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Italian Flavor Forum III
Loris Scagliarini – January 13, 2006
Photos by L. Scagliarini

Italian Flavor Forum III

When I awoke the morning of Wednesday, January 11, 2006 the rain was drumming down on the roof of our wooden bungalow and I felt my heart sink. Nonetheless, always the positive thinker that I am, I told myself that that was just what the weather report had said: rain at night and into the morning, by noon turning to cloudy and, by 3:00 PM, the sun would actually show up. Looking out the window at the little stream running through our backyard, I saw the muddy water was running fast and was close to overflowing. I had to make an effort to keep my spirits up.

  Melissa Gisler, co-owner of Ottimista, Enoteca - Cafe
  We're about to open the show and Melissa Gisler, of Ottimista, Enoteca - Cafe (Optimist, Wine - Coffee Bar) feels like hugging the space heater
  Italian Flavor Forum III
  Pouring white wine at the Italian Flavor Forum III, in the garden of the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco, California
  Pouring Red Wine at the Italian Flavor Forum III
  Pouring red wine at the Italian Flavor Forum III, in the garden of the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco, California
  Ottimista
  By now it's dark and we are about to close. 
Melissa Gisler, of Ottimista, Enoteca - Cafe, here with Josh Pedroli, Director of Marketing for Sonoma's Bonneau Wines, LLC, still freezing.
   

The fact is that the third Italian Flavor Forum was schedule to take place in the garden of the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco. This garden had been covered with a tent for the occasion. The recent heavy storms had brought strong winds and had flooded a good part of California, so I had already requested that workers reset the tent the day before the event, as sometimes the weather report is not exactly right on the money.

This particular event was a reduced, more intimate version of the usual Forums, and was dedicated exclusively to wine buyers for restaurants, wine bars, and select resellers of the San Francisco Bay Area.

By 10 AM, when crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to go into the city, the weather situation appeared to be getting worse, but I still told myself that this time the weather report would be right and we would have a sunny day by 3:30 PM, when the show was scheduled to open.

At 2590 Webster at Broadway, where the Italian Consulate is located, I oversaw the unloading of the rented tables and crates of glasses in the rain. By the time the tables were set up with the black linen, spittoons, water pitchers and the bottles of red wine aligned like soldiers awating action, the pant legs of my jeans were totally soaked, but the rain had stopped and the sun was poking through the clouds a good three hours earlier than expected.

I made sure that the wine refrigerator with the sparkling and white wines was cooling at the right temperature and set up properly, then I left the scene for a welcome hot shower and change of clothes.

My car, parked out in the street, welcomed me with a ticket fluttering in the wind: When I arrived in the pouring rain, I did not pay attention to the street sign that announced street cleaning on Wednesday and, though I am almost positive that nobody cleaned the street in the rain, the law is the law, and thus I would have to contribute $40 to the coffers of the San Francisco City Hall.

The Event

Back at the Consulate General of Italy at around 2:30, with the help of Michelle Keene, our San Francisco broker, I started opening the bottles of red to let them breathe a little before the guests started arriving. Mary Wells, distributor of the Caffé del Principe (Prince's Coffee) gourmet coffee was there as well setting up the espresso machine. Soon after, Melissa Gisler, co-owner of Ottimista, Enoteca - Cafe (Optimist, Wine Bar - Cafe) arrived. This recently opened wine bar, located in a trendy area at 1838 Union Street, is a favorite meeting spot for the younger wine-loving city crowd, and was kindly sponsoring the event serving delicious Italian-style crostini, from s soon permeated the garden.

Despite the break in the weather, Vittorio Palladino, head of the Commercial Office at the Italian Consulate had wisely had the space heaters turned on well in advance to help dry the ground and heat up the space. When we were about to open, the air was still a little too chilly for Melissa and some of the wine pourers in place behind their tables.

When the guests started arriving though, and the wines started to be poured, it didn't take long for the garden to warm up.

As expected, the wines that we presented were widely appreciated by most of the invitees and the feedback sheets distributed with the wine lists showed many fours and fives on a five point scale. These wine evaluation help us quantify the amount of wines that we will bring in with our first shipment.

The Buyers Feedback

We asked our guests, all wine buyers for restaurants, wine bars and resellers to please judge on a five-point scale wherein:
  • "5 means that you would order that wine today if it were available."
  • "1 means that you would not foresee ever purchasing that wine."

"Numbers in between would suggest a likelihood that you would purchase that type of wine at a different time of the year."

The best in show was, once again, the Recioto di Soave DOCG "Tre Colli", a superior dessert wine produced by the Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I, from the Italian north-eastern region of Veneto, whicho scored 4.8 points.

The runner-up turned out to be Vin Santo di Sovana Gregorio VII – Vino Liquoroso, the other dessert wine presented at the show, and the Vignamurata Sangiovese – Sovana Superiore DOC, wound up as the top red. Both wines are produced by the Cantina di Pitigliano from Tuscany, and scored 4.6 points each.

Third in line was the Gorio – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Spumante Extra Dry by the Azienda Agricola Malibrán, with 4.5 points. This is the prize winning sparkling wine from Veneto that was awarded Gold Medal and Best in Show at last year's L. A. County Fair.

As we well know, US wine drinkers strongly favor red wines, so it was to no surprise that the top white, the Pinot Grigio DOC Collio produced by the Scolaris Vini S.R.L. estate from the Friuli - Venezia Giulia, scored 3.84

Sparkling Wines

   
Wine Name Producer Region
Average Score
Gorio – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Spumante Extra Dry Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto
4.5
Ponte Ros – Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Frizzante Azienda Agricola Malibran Veneto
3.8
Spumante Brut Aldobrandesco Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany
2.67

White Wines

   
Wine Name Producer Region
Average Score
Pinot Grigio DOC Collio Scolaris Vini S.R.L. Friuli - Venezia Giulia 3.84
Vermentino – Bianco Toscano IGT Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany
3.34
Tocai DOC Collio Scolaris Vini S.R.L. Friuli - Venezia Giulia 3.33
Soave Classico DOC "Le Bine Longhe" Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto 3.17
Soave Classico DOC Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto 2.84
Bianco di Pitigliano DOC Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany 2.50
Vermentino di Sardegna DOC - La Pagliastra Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia 2.50
Paggino DOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany
2.17

Red Wines

   
Wine Name Producer Region
Average Score
Vignamurata Sangiovese – Sovana Superiore DOC Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany
4.60
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore "Cascina Perno" 2001 Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont
4.40
Barbera d’Asti DOC Superiore "Vigna del Carlinet" 2001 Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont
4.20
Brunello di Montalcino 1999 "La Pescaia" DOCG Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany 4.00
Occhini Rosso IGT Toscana Fattoria "La Striscia" Tuscany
4.00
Barbera d’Asti DOC 2001 Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont
4.00
Cannonau di Sardegna DOC – La Marina Cooperativa Vinicola Romangia Sardinia
3.84
Poventa DOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany
3.80
Vignamurata Merlot – Sovana Superiore DOC Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany
3.80
Rosso Rubino 2004 Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany
3.67
Arrone DOC Valdichiana Azienda Agricola Buccelletti Vivai Tuscany
3.67
Chianti Bernardino DOC 2004 Fattoria `"La Striscia" Tuscany
3.60
Chianti Classico Piegaia DOC Fattoria Villa Calcinaia Tuscany
3.60
Brunello di Montalcino 2000 "La Pescaia" DOCG Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany 3.50
Rosso di Montalcino  DOC I Mercatali Tuscany
3.20
Soave Classico DOC "Le Bine Longhe" Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto 3.17
Monferrato DOC "Infinito" Poderi Rosso Giovanni Piedmont
3.00
Rosso di Montalcino "La Pescaia" DOCG 2003 Azienda Agraria "La Pescaia" Tuscany
2.80
Merlot DOC Collio Scolaris Vini S.R.L. Friuli - Venezia Giulia 2.40

Dessert Wines

   
Wine Name Producer Region Average Score
Recioto di Soave DOCG "Tre Colli" Azienda Agricola T•E•S•S•A•R•I Veneto 4.80
Vin Santo di Sovana Gregorio VII– Vino Liquoroso Cantina di Pitigliano Tuscany 4.60

Sponsors

  San Pellegrino
  Acqua Panna
  Ottimista Enoteca Cafe
   

We are very thankful to the Italian Flavor Forum III sponsors, including San Pellegrino, Acqua Panna and, last but not least, Ottimista, Enoteca - Cafe, located at 1838 Union Street, San Francisco. Ottimista opened just a few months ago and immediately became one of the hot hang-outs for San Francisco's trendy young adults.

In addition, we like to thank the Consul General of Italy, Dottor Roberto Falaschi, for being so kind to host the Italian Flavor Forum III in the of the consular residence's garden.

Comments

Some comments from the feedback sheets:

That's all for now. The next appointment is on March 14 and 15, 2006 with the the premiere of Italia Gourmet Show / Italian Flavor Forum IV.



 
 
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