The anticipated #barbera2 event finally took place on this breezy cool Saturday in Nizza Monferrato. At 10:00 in the morning, the bottles were lined up and ready, strangers and twitter friends acquainted, ready for a gripping experience.

Wow… was I nervous to walk into a group of wine experts and be a part of this 100 person closed Barbera tasting. Then I saw the lights, the thousands of glasses, the videocameras, and the meticulous organization of the tables and chairs and that is when I started fully freaking out! “Why am I here?”, I kept thinking! I could just see myself knocking over one of those glasses, starting a disastrous domino effect. My heart was thumping louder than the speakers’ voice on the microphone. Luckily wine has the ability to loosen you up a bit:)

Then out come the Sommeliers, the students at the professional hotel/management school who elegantly shoot out in lines with bottles in hand. Thankfully I started relaxing while listening to the anthropologist Lucia Galasso talk about Barbera origins, wine experts like Maurizio Gily talk about more technical aspects like the increasing alcohol percentage in wine.  Then of course we started learning about the individual realities of each and every wine to be tasted from the American and Italian winemakers.

The wines were an explosion of flavor. As we discussed during the day, Barbera has an unbelievable capability to adapt and take on its own characteristics from each terroir or microclimate. The Californian Barberas were BOLD, ROUND, and AROMATIC, and there was something that took me back home right there in that little (big) glass. Then there were the very different Italian Barberas, REFINED, ELEGANT and perhaps easier to drink with food. No surprise from a country like Italy.

After the hard-working organizers Gianluca Morino and Monica Pisciella introduced themselves and each producer described their wine, Stefano Calosso suprised us all with individual vines for all the people involved in #Barbera2 which will be planted in memory of this extraordinary day.

As if that wasn’t enough, there were well-thought out buses ready to take us to Gianluca’s Cascina Garitina in Nizza Monferrato (one of the wines present in the tasting) where we were greeted with lots of food and of course more wine. Additionally we were taken on a tour of the “cantina”. Some people chose to lay on the grass, others to dress up in costume and some just kept on tasting wines.

Then, another expat Robbin, Claudio and I were basically kidnapped by a crazy winemaker Rino from VARALDO WINERY (Barbaresco) in his minivan. I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile as we drove around in circles like madmen killing time, amused by this hilarious character.

More wine…dinner time at Enoteca Regionale di Nizza Monferrato. Down into a cellar we went, to find a warm and intimate atmosphere. I finally had a vegetarian menu at disposition and the best part is that they gave me raw vegetables with olive oil! During the dinner, poetry was read, jazz music was played and friendships were intensified.  Unfortunately the incredible day had to end for us but the memory will last for a lifetime!
– Thank you to all of you who made this happen!

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