One of the greatest joys in my life is exploring fine wine with all my senses. It's been a while since my wine business days, so I was delighted to attend this year's Gambero Rosso. Tasting the award winning wines was like having a dance with dear old friends, each with their own special character and style. No one wine is alike, that's the beauty of it.

My wine days were somewhat extraordinary, managing some of the world's best brands from the first families in wine, Marchese Antinori, Masi Agricola Amarone, Krug and Charles Heidsieck and Piper Heidsieck Champagne. I had no idea when I took the position (at Remy Martin at the time) how it would completely rock my world and create a sensorial foundation for everything to come. I'm grateful for the experience early in my career to help align my purpose and passion for food and beverages forever. Luckily, it's a lifetime of learning!

Today, I'm tasting ranges of superfruit juices, veggie burgers, yogurt and peanut butter! Yet when I taste it's the same evaluation, looking at appearance, nosing for aromas, tasting for levels of flavor, mouthfeel, texture, length, finish, balance, satisfaction and distinctiveness. What was the overall experience like? Do I want another sip or bite? How does one sip compare to another?

When tasting Custoza last week at the Gamberro Rosso,
it was variations on a theme...and all Liquid Gold.

Follow your nose, and in Custoza DOC you will find fresh,ripe, tropical fruit…floral notes of lily of the valley, hints of almonds,honey, herbs and balsamic… white wines with a rich mouthfeel and great minerality… and a melange of so many beautiful Italian white grapes: Garganega, Bianca Fernanda, Trebbianello, Malvasia, Riesling Italico, Pinot Bianco, and more.

And what a treat to taste the 2022 Tre Bicchieri award winners! A beautiful range of flavors from the Veneto, Lombardy, Fruili, Umbria, Tuscany, Piedmont, the Veneto, and Puglia. My favorites: (bianco): the Ribolla (ginger, white pepper, smokey almond), grechetto (citrus), rosso, grignolino (easy, earthy strawberry, black pepper), barolo of Serralunga (deep, tannic), single vineyard barbera (structured, full body Nizza Generala Riserva 2017).
After the Master Class I briefly attended the main room, scanning for some familiar labels and found Vietti Barolo (Piedmonte), Feudo Montoni (Sicily) and Masi Mazzano Amarone (a brand I used to manage for Dr. Sandro Boscaini, Mazzano is a very special and highly allocated single vineyard. I'll never forget the day we visited the three hillsides with journalists and compared the intensity of Mazzano with Serego Alighieri Vaio Armaron and Campolongo, one of the best days of my life, and truly memorable because of the tasting trio.

When I share these stories, many people ask, "why did you ever leave the wine business?!" It's a complex story, with a lot of nuances. You never really leave fine wine, because your heart and palette are with you for life. I've always followed my nose to my next opportunity. Wine led me briefly to espresso (Lavazza), then to stuffing! (Pepperidge Farm) then to the agency side managing strategic CPG projects in food and spirits (good fun with Wild Turkey Bourbon and Bailey's).

The past ten years at joyfulplate have been busy leading projects as diverse as grain-free bread, gelato, moscato, tea, sea salt, pickles, pastries (and pet food!!) but it would be a pleasure to support your special wine or spirit (or non alcoholic brand like the one we named recently, Spirity) to help tell your story in thoughtful and experiential ways. Cheers!

Michelle & team.
Thirsty for more? join us TUESDAY MARCH 7 to hear the latest trends in beverage next week at THE NEXT BIG SIP. Tap into the collective knowledge of this amazing panel of women at this year’s panel discussion. Ticket sales benefit our annual scholarship awards fund.

Purchase Tickets here.

* Author/Journalist Amy E. Zavatto @amy-zavatto
* Philana Bouvier, President of Demeine Estates @demeine-estates
* Alisa Bowens-Mercado of Rhythm Brewing Co. @rythymbrewingco⁠ @alisa-bowens-mercado
* Robin Epperson McCarthy @robineherepp of Saltbird Cellars
Kara Newman @karanewman of Wine Enthusiast @wineenthusiast⁠
* Lydia Richards of Hispanics In Wine & Vino Concierge @lrichards16 @vino-concierge

#TheNextBigSip Partners: Investors Bank @investorsbank and SevenFifty @sevenfiftyhq @sevenfiftydaily.

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