It was supposedly only 6 km from Verona. Many wrong turns, an hour on the road, we finally got to the picturesque mansion, the site for ViniVeri.
This alternative to VinItaly is only three -years old, but due to in-fighting, the group of naturally-minded winemakers has already mitosed into two lobes. ViniVeri took their wines (most of the winemakers in the Genoa-based Triple 'A' Import portfolio, which reps Nicolas Joly) to Villa La Matterana. The 'natural' wine group stayed at Favorita.
At some point, these alternative fairs will be the mainstream. But right now, they still have a revolutionary, perhaps even a dangerous scent to them.
Upon seeing Melissa and me, Nicolas Joly greeted us as, "The world-trotting journalists." He introduced me to Triple "A' Imports owner, Paolo. Gargano shared one great big problem with me--the threat of broken knee caps. "There were a few restaurants starting to focus on these wines," he said. "They were visited by some of the big wine houses with powerful connections. Some of my customers were told if they continued on with my wines from small producer, they would lose their restaurant stars."
This might explain why so few great wine lists exist in Italy.
Italian tasting highlights were the Rinaldi baroli, Bea sagrantino, Verduno pelaverga, and realizing I don't really like the much ‘culted’ Radikon wines from Friuli-Venezia Giulia. By Melissa's account we tasted 60 wines in two hours. We figured that 90% were good to great. At VinItaly we tasted about the same amount of wines in six hours and about 5% were any good. Instead of begging for mercy (as we did in the de Grazia booth at VinItaly) we begged for more. Italy doesn't get to see a whole lot of authentic wine and even though some big boys might want to break some bones and spirits to prevent their increasing popularity, the public palate seems very primed for the good stuff.