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    Italian Wine 101

    Why Valpolicella and Valpolicella Superiore are Poised for a Comeback

    The wines of Valpolicella dance across the tongue with the same lift and loveliness as the name itself. Ideal with humble pastas as well as lighter red meats and game birds, it is well-suited to the table. As the  more modest bottling of the Valpolicella region, it is largely (and unfairly) overlooked among Italian reds these days.

    Valpolicella is the so-called “everyday” red wine of the eponymous production zone that is situated just north of the city of Verona, and extends west and east of the city. Other reds here include the iconic Amarone della Valpolicella as well as Ripasso, a wine made via a method of refermentation and remaceration, in which a Valpolicella is “repassed” over the skins of grapes used for Amarone.

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    What's new with Italian wine DOCs and DOCGs

    Learning Italian wine inside and out can be a thrilling experience, but it can also be confounding. The wrinkles in Italian wine law are numerous, and staying on top of the latest modifications to DOC and DOCG regulations can feel as time consuming as the slow train from Naples to Sorrento.

    Fortunately, we have Maurizio Broggi on our side. As Education Director for the Italian Wine Scholar™ program, he stays in close contact with Italy’s innumerable consorzi to learn about trends in the vineyards and wineries, as well as changes to their regulations — all so he can keep our education materials up-to-date.

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    Irpinia Who's Who: The Producers of Taurasi, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo with Tom Hyland

    The province of Irpinia represents the heart of the Campanian wine industry. On the map, this is the province of Avellino, but vintners here refer to this territory by its ancient name of Irpinia. From this land, some of Italy's most complex and longest-lived whites wines, such as Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are produced, while Coda di Volpe and Falaghina are other local stylish whites. As for red wines of Irpinia, the most celebrated is Taurasi, an Aglianico-based red that is among the country's most renowned and most cellar worthy reds. We will examine this province, discussing its lengthy history - vines were first planted here several thousand years ago - as well as its status quo, discovering the finest producers of each major type of wine.

    Presenter: Tom Hyland

    Tom Hyland is a Chicago-based wine writer/educator and photographer, specializing in Italian wines.

    He has authored two books on Italian wines, and has conducted seminars for the trade on various Italian wines in Chicago, New York and in Bordeaux at VinExpo.

    He has been writing about these wines for 19 years, and today is a contributor to Decanter and wine-searcher.com. He is also the U.S. ambassador for the consorzio, I Vini del Piemonte.

    Learn more about Italian Wines:

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    The Wines of Irpinia - Contemporary Excellence from an Ancient Territory

    I returned to Campania recently for the first time in three years and as with most Italian regions, discovered that not much had changed, at least as far as appearances are concerned. I did meet a few producers I hadn’t visited before, with one of them – Petilia – being a great new discovery for me. More on that below, but overall what impressed me most was the consistency of the wines, white and red.

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    A Guide to Lesser Known Italian Red Wines: Piedmont

    Any wine student or lover of Italian wines can name the country’s most famous red wines, such as Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino or Amarone della Valpolicella. But given the variety of Italian wines and grape types, it stands to reason that there are many more examples produced throughout the country. This article is the first in a series about a few of the lesser known red wines of Italy; we begin with Piemonte.

    While there are three famous red varieties in Piemonte – Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto – there are several others that produce very expressive wines.

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    Campania: Cutting Edge wines from Ancient Varieties with Tom Hyland

    Webinar Abstract:

    The region of Campania is one of Italy’s most glorious wine territories, yet the fame of these wines is generally not as well documented as examples from several other wine regions throughout the country.

    This is a shame, as Campania is certainly an important wine region, one where historical varieties, such as Greco, Fiano and Aglianico take center stage, while other varieties from the widely planted Falanghina to the lesser-known Pallagrello Bianco and Nero, Piedirosso and Biancolella are also an important part of this region's current wine story.

    In this webinar, we will examine the history of this region’s wines, and discuss how today’s producers have changed Campania from a quiet, reserved wine region into a vibrant, critically important one, making today’s Campania home to some of the country’s most distinctive reds and whites.

    Presenter: Tom Hyland

    Tom Hyland is a Chicago-based wine writer/educator and photographer, specializing in Italian wines.

    He has authored two books on Italian wines, and has conducted seminars for the trade on various Italian wines in Chicago, New York and in Bordeaux at VinExpo.

    He has been writing about these wines for 19 years, and today is a contributor to Decanter and wine-searcher.com. He is also the U.S. ambassador for the consorzio, I Vini del Piemonte.

    Learn more about Italian Wines:

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    The History of Italy in 12 Glasses of Wine with Paul Wagner

    Italian wine through the lenses of history, society, and culture...

    Paul Wagner has always believed that wine is much more effectively understood as a product of culture than of geology, and nowhere is this more accurate than in the vast cultural landscape that is Italy.

    Standing the traditional organoleptic tasting order on its head, Paul will lead us on a tour of Italian wine through the lenses of history, society, and culture.  He will trace the influences that have washed over Italy and its wines for more than three thousand years, and provide participants with a creative and entertaining way to teach about Italian wine.

    Want to master the wines of Italy? Sign up for our Italian Wine Scholar program.

    Presented by: Paul Wagner

    Paul Wagner formed Balzac Communications & Marketing on April Fools’ Day, and for good reason. He wanted to have fun in the wine business. And while his clients include a broad range of national and international companies and organizations, he’s never lost sight of the fun.

    He’s an instructor for Napa Valley College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is a guest lecturer at universities famous throughout the world—known both for his lectures on wine and wine marketing and his enormous repertoire of bad jokes. But he does know a thing or two about wine and marketing.

    He co-authored a book: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market that won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book of the year for professionals. And it sold out in three years, so they released a second edition in 2011. So there.

    Paull is also hosting a podcast on wine with Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio: BOTTLE TALK WITH RICK & PAUL

    Paul is a founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications, a member of the nominations committee of the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005. And in 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain. While he was still alive. Go figure.

    Learn more about Italian Wines:

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