The Pleasant Effects of Slow Wine in New York
Anyone in the U.S. seeking a fast introduction to the “slow wines” of Italy could do no better than attend one of the annual tastings sponsored by Slow Food Editore. This Italy-based publishing house produces books and magazines devoted to the burgeoning Slow Food movement, with its mission to promote clean and sustainable agriculture and to protect heritage plants and animals and artisanal food and wine products. In recent years the firm has hosted mid-winter Slow Wine tastings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Each event featured Italian wineries recognized for “bottles of outstanding sensory quality, capable of condensing in the glass territory-related values such as history and identity, as well as offering good value for money,” according to the booklet for tasting notes provided to each attendee.
The New York Slow Wine 2015 event took place on February 2 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, at a cost of $60 per ticket ($45 for early bird buyers), which included a copy of Slow Food Editore’s just-released Slow Wine 2015 ($25).
This interesting and useful book provides details on 328 Italian cellars—not only descriptions of and recommendations for specific bottles but also information on matters such as who owns each vineyard and their methods of fertilization (if any) and weed control. At the tasting itself, attendees navigated about 40 wine producers using the notes booklet, which identified each winery by name and location in Italy, with certain bottles and vineyards singled out, some for their high degree of adherence to the standards of the Slow Food movement, others for great quality, and some for excellent value at a reasonable price. Each producer offered not only one to three bottles for sampling but also the opportunity to chat with a knowledgeable representative, whether a winery owner, vineyard employee, or wine importer.
In keeping with the principles of Slow Food, many of the winery representatives emphasized the local and historical significance of their particular grape or grapes while pouring. Conversations overheard in Italian as well as English ranged from nuanced discussions of vintages to the frequently asked, “How much does it cost?” (a question that went unanswered more than might be expected). Some amiable winery agents even offered suggestions for Italian agriturismo destinations.
A few refreshments were provided (mainly salumi and crackers), and each tasting station had its own pitcher of ice water and dump bucket. It should be noted, however, that no one appeared to be spitting out or even pouring out the wine; attendees seemed more concerned to savor the beverages as part of an after-work social event (a situation greatly enabled, of course, by the fact that most people in the New York City crowd were probably not driving home).
While all three 2015 Slow Wine tasting events in the U.S. have already taken place, interested oenophiles can keep tabs on environmentally- and historically- conscious Italian cellars and related events by liking Slow Wine on Facebook and subscribing to Slow Wine Magazine, which has recently been made available online. Whether or not you are inclined to believe scientific studies proclaiming the health benefits of wine consumption, the Slow Food movement holds great potential to support significant aspects of Italy’s food and beverage heritage as well as the beauty of its rural landscapes. And don’t worry: “slow” wine provides the expected pleasant effects of a nice glass just as quickly and effectively as the wines you’re already drinking.
Slow Wine NYC and VINO Italian Wine Week weew teaming up for the biggest Italian wine tasting of the year at a spectacular event in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. VINO Italian Wine Week, the leading Italian wine event in the United States, returns after three previously successful editions in 2009, 2010 and 2011. We are delighted to bring VINO 2015 back to the US,” said Pier Paolo Celeste, the Italian Trade Commissioner in New York. “Leading industry experts will discuss the present state of the Italian wine industry and what trends may shape the future. It’s a very exciting event open to all trade professionals.”