The North American Sommelier Association and a few of its products have been featured in the LOS ANGELES TIMES. A sincere “thank you!” to Irene Virbila for the write-up.
Monday 22nd of April saw the semi-final and final of the WSA Best Sommelier in the world competition, nestled in a gorgeous setting of an old London hotel (Park Lane Sheraton) and kissed by an unusually sunny and warm springtime weather for this world class city.
The Park Lane Hotel, London (UK)
The semi-final consisted in a brutally intense series of examinations and trials leading to the 3 highest-scoring candidates to take the stage for the afternoon final. A sprint-timed written test of 50 questions from enology & viticulture to enography (wines of the world), blind tastings, food pairing, spirits, beers, producer & label recognition and an oral communication trial.
The list of semi-finalists represents the best the world has to offer from 21 different countries that adhere to the WSA (Worldwide Sommelier Association) “umbrella”:
Albania: Sokol Mdreko
Belgium: Carlo Ferrigno
Brazil: Athila Ross, Diego Dequigiovanni
Canada: Andrea Tonicello
China: Cheng Yi Chen
Czech Republic: Stepan Zraly
France: Jonathan Fillion
Germany: Vasilica Marinella Ardelean
Italy: Andrea Balleri, Dennis Metz, Luca Martini
Latvia: Maksims Merkulovs
Mexico: Juan Carlos Flores Mazon
Peru: Fernando Cubas
Russia: Denis Ovcharenko, Novikov
Romania: Claudiu Stefan Timofti
San Marinio: Elida Sota
Singapore: Matteo Lussana
Slovenia: David Vasiljevic
South Korea: Oliver Brandeburg
Switzerland: Angelo De Raimondo, Giuseppe Albaceli
USA: Diego Maraviglia
UK: Sam McDonald
Representing the USA and NASA (North American Sommelier Association) was our Vice President & Director of Education DIEGO MERAVIGLIA, who ranked 5th in the overall end results.
“It was heavy! This was one of the most challenging tests I have ever taken and I am very satisfied with the result ! My bad, I ran out of time in the written test and did not answer the last 60-point question which would have most likely resulted in a higher ranking. It was a fantastic experience though and I would do it over again. I ran into old friends, met new colleagues, made new friends and had a great time. I am happy with my ranking and I will try it again in 2 years ! Kudos to the winner Luca Martini (Italy) and to all the other candidates that came from around the world…this took a lot of courage and being there in the semi-final is a great honor for everyone and anyone. I deeply thank the WSA and its President Franco Ricci, VP Antonello Maietta, the local organizers of the event Andrea Rinaldi (UK Sommelier Association) and all the jury as well as all the great Somms that were there to compete…thanks for making it a memorable day ! FOr me this was a victory nonetheless and I dedicate it to all our members, my supporting friends and family as well as the recent victims of Boston.”
NASA’s Diego Meraviglia with the star-spangled banner
The next WSA ‘Best Sommelier In The World’ competition will take place in 2015 in Cancun, Mexico. NASA will run a national selection competition for the 3 best candidates to represent USA for this prestigious title, towards the 2nd half of 2014. Stay tuned !
North American Sommelier Association
WORLDWIDE SOMMELIER ASSOCIATION, LONDON 2013 : PRESS RELEASE.
On Monday 22nd April 2013, The Park Lane Hotel in London will host the finals of the Competition that will crown the Best Sommelier in the World of the Worldwide Sommelier Association.
Arguably one of London’s finest examples of Art Deco, the hotel’s listed, 11,000-square foot Ballroom complex in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, will be the magical backdrop for a unique programme that will bring together and compare the professionalism of Sommeliers from 31 Countries. Three finalists will be selected out of these Sommeliers and presented at 4.00 pm on Monday 22nd April 2013. Promptly after the three finalists’ selection, we will witness a series of very interesting and captivating challenges and performances that will end in the proclamation of the “Best Sommelier in the World 2013″. Immediately after the winner is selected, the announcement will appear on the website www.worldwidesommelier.com
Some well-known producers such as Gaja, Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia, Berlucchi, Antinori, Cantina Terlano, Jermann, Bellavista and Feudi San Gregorio will be showcasing their fabulous wines (see the full list of participants below). Mr. Franco Ricci, the President of the Worldwide Sommelier Association, the largest Association of Sommeliers with over 100,000 members, has declared his enthusiasm in organising the foremost competition in the World of Wine, in the best possible location: London, an internationally renowned leading business centre, and cultural melting pot for global food and wine. Co-hosts will be the UK Sommelier Association, headed by the President Mr. Andrea Rinaldi and his General Manager Ms. Federica Zanghirella. Their main duty will be overseeing the smooth running of the day’s events as well as being the crucial contact for all logistics.
The NORTH AMERICAN SOMMELIER ASSOCIATION is proud to announce that our Vice President and Director Of Education DIEGO MERAVIGLIA will be representing NASA in this acclaimed international competition.
We wish him the very best of luck !
NASA NorCal district manager MAURO CIRILLI, Sommelier / Master Taster and Wine Director at the San Francisco famous PRESS CLUB, was featured in the Tasting Panel magazine for his innovative and pioneering wine program featuring one of the most ingenious tools ever invented in wine.
The journalistic heading EXAMINER has released a great piece on the Sicily seminar that the North American Sommelier Association held for its members at the Valentino Restaurant in Santa Monica.
Thank you to Roberta Rinaldi for the awesome article !
It is with great pleasure that we announce that the North American Sommelier Association has finally expanded into the Canadian territory. Thanks to the hard work of our National Chapters Liaison Officer, Silvio Di Silvio, & the treasured cooperation of our Montreal delegate, Carmine Caravaggio, NASA will open its services in the Canadian hub of MONTREAL with our signature ‘Italian Wine Specialist Certification’ !
The course dates are : MARCH (2013) 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th & exam on the 24th
Enrollment will open soon !
The North American Sommelier Association looks forward to a promising and exciting 2013 in Canada.
The Marche region, located on the east coast of central Italy, offers the perfect scenario to grow vines. 97% of the territory is comprised of sweet rolling hills that slope into the Adriatic sea. Beautiful sun exposure and mineral soil provide perfect nutrients to the vines, and plenty of rivers cross the green countryside west to east.
In Le Marche some important indigenous varietals thrive, giving remarkable wines like Verdicchio, Pecorino and Passerina (white varietals) and Montepulciano, Lacrima and Vernaccia, among red grapes.
Q: Are sommeliers and wine buyers finally starting to catch on to the regions wines in US? Which wines in particular from the Garofoli family production are doing well?
Le Marche wines have been regular stars on wine lists for decades in the US; the trend to offer one or more Marche wines by the glass is fairly new. San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City jumped on Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Conero Montepulciano five to ten years ago and today the most picky wine lovers and professionals love Marche region wines.
From the family production, Podium Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore or Grosso Agontano Conero DOCG are no doubt the main characters – always rewarded Tre Bicchieri Gambero Rosso for the past decade.
Q: Garofoli is one of the biggest producers in the region, about 1 million bottles produced each year. Large production may not be appealing in some wine communities, what is the Garofoli family doing to preserve quality and reputation?
Garofoli always respected and promoted Le Marche land with the typical passion of a family. Don’t forget that in Italy, “big” doesn’t mean “corporate” as it does here in the States. Garofoli is a family of ‘down to earth’ growers/producers. The family has owned the winery since 1871, while most of their Marche competitors started in 1970′s and 1980′s.
Sometimes it is more challenging to offer a great quality and traditional wine producing a million bottles, than producing just a small amount of very expensive bottles of what the market is demanding for what is fashionable.
Many times in the past 141 years, Garofoli has been the innovator and leader in raising quality standards, collaborating with agronomy universities and the Italian wine legislation. Garofoli never hired a consultant winemaker to show off a famous name; a member of the family is always in charge for winemaking choices or vine growing. In addition, Garofoli never invested in planting to international grape varietals – Bordeaux or Burgundy style – in fact, they always believed in indigenous varietiels, offering worldwide the excellence from Le Marche with no compromise.
Q: Sangiovese and Montepulciano from Le Marche. How different will these varietals taste vs other regions?
Montepulciano of Marche region comes from an incredible area. Conero district in particular is a mountain that slopes down into the sea, the vines here thrive in an abundant chalky soil, giving a beautiful and rare minerality. Sangiovese here is lighter and fruitier compared to other regions and perfect to match with grilled fish and tomatoe-based fish soup, or as a co-star in some of the most important Marche DOCs.
Q: Verdicchio is the leading varietal in Le Marche, can you please describe what makes this terrific Italian white so special and why?
Verdicchio is for sure one of the most important white Italian grape varietals worldwide, with Greco, Cortese and Friulano. Verdicchio’s typical high minerality, together with a great texture and bright acidity make this variety great for aging and food pairing – see Serra Fiorese DOCG Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva: complex minerality, floral and herbaceous notes, dry, crisp, very persistent, a fine wine with a great personality.
Giammario Villa – Master Taster, Certified Sommelier, Italian Wine Specialist and Brand Ambassador in the US market for premium wines under the label Giammario Villa Wine Selection*. Official teacher, board member and Marketing Director of NASA (North American Sommelier Association.) Graduated member of AIS (Italian Sommelier Association.) Wine Instructor at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA Extension) one of the world’s most prestigious and respected institutions of higher learning.
*In collaboration with EuropVin – a Cristopher Cannan-Bordeaux based company, and Mike Miller’s Golden State Wine Company, wine distributor since 1982.
Map provided by CellarTours : http://www.cellartours.com
The grape harvest in some Italian regions has begun. With the peak of solar activity in 2012, the general expectation was geared toward a warm, ripe and early harvesting vintage. What we can say now is…very little. It is still too early to make predictions on the quality of the vintage.
This summer holiday season has been so excessively hot and dry. In the majority of Italian wine regions there have NOT been problems with diseases, with the exception of a few downy mildew attacks during the first half of June. The constant wind and high temperatures have also significantly lowered the risk of fungal disease for grapes.
The problem? Poor or absent rainfall (especially in central and southern Italy) is still putting at risk the quality of this vintage for those vineyards that grow in dry soils and shallow terrains. We already notice very low levels of malic acid. Only good soil management and a not-too-invasive pruning practice can maintain good nutritional status of the clusters and thus allow for a linear and safe fermentation.
Contrary to common belief, excessive sunshine and hot-dry weather does not result in ‘bigger’ wines from overripe grapes. To the contrary, the plant will go into shutdown due to hydric stress and the clusters will NOT reach ripeness. Photosynthesis will interrupt. It may appear that fruit ripens due to increases in Brix, but that is often a result of simple dehydration, not actual import of sugar.
Flavors in the fruit tend to develop in the last few weeks, so late growing-season stress also affects flavor development. This may result in mono-dimensional, low acid, non- agable and flabby wines for the most part of the 2012 Italian vintage (exceptions made for great producers).
Another 2003? Looks likely…and we can all blame it on the Mayan sun. My advice ? Be picky when you buy your 2012’s.
The newspaper Italo Americano (Italian) interviewed NASA VP Diego Meraviglia in occasion of the regional dinners organized with OBIKA Century City.
For all the Italian readers, you can view the interview here : READ THE INTERVIEW (Italian)
The North American Sommelier Association was awarded the prestigious City of Los Angeles Certificate of Recognition by mayor Villaraigosa. The award was presented to NASA President Alessia Botturi in occasion of the VIVA VINO 2012 launch event, held at Caffe Roma in Beverly Hills, CA.
VIVA VINO is the signature event of the North American Sommelier Association in partnership with the Italy-American Chamber of Commerced West and Please The Palate.
Everyone at the association is extremely grateful for to the city of Los Angeles for its support and recognition and looks forward to further successes in the years to come.