- 03 Apr 2017 -

Italian Wined Out...VIA, Opera Wine, VinItaly

The emotions Italian wines exudes are those of charm and romance. It is befitting that the VinItaly International Academy ("VIA") was one again hosting their annual wine course in the birthplace of Romeo & Juliet. I just thank my lucky stars that the course is conducted in Shakesphere's language! Students from around the world descended into Verona on 2 April ready for an intensive 4 day program organised by Stevie Kim, the mastermind behind VinItaly International and VIA, and taught by Ian D'Agata, VIA's Scientific Director and renowned world expert of Italian wines.

Classes were held in the Wine2Digital complex which entrance is lined with an impressive and original display of vases which depict different wine colours, reminding us of the sole purpose of our being in Verona for the next 10 days to come.

Aside from the rigorous lectures in the mornings and guided tastings of no less than a dozen Italian wines in the afternoon (many so rarely found outside their local markets), the most precious experience for me was the chance to interact and learn from my fellow classmates, all of them are Italian wine lovers and many of them experts in their own fields.

Well... it was no easy task with a notorious 20% first time pass rate since the course had been running. I was intrigued (and daunted at the same time) by the scientific approach to analysing Italian wine grapes. It was unlike any wine course I had studied, but the approach made a lot of sense and opened my eyes and offered some fresh perspectives on how to analyze grapes and wines. I feel incredibly lucky to have passed the exam to qualify as an Italian Wine Ambassador. Througout the course of my studies and especially now that I have had more interaction with the subject, I realise how much I don't know about Italian wines and a fascinating world awaits! For what I had learnt, I look forward to sharing that knowledge with all you Italian wine lovers out there!  

Following the VIA course and graduation, all VIA candidates were invited to join OperaWine held in the Palazzo della Gran Guardia the next day which offered a unique forum for us to meet with winemakers and producers from the top 100 estates from different parts of Italy and taste their wines. 

Then came the opening of the 51st edition of VinItaly which ran for 4 days from 9th -12th April, attended by no less than 4000 producers...the event calendar was jam packed and for once I wish I could split myself 4 ways so I can attend all the masterclasses and tastings on offer. It was impossible to quote which classes were most enjoyable, the one which spoke to me the most was the masterclass "Back in Time with Sassicaia - The Forgotten Years".

It is not because we were tasting back vintages of Sassicaia (which is of course, impressive given the cult status of the brand around the world, especially in the East) but the concept of tasting the most difficult vintages really spoke to me. I often get asked what is my favourite wine, this is when my concious mind rules over my heart as I don't want to have a favourite. I feel it is so unfair and frankly impossible for me to choose, especially knowing how much blood, sweat and tears go into grape growing and wine making. But I am the first to say I am most interested to taste wines born out of a difficult vintage. The more time I spend studying wine, I find myself subconciously drawing correlations between grapes and humans... those who may not be the offspring or relations of noble heritage but strived through tough times in adverse environments only make them stronger, more resistent and interesting individuals. In this case, with the expert craftsmanship and courage of the winemaker, the true beauty and inate potential of the grapes were enshrined even in the most difficult vintages.





; Dordogne Beautiful