The SOMM Journal

August / September 2017

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Page 126 of 148

From bottom left: Alberto Lazzarino, Directing Winemaker, Banfi Piemonte; Giuseppe Roncoletta, Cellar Ambassador, Fontana Candida; Christian Zulian, Director, Bolla; Andrea Sartori, Family Proprietor, Sartori di Verona; Lars Leicht, National Director, Cru Artisan Wines; Maurizio Broggi, Creator, Italian Wine Scholar Program, Wine Scholar Guild; Roberto Magnisi, Quality Control Director, Florio; Gabriele Pazzaglia, Cellarmaster, Castello Banfi; Enrico Cerulli, Family Proprietor, Cerulli Spinozzi. TASTING OUR WAY THROUGH THE SYLLABUS OF BANFI'S 2017 CRU ARTISAN COLLEGE TOUR by Jessie Birschbach It was 2015, when I was working as a sommelier, that I first attended Banfi's Cru Artisan College (CAC) educa- tion seminar series as a "student." I was amazed at National Director Lars Leicht's ability to quickly process and translate Italian, transfixed by Cerulli Spinozzi owner Enrico Cerulli's golden-tinged curls and charm and astounded at the breadth and caliber of the Cru Artisan wines, the luxury selections from Banfi's portfolio. Now, as a full-time wine editor at The Somm Journal, I was privileged to follow the Cru Artisan winemakers for the entirety of their three-city 2017 tour. CAC is in its fourth year, and through my seasoned eyes the educational trade tasting has evolved. This year's program focuses on the portfolio's Italian wines, perhaps to help those taking on the daunting task of decoding the enologi- cal side of that country. Additionally, the group has partnered with the Wine Scholar Guild (WSG), which provides study and certification programs regard- ing the wines of France, Italy and Spain, to enhance CAC materials. Added to the roster of Italian winemakers was Maurizo Broggi, creator of the WSG's Italian Wine Scholar program. Broggi served to paint the tour's broader strokes, while the winemakers colored Italy's maps with a finer brush. It's possible that these changes con- tributed to the CAC's most successful tour yet; the seminars in all three cities–– Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.––sold out. The more likely cause: word of mouth. As in years past, each day comprised five keynotes, food pair- ings and a blind tasting competition. The only negative in 2017? Enrico Cerulli has chopped off his curls. But he's still just handsome, and the bottom line: If you weren't there, you missed out. There's no way I can convey the sheer volume of information—and humor—in the stories told, both in Italian and in thickly accented English, so I'm simply going to touch on each of the incredible wines showcased. An Italian Education 126 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

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