Tasting Italy from tip to toe

Collisioni Festival Wine Project with Ian D’Agata

Helen Farrell
October 1, 2017 - 16:40

A patchwork of patterns, an undulating green quilt of vineyards sloping and soaring, lifting and pouring: the first time a wine lover sees Barolo his or her heart leaps with the landscape.

 

 

A view of Barolo from Cannubi

 

 

Barolo the wine I had of course sipped before, but before this summer never had I tasted Barolo the wine region. As an oenophile the omission skirts on the sinful. Tuscany, tick. Alto Adige, tick. Valle d’Aosta, tick. Langhe, glass still shamefully empty.

 

Therefore, when Ian D’Agata invited me to his Wine Project in July 2017, the answer was a no-brainer. For five years the scientific director of Vinitaly International Academy and Italian native grape expert has been inviting opinion leaders and sommeliers in the wine world to Collisioni Agri-Rock Festival, played in 2017 by the likes of Robbie Williams, Placebo and The Offspring.

 

 

Organizer of Collisioni Wine Project Ian D'Agata (right) with the Mayor of Barolo Renata Bianco (left)

 

 

Left to decant in a brick-vaulted room in Barolo Castle with sommeliers and buyers, restaurateurs and wine influencers from Australia and Hong Kong, the UK and the US, Russia and Singapore means that you learn—fast. First up was a D’Agata masterclass, something that all wine lovers should consider themselves fortunate to lap up at least once in their lifetime. An eye-opening tasting of 11 labels from the Qui Vulture consortium, firm and full-bodied yet borderline breezy Aglianico reds, explained in quickfire Italian and English, an insight into Ian’s exceptional mind and memory. From the south to the far northeast of Italy, the Valcalepio session vaunted a world-preview of just-vinified native grape variety Merera, while the eight labels from Sicily brought gorgeous Grillos and very varied Nero d'Avolas.

 

“With D’Agata I learned how important it is (ed. to stick to a short presentation): keeping to the point, giving a small and funny review of the region’s history and the position of the grape, throw in a joke and there you are,” writes Russian wine journalist Anton Moiseenko.

 

 

Producers from the Vulture receive feedback from wine opinion leaders

 

 

What’s impressive is D’Agata’s way of relating to winemakers. By bringing them into the room and central to the conversation, Collisioni Wine Project is ideal for consortia, associations and essentially producers wishing to receive firsthand feedback on their wine, market opportunities and the current climate in a range of countries.

 

“Collisioni events are very interactive between producers, moderators and guests. This makes the experience more fascinating and a great source of global market intelligence,” commented Maria Fevronia Gerari, a Greek wine consultant based in Montalcino.

 

 

Tasting native grape Merera by Castello di Gremello during the Valcalepio session

 

 

Collisioni Wine Project doesn’t end with the annual Barolo event. Since July, the team has organized On The Road spin-offs to Vulture, in Basilicata, and to Marche, a way to deepen knowledge and experience these wine regions at their origin.

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