Highlights from a world wind of sight, smell and taste- EWBC 2011

Recently back from the EWBC 2011 conference held this year in Brescia, Italy I am still stunned and overwhelmed with the wealth of interesting information I acquired. For me besides the actual conference the day spent in Alto Adige and my 3 day jaunt in Fruili Venezia Giulia where both unforgettable and eye opening experiences. In the next few months I will be posting on my favorite experiences and vineyard visits after I sort out the boatload of notes, pictures and informational print I collected along my journey. First up will be Terlan in Alto Adige famous for it’s long lived white wines.

The local cheeses and meats served at most every meal cannot be overlooked. At the closing dinner in Brescia a beautiful selection of cheeses where presented to enjoy with the premier Italian sparkler of the region, Franciacorta. My favorite was the Sottocenere a semi firm cow’s milk cheese from Veneto. It was so different from what is available in NY, infinitely better and complex with a denser, drier paste. The ashen rind covering the tomme was mixed with cinnamon, liquorice, nutmeg, coriander and fennel with a white truffle oil rub. The rich fragrant off white paste inside is sparsely studded with black truffles.

As for the meats the San Daniele ham from Friuli was insanely tasty! Cured to perfection it had a smooth silky texture and just the correct amount of salty flavor. The real secret of this local treasure is the micro-climate in the area of San Daniele, resulting from the meeting between the fresh air currents from the Alps and the humid currents from the Adriatic. San Daniele ham has been protected by the Italian Government since 1970 and is recognized as a P.O.D. product (Protected Origin Denomination) by the European Union. I wished I had some truffle honey or Croatian fig jam to drizzle on top.  For my dinner revisited post that I do whenever I travel I will feature both this and a selection of cheeses with a boar ragu along with wine pairings.

 Last but not least the BYOB  held on opening night is something that after last year I looked forward to as a top highlight and chance to visit with friends from last years EWBC held in Austria. As this event grows in size with each passing year I know this will get more difficult to organize but I hope this will always be a tradition.

An ocean of wine from Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Turkey, Sweden, Poland, Russia, America and other regions far and wide where tasted and discussed by participants from over 30 countries. I’m always on the look out for different varietals and this kick off gathering enabled me to not only be able to taste a vast array of wines but also to hear the story behind it or it’s connection to the individual who shared it with others. While I can’t say I loved every wine it was an opportunity for each person to explain the reason behind their choice and do a bit of story telling which was the focus of this years EWBC. Besides the usual suspects (international varietals) I tasted a dizzying selection of grapes many with names I could barely attempt to pronounce before the tasting began. Aged wines also had a presence, I was lucky enough to sample a German TBA from Weingut Muller Catoir that was nothing short of golden nectar. The chance to meet and taste with so many different people that share your interest in wine is truly an experience that is unparalleled.

I’m looking forward to telling my own stories, sharing my travels with others and doing some further research into the vintners I found to be so unique and passionate. Many posts to follow…..



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