The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2013

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Los Angeles Goes Italian ITALIAN VARIETALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT AT 2013 VINO CALIFORNIA photos by Rob Brown Marcello Miali, winemaker at Puglia's Cantine Miali. W hen Vino California rolled through Los Angeles in mid-May, it brought enough Italians with it to stock the rosters of several futbol teams. But these visitors were not in town to play around: Rather, they were gathered to celebrate all things Italian in a series of events ranging from a Grand Tasting of native Italian wine varietals, to Italian-focused happy hours and pasta-making classes, all of which were designed to celebrate Italy, Los Angeles-style. "Vino California is designed to bring the best of Italy to the Los Angeles trade and consumer," commented Nicolette Teo, VP, Marketing and Events for Blue Lifestyle, THE TASTING PANEL's sister company, which sponsored Vino California 2013. "It's a rare opportunity to bring together so many producers from all over Italy, and give the local trade the chance to meet with them in person." "Obviously Italian wines are hugely important for any industry professional," chimed in Anthony Dias Blue, THE TASTING PANEL's own Editor in Chief. "And we're able to offer an in-depth educational look at not only the country as a whole, but specific regions, such as Calabria, which was the focus of one of our seminars and which had a tremendous presence at the Grand Tasting. I am proud to offer my hometown a chance to meet with these important producers face-toface and taste with some of L.A.'s leading Italian wine experts." "With a total value of 162 billion dollars and with 1.1 million jobs at stake, the U.S. wine market continues to be a key target for Italian wine producers," explained Letizia Miccoli, Executive Director for Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West, Inc., who organized Vino California. "Italy is, in fact, the top supplier of foreign wine exported into the U.S., both in terms of volume and value. With a 25% export market share, Italy needs to continue the promotion of its high-quality, world-renowned products and educating consumers on what goes into their glass. Vino California does exactly that, through grassroot activities such as consumer and trade seminars, tastings and wine-pairing dinners aimed at educating the local palates on Italy's extraordinary enological variety and tradition." During the Grand Tasting, held at L.A.'s Skirball Center, the room was a sea of voices, half English, half Italian. "The best way to introduce our wines to the California trade is to have this opportunity face-to-face," said Marcello Miali, winemaker at Cantine Miali, a small family-owned winery whose roots date back to 1886 and has historically supplied vermouth for Cinzano. "It's also amazing for us to be able to showcase our wines in one room with all of these producers from all over Puglia." But for Miali, Vino California was more than just a showcase—it's a cultural exchange. "I also think California is one of the best places in the world—it is beautiful, and there are some very good wines. It's really interesting to see the way the same grape is grown on the other side of the world!" 92  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2013 TP0713_066-99.indd 92 6/24/13 5:49 PM

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