VINO 2011: A Sparkling Beginning

January 24, 2011

vino 2011 day 1 002 I'm coming to you from New York City, where the Italian Trade Commission is presenting VINO 2011. It's a three day extravaganza of wine tastings, seminars, lunches, dinners, snacks, and cocktails. (Foodista always gives me the tough assignments. When I get back they'll probably put me in a windowless office, proofreading recipes for the rest of 2011.) This is day one and it's already been a whirlwind. My first round of tasting began at the enormous room pictured above in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, populated with 80(!) different wineries from all over Italy pouring multiple wines. So how did I proceed? Rather than powering through 400+ wines, I did a quick survey of the room to narrow my focus. Not surprisingly, I was drawn to bubbles. And was rewarded greatly for doing so. Maso Martis Sparkling Wines Wowzers! These Maso Martis sparkling wines, from the Trento region in Northern Italy, were flat-out gorgeous. Pure as a mountain stream, more focused than Kasparov at the chess board, and livelier than a Dixieland jazz band at full-tilt, it felt almost criminal to do the professional taster thing and spit them out. (So I didn't.) The Brut is an elegant blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that's hard to put down. Made in a style I love, the 100% Pinot Noir Brut Rosé is pale pink in color, austere, and very crisp. The Brut Riserva (a Chard/Pinot blend) stands out not only for the extra bottle-aging before release, but also because some of the still wine is aged in barrels before being transformed into a sparkler. I'm finding that many of my favorite Champagnes, like Krug and Vilmart, employ this practice and I love the extra richness and depth it brings to the Maso Martis as well. Alessandra Caroni of Maso Martis Thank you to Alessandra Caroni, Export Manager for Maso Martis, for introducing me to even more sparkling wines to love! Full disclosure: The Italian Trade Commission has provided my transportation and accommodations. Jameson Fink is the European Wine Buyer and Director of Social Media for Esquin Wine Merchants in Seattle. He also consults for MadWINE. He was slightly exaggerating when he said that Foodista would isolate him in a windowless room to perform computer-based drudgery on his return.



Sheri Wetherell's picture

I would have been schnockered by 10am! Have fun! It looks amazing.

Jameson Fink's picture


I did a lot of spitting. Made an exception for the bubbles. That's usually my MO at these events.


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Barnaby Dorfman's picture

Wow, so exciting...thank for bringing us along if only virtually! You definitely get a window when you get back...though it's so gray right here in Seattle that it won't feel like it :-)

Brook - Learn to Preserve's picture

Great blog post Jameson. Not to many people would be capable of such lucidity after a day of tasting -- and swallowing -- so many tempting Italian wines. I really like your decision to focus on the sparklers. Brilliant!

Jameson's picture


Thanks for the kudos. Like I said, very judicious imbibing and regular use of the spit bucket.


Colin M. Saunders's picture

Way to put up the good fight, Jameson, take one for the team!