• Alexander Smith

A thought for Italy and the Hospitality Industry

The world is going a little crazy right now, and I don't want this to be a copy and paste of what others are saying. I try to stay as objective as possible, however I cannot just sit back and do nothing. As the world becomes more isolated it allows time for reflection, and the news of what is happening around us, is unfolding at an unprecedented pace. I was in California at the end of February and there was very little chatter about the current situation, a few weeks later and California are now in a state of shutdown. I want this post to focus on two subjects where we can help: Italy and the Hospitality Industry

Italy is one of my favourite countries in the world, and I was lucky to spend a couple of weeks there at the end of last summer. What is happening in this wonderful country right now is absolutely heartbreaking. I see messages from around the world of support to Italy, however you can do more! Messages of support are of course important, however what is just as efficient is to BUY ITALIAN WINE! This is what I did yesterday, and you know what? the 2015s and 2016s are absolutely breathtaking and probably one of the best vintages they have ever produced. For those looking for recommendations I have a soft spot for the following wines which should be widely available:

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2015 - 96 points - $65

This is hot off the press and is probably the best white label since 2010. My notes from last summer: An early preview of the Casanova di Neri BdM 2015 shows how strong the 2015 vintage will be! Slightly darker red in the glass compared to the 2014, aromas of dark red and black tree fruits filled the nose along with, violets and a little tobacco. The palate felt rich and enticing, with dusty black cherries, currants, strawberries and a touch of fig and spice, the tannins were beautifully pure and structured, the finish clean, elegant and long. I feel this will become one of the top BdM of 2015, along with the selection process which has been going on here since 2014, the wines tend to be more and more pure, clean. Impressed.

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove 2017 - 94 points - $70

2017 was meant to be a bad vintage in Bolgheri, however this second wine from Ornellaia begs to differ. My notes from last summer as follows: So 2017 was a tough and hot vintage, I was expecting drying tannins and overripe fruit, however, I was shocking surprise. A new optical sorter is being used in the sorting system and it could not have arrived at a more perfect time. Given such a challenging vintage, the Serre Nuove 2017 showed surprising depth, concentration and elegance with deep plump fruits, plums, dark cherries, liquorice and black pepper, the palate showed a great concentration, with muscular tannins and a strong focused finish. 54% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot

Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino 2016 - 93 points - $30

They call this a baby Brunello and put just as much attention as their high-quality Brunellos, all grapes, including the Rosso go through the Optical Sorter, which is quite impressive and shows how serious the winery is to making quality wine. This Rosso had a gorgeous nose with berry and tree fruit along with thyme, violets and forest florals. The palate was full of violets and lavender along with dark cherries, the tannins were incredibly well structured, with good acidity the length was long and lingered. Wow!

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2016 - 92 points - $35

A very muscular, rustic and powerful Chianti Classico, significantly more than the 2015. This will need around 7 years to really show its full potential. 100% Sangiovese sourced from the Fontodi vineyards around Panzano. This Chianti Classico has aromas of dark cherries and blackberries along with lavender, floral, a touch of chocolate and black pepper notes, the palate was firing on all cylinders with strong dark fruits, dried florals, liquorice and spice, yet the palate was dominated by strong muscular tannins, lively acidity and a long yet not fully settled down finish. Do not pop the cork on this for 8 years. 92+


Next on the agenda: Hospitality Industry

So the impact for the Hospitality Industry will be huge depending on how long this virus slows the market for. Just a few figures for you to mull over. These numbers are based on the U.S and are only restaurants, this does not include hotels or the wine industry.

  • 1 million restaurants in the U.S

  • 900 billion in potential sales in 2020

  • 15.5 million who work in the restaurant industry

As you can see the impact on just the restaurant industry is huge, and since it is the restaurant industry who purchases a large amount of wine, the impact will directly impact the wine industry as well. I am already seeing many restaurants layoff workers and I expect the wine industry as well to be impacted. So what can we do? Again, most wineries are offering free shipping whilst they still can. It is important to support our industry in times like these and participate in any virtual tasting and cooking courses which wineries and restaurants are offering. Go look up your favourite wineries see what specials or virtual events they are organizing! Stay healthy and keep drinking good wine.

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