Showcasing Italy’s 100 Finest Wine Producers @MyOperaWine with @WineSpectator #Vinitaly

Wrap your heads around this – Italy’s National Registry of Grapes boasts 461 official grape varieties, of which 377 are genetically different Native grapes. According to ISTAT in 2010, there are 625,000 hectares under vine in Italy. So where should one initiate their journey to explore this dizzying array of diversity and heritage?

Luckily for us common folks, Veronafiere together with Wine Spectator and VinItaly hosted their annual soiree Opera Wines at the historic Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Verona, Italy on April 8th. And we had front row seats for this exclusive event showcasing the finest Italian wines and a chance to hob-nob with iconic producers we only manage to read and drool over in publications.

The most momentous surprise and treat perhaps was an impromptu private concert by the legendary artist Sting singing his infamous song “Message in the Bottle”. Whose wine Sister Moon 2011 from their wine estate Il Palagio was a newcomer on this year’s 100 Great Producers.

So be it Italy’s oldest cultivar Fiano di Avellino from Terredora; sparkling bubbles from Glera by Bisol or international varities Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Nero boasting classic method champagne, Ferrari and Ca’del Bosco; steely and mineral-driven Garganega producing Soave, Pieropan and Grazino; dramatic yet sensual Amarone from Bertani, Allegirini, Zenato, Tomassi; majestic Nebbiolos of Barolo and Barberesco from Gaja, Scavino Paolo, Bruno Giacosa, Guiseppe Mascarello, Massolino, and my personal favorite Elvio Cogno; rich Sfursat made with air-dried Nebbiolo by Nino Negri; Sangiovese – one of the greatest red grapes of Italy, producing the romantic Chianti from Marchesi Antinori or Tuscany’s most revered wine Brunello di Montalcino from Biondi-Santi, Altesino; avant-garde Super Tuscan from Ornellaia, San Guido, Le Macchiole; cerebral complexity of Aglianico from Re Manfredi , Mastroberardino, and San Gregorio; red fruit driven Gaglioppo by Ippolito 1845; Italy’s most tannic grape Sagrantino by Arnaldo Capari; jack of all trades Montepulciano by Masciarelli; Sicily’s hottest red grape Nerello Mascalese by Tascha d’Almerita; plush Primitivo by Gianfranco Fino; intensely perfumed Aleatico sweet wine by Masseri Livelli; or luscious Zibbibo (Moscato di Alessandria) made in the volcanic island of Pantelleria by the graceful Donnafugato, Opera Wine showcased the breadth and diversity of Italian wines with each wine expressing unique site-specific terroir. A tasting any wine aficionado would have been proud to attend.

Italy-Wine-Map

Italy’s mountainous terrain (40%) Apennine Mountains covering the western portion and Alps up north, proximity to four seas (Adriatic, Ligurian, Mediterranean, & Tyrrhenian), create uniquely different microclimates that fiercely influences the character of Italian wines. Coupled with presence of varied soils including volcanic origin. Italy is the ideal backdrop for an exhaustive list of indigenous and International grapes. Producing world-class wines in all price brackets.

I present to you the 100 Great producers of Italian Wine 2016 from the sun-drenched land of vines:

With a colorful history steeped from Greeks, Etruscans and Romans to today’s contemprary maverick winemakers, Italy’s gamut of wine boasts flavors from intensely perfumed, delicate to hedonistic, vibrant racy to plush and tannic, fizzy and fruity to deeply complex, age worthy, fresh nutty to decadent and rich aromas, texture, and body to appease any wine palate. Do yourself a favor, reach out to your local wine purveyor or restaurant to truly experience the mesmerizing and addictive world of Italian wines.

Opera wine

Huge shout out to Italian trade Commission and VinItaly International for sponsoring our memorable Verona trip, without which we would have not had this incredible opportunity to make new friends and share our common obsession for all things Italian.

Italy’s Agriculture Minister, the suave Maurizio Martino was kind enough to share a few words with us.

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