Heather is taking a sommelier course in Lucca and we have a wine professional development course we are working on, so Heather suggested we go to the ‘Anteprima‘. The Anteprima, an annual event, is a large scale wine exhibition where Tuscan coast vinters debut their new wines (about 400 labels) and it was held at Real Collegio in Lucca. The event cost about 35 Euro to the public, with discounts available to the press and those in the industry. I registered as a wine retailer from America and was given my entry badge which was worn around my neck to carry my empty wine glass in and free my hands. In addition to wines, there was also cooking demonstrations, art installations and food.
The first floor of the exhibition was local food purveyors selling their products, looking for new distributors and seeking to expose new people to their products. As you can see below, plenty of pastries, sandwiches, jellies and jams, salumi, formaggi, bread and the like were on display in the courtyard.
You may recognize this photo below of the charismatic Paolo Nutini, wearing his signature western bandana, as he was in the photos from last year’s trip on my first blog entry. His father was one of the instructors on the salumi course I took with Heather. After some conversation and sampling, we headed up to the wine tasting level.
Wine Wine everywhere! Two grande hallways with rooms and tables setup with official sommeliers (fully uniformed with official sommelier pins) poured the wines you wanted to sample. You may notice little black buckets and in some photos, huge barrels with large funnels. Yes, those are spitoons. Italians spit. And they spit everywhere. In the beginning, I just didn’t like the idea of spitting in front of people and I didn’t like the idea of wasting these delicious wines. But… about an hour in, I started to become drunk and, well, I figured out that if I wanted to be able to walk in a straight line and not fall over, I better start spitting also! lol
We worked our way down one hallway, which showcased all the wine premiers grouped by region. I told heather I needed a break, it was time for lunch so we headed back down to the courtyard and purchased a panino di porchetta. This lovely pig was roasted over a wood fire to make a delicious sandwich:
All in All, we spent about four hours at the tasting and I was finished. Not another drop could I handle. We found a nice nearby cafe where we sat to have espresso while each of us caught up on work items on our mobile phones, emails, missed calls, hotel confirmations, etc.