argentina, South Africa or even California. This year, I resolve to drink more wine produced outside of Italy in order to establish broader parameters on my own perception and evaluation of what makes Italian wine so excellent.
2. Review more Italian wines (and faster, too).
All of us at the Wine Advocate are committed to bringing more wine reviews to our readers—each reviewer is shooting for a target of 4,000 quality reviews per year. This number seems well suited to Italy’s production power because it allows me to be appropriately selective (we want to highlight the best fine wines) and more inclusive at the same time (with more attention on value wines). For example, I am now sampling Brunello di Montalcino and the more affordable Rosso di Montalcino category at the same time. In years past, my coverage was limited to mostly Brunello di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, whereas lower tier Rosso di Montalcino was covered with less intensity at a later date. We are also committed to providing the reader with more timely reviews publishing closer to commercial release dates.
3. Do more home entertaining.
Following two years of home improvements and a complete overhaul of my outdoor terrace, I’m ready to show off my efforts. I’m armed with a slew of new recipes I picked up during a neighborhood cooking course and my local market has miraculously come back to life after years of neglect and abandon. I know of a young man who makes fresh ravioli with ricotta each morning just steps away from my front door. There is a new butcher, a fishmonger and another guy who sells every conceivable nut, bean and dried fruit you can think of close by. It is time to put all these resources to work. When traveling on the Italian wine trail, I very rarely indulge in big restaurant meals. There is never time, and I usually have work to finish back at the hotel. Furthermore, I absolutely hate the discomfort of fighting over a bill that I am obligated to pay if in a work setting—or if my stubborn pride dictates as much. Hosting more dinners chez moi relaxes that whole dynamic and allows me the opportunity to get those creative culinary juices flowing. I vow to host more dinner parties in 2018. If you are invited, bring a bottle!
4. Go to Elba.
I have visited each and every Italian region for my work in wine: Lazio, Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta, Liguria, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Sicily, Sardinia and tiny Molise. I’ve covered wines made on the Aeolian Islands, the Egadi Islands, Pantelleria and the Tremiti islands (where only a few contadino wines are pressed). The only piece of Italian territory missing in my Grand Tour of vino Italiano is the island of Elba off the Tuscan Coast. I’ve always been fascinated by the local dessert wine, Aleatico Passito dell’Elba. This year one of my resolutions is to finally try those wines in situ.
5. Write—or at least, start—my book.
I don’t want to jinx myself by claiming that I can finish a book project during what will certainly be a very busy year. My last resolution is to officially start writing the book on Italian wine that has been living in my head for years now.
Auguri di buon anno,
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