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Discover Italy's Finest: Highlights from the First Annual Italian Wine Gala at Flatiron Wines & Spirits San Francisco

WIne tasting station at the event
Flatiron 1st Italian Gala Image via Wine By Appointment

Italian Wine Tasting

With great anticipation, we attended the First Annual Italian Wine Gala at Flatiron Wines & Spirits, a premier wine store and tasting salon in downtown San Francisco, in mid-May. We weren't disappointed. The walk-around event featured over 20 renowned producers from different regions of Italy, each bringing their unique wines and perspectives. Over 100 wines were featured at the gala, offering a comprehensive overview of Italy's diverse wine landscape.   It was like taking a mini vacation to Italy! And, always up for a challenge, we armed ourselves with a glass and a spit cup and began sampling as much as possible! 

Wine tasting station at the event.
Flatiron 1st Italian Gala Image via Wine By Appointment

Wine tasting station at the event.
Flatiron 1st Italian Gala Image via Wine By Appointment

Tuscany: Rich Reds and Super Tuscans

First up, Tuscany. Tuscany in Central Italy is well-known for its bold red wine. The gala offered amazing samples that did this area proud. Several beautiful Brunello di Montalcino wines (wine made from 100% Sangiovese clone grapes) were well-represented, with offerings from producers Casanova and Casisano, among others. We also had superb Chianti Classico

(another Sangiovese-based wine) from Barone Riscasoli and Castello di Ama. And let's not forget the Super Tuscans. There were wonderful examples of Super Tuscans from Ornellaia and Gaja (Super Tuscans are powerhouse red wines blended with international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, giving a modern twist to Tuscany's classic flavors.

Piedmont: Nebbiolo Gems And Other Jewels

Next up, we drifted to Piedmont to consider their offerings. There were numerous Barolo and Barbaresco wines available for quaffing and comparison. (You'll recall from my earlier blogs that both Barolo and Barbaresco wines are made from the Nebbiolo grape). Barolo and Barbaresco wines have a somewhat symbiotic relationship. Barolo is considered the more powerful of the two, and Barbaresco is regarded as the more elegant and refined. Both of these wines highlighted the unique terroirs of Piedmont and were a real treat to explore. White wine lovers had an Arneis wine from Roero to sate their appetites. One of my favorite frizzante wines (lightly sparkling) was Brachetto d'Acqui, perfect on a hot summer day.

Veneto: Valpolicella and Sparkling Prosecco

We were delighted to see several offerings from Valpolicella from the Veneto region. I was happy to find several Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, and Amarone del Valpolicella. And of course, we couldn't miss the Prosecco. This sparkling wine made primarily from the Glera grape, added a festive touch to our tasting with its bubbly character.

Southern Italy: Aglianico

One of the highlights of the evening was sampling the Elena Fucci Titolo Aglianico del Vulture from Southern Italy (Basilicata). Aglianico is known for its deep color and robust structure. Known as the Barolo of the South, it shares Barolo's complexity and aging potential but has more pronounced earthy and smoky notes.

Discovering New Favorites

One of the best things about the event was the ability to taste new wines that are hard to find outside of Italy. Examples include the white wine Pecorino from Ciavolich Ghemma from Rovellotti (a wine made from the Nebbiolo grape and can compete quite nicely with Barolo and Barbaresco wines) and Greco di Tufo from Compania (a region in Southern Italy), a marvelous white wine.


Food Galore!

And let's not forget the food! We had an array of Italian hors d'oeuvres that paired perfectly with the wines. There were artisanal cheeses, cured meats, fresh bruschetta, and more. These pairings further enhanced the wine and the food.

The First Annual Italian Wine Gala at Flatiron Wines and Spirits was a fantastic event that comprehensively introduced Italy's diverse wine offerings. We left and are eagerly anticipating next year's event.

If you're in the San Francisco metro area, I highly encourage visiting Flatiron Wines & Spirits. Located downtown at 2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105, it's great to wander through their extensive wine collections.

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