Yesterday, Laima and I had the great pleasure to spend the afternoon at the Simply Italian Great Wines U.S. Tour. Held at the Hotel Sax, the walk-around grand tasting showcased over 40 wineries representing diverse Italian regions. This was the eleventh consecutive year that IEM of Verona and IEEM of Miami have hosted this Italian wine trade tasting.
From the start, it was a great event, as we found street parking just across the street from the hotel. Once past the registration desk, we admired the spread of food: hot, cold, and a dessert table. But first, wine tasting.
The room felt a bit constricted upon entering - there were a lot of tables and not a lot of room to maneuver. We noticed, however, that there were lulls in the crowds, so we wandered through the throngs until we came upon wineries devoid of customers, then pounced. Alternating tasting and food breaks, 2 very pleasant hours were spent. We're starting to recognize people as we participate in more of these Chicago events, which is kind of fun as well.
We tasted white wines, red wines, and, our favorites, white sparkling wines. Most of the winery reps spoke passable or better English, which made conversation pleasant and informative, though there were times when both sides searched for the correct words. Plenty of styles were featured, from fresh, light, and fruity whites to some seriously tannic reds. Overall a lot of great wine that should find importers and be sold in the U.S.
To me, the stand outs at the tasting were two wineries that featured Prosecco. Azienda Agricola Biasiotto had an unusual and very tasty still Prosecco to go with their sparklers, all outstanding. Raphael Dal Bo was there with Prosecco from an organic DOC to a Rosé to their DOCG (my three favorites). They even produce a Moscato sparkler that does not overwhelm with sweetness, nicely done.
We always learn something at each one of these tastings and usually end up surprised by something fantastic. We're very grateful to Balzac Communications and Marketing for inviting us to not only this one, but all the others.
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