Each February, thousands of wine professionals descend upon Florence to be a part of the introduction of new release wines for Consorzio (ie. consortium) members. This is event is consistently one of the most well-organized of all of the events I attend each year (ProWein, BenvenutoBrunello, VinItaly, Vinnatur, etc.). This is a chance to taste, learn, share, etc., and it’s always time well spent. A well organized event means it’s a fun event – I like fun events. Who doesn’t?
That said, this year’s event begins in just a few weeks; I’m excited as I already know the quality of the 2016 Chianti Classico wines to be quite high. Consumers will want to place orders early. During my most recent trip (October-December 2019) I had a chance to taste several dozen (yet to be released) wines, and I’m excited for the growers, and, for the consumers, too.
As you can see from the photos below, the space/venue is huge, which is to say, it’s ideal, as there are many hundreds (474 in 2019) of newly-released wines including: Chianti Classico, CC Riserva, Gran Selezione, etc., from several vintages as many wines are released at different moments in time according to DOCG laws, but also to winemaker preferences (i.e. when they think the wine is ready).
The former train station (Leopalda) where this event is held is spacious, bright, and, surprisingly, doesn’t get too noisy. I mention such details because when one is spending 6,7 or 8 hours a day in one room (divided into two spaces, separated by a thin curtain), things like this really matter. The ability to hear what producers/winemakers are sharing with you, the ability to concentrate on what’s in the glass, etc., are critical success and enjoyment factors; when deciding which fairs to attend each year, these things really matter.
Arriving early has its benefits – no waiting!
It’s important to outline a tasting strategy early on: (1) get through the producers you know first (all of day 1, about 8 hours of tasting minus 15 minutes for lunch, (2) most of day 2 will be devoted to producers I know less intimately, but I’m aware of their increasing quality each year, so it’s nice to check in. Even with two full days, there’s just not enough time to (properly) evaluate (all of) these wines.
I hope this look (kind of behind the scenes) is of help and interest. Feel free to comment or email.