I was recently at the presentation of the Viniplus Guide 2022 by Ais Lombardia, wine guide now in its 16th edition. This year Viniplus will also be sustainable as it is not printed and can only be consulted via the dedicated web app. As much as I am the first to love printed paper and to publish a book dedicated to aspiring sommeliers exclusively in the printed version, I am convinced that for all guides, wine, food, hotels, travel, a smartphone app makes much more sense. This is not only for the sake of the environment, which is still a central theme nowadays, or because of the painstakingly sustainable printing costs if one wants to work fairly, but above all to meet the needs of the users. If a book is 'forever', a guidebook on the other hand has a seasonality and duration. Besides, by now the smartphone is an extension of our hands, why carry an extra book? Not only that: say we are out and about and have the chance to visit a winery, would you like to put the convenience of having a guide accessible from your phone? Bravo therefore to Ais Lombardia, which also publishes the regional magazine on FSC paper®

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The Viniplus 2022 guide by Ais Lombardia can be consulted free of charge at this link and this makes it an exceptional tool for promoting the wines from Lombardytoo often overshadowed by those of more emblazoned regions. I welcome the commercial operation of the Franciacorta Consortiumable with marketing initiatives of the highest level to demonstrate that Lombardy is there and shines in the firmament of the quality wine.

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In this article you will find photos of some Franciacorta wines I tasted during press time at thepresentation event at The Westin Palace Hotel, Repubblica area, Milan. But Lombardy is much more than FranciacortaThere are famous names such as theOltrepò Pavesevery small names such as the Moscato di Scanzounknown' names such as Capriano del Colle and 'heroic' names such as the Valtellina. I limited myself to sampling mainly Franciacorta wines because I only had an hour due to staggered entries and had to make choices... and having just come back from a wonderful Press Tour in Oltrepò Pavese at Tenuta Mazzolino and tasting Lands of Pinot Noir I decided to change the area!

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Ais Lombardia courses and Viniplus Guide 2022

132 sommeliers reviewed 267 wineries and 902 wines from Lombardy. The Viniplus 2022 guide is a splendid project of Ais Lombardia aimed at promoting the regional territory at a gastronomic level and the training, qualification and professional updating of the sommelier figure.

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Sebastiano Baldinu, editor of the Viniplus 2022 Guide, in his speech complimented the participation of the Lombardy companies, thanks to which the guide is truly a faithful tool capable of drawing a fairly accurate portrait of the oenological situation in Lombardy. "The number of Gold Roses in this edition, a good 100, testifies to an increasingly important attention on the part of the companies not only to general quality, but also to the link with the territory they belong to, which is also protected and defended from an environmental point of view.

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The awarding of the Rosa Comuna d'Oro not only takes into account the organoleptic characteristics of the wines, but also rewards the production coherence of each winery, especially if it is oriented towards enhancing the grape variety, the type of wine and the specific production area.

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"The Green Roses report wines containing substantially low amounts of sulphur dioxide. The limit set is 75 mg/l total SO2. It is an indication for the consumer and must not be confused or superimposed on the concept of 'organic wine'.

By the way, have you read my article on sulphur dioxide?

ais lombardy guide viniplus 2022

"The Camune Roses, from 1 to 4, are awarded according to the results obtained by the individual wines during the tasting. The different scores were assigned by the commissioners on the basis of the tasting technique developed by AIS".

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"This year, AIS Lombardy is delighted to offer a wide-ranging and in-depth edition, first and foremost to all its almost 6,000 members and to the production world of Lombardy," comments Hosam Eldin Abou Eleyoun, President AIS Lombardia. "The number of excellences has grown considerably, demonstrating the great work being done in all the provinces of Lombardy. More than 90 % of the wine produced in our region has a denomination, and from year to year a widespread enhancement of all the wine districts that we are fortunate to have in Lombardy emerges strongly.

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At this point, I want to bring you some excerpts from the presentations of the Viniplus 2022 Guide by the authorities. They are intelligent and hopeful words that strike at the heart, especially at such a historic moment. You can read the full speeches on the guide's official website https://www.viniplus.wine/lista-editoriali/ and I remind you that you have to register for free to consult all pages.

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Hosam Eldin Abou Eleyoun - President AIS Lombardia

Dear colleagues,

It is immensely satisfying to have completed work again this year on the new edition of the Viniplus guide, available online for members, enthusiasts and professionals. Despite the difficulties of the moment, our team of tasters managed to organise the tasting sessions in total safety. This meticulous work involved many colleagues who carried out their task with passion, seriousness and commitment.

The result does not surprise us at all. On the contrary, it confirms the unstoppable growth in the quality of Lombardy's wine, thanks to the hard work of producers, true guardians of tradition and wine culture, and increasingly environmentally aware. Sustainability has become a philosophy of life and an incentive to defend the environment around us. The last two years have scarred us all, but Lombardy's spirit and determination have once again made the difference. Now onwards, together, because it will not be enough to win the war against the virus. We must go back to filling the premises, to being together and to toasting with Lombard wines.

Raise your glasses and good reading to all.

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Attilio Fontana - President of the Lombardy Region

I am delighted to introduce the Viniplus 2022 Guide, by now a constant in the promotion of the excellence of Lombardy's chalice. Even more pleased to note that the historical moment has not prevented us from looking to the future with confidence and the usual dedication to the present, strong in our precious wine heritage. [...] AIS Lombardy confirms itself as a fundamental interlocutor in the promotion of the sector, with its territorial delegations capable of reaching the best sommeliers and companies with capillarity, for continuous training and in-depth analysis. Highly functional aspects for the communication of glasses and territories.

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Fabio Rolfi - Councillor for agriculture, food and green systems

Wine is the product that best represents a territory and can be the symbol of the economic recovery of various sectors, first and foremost agriculture, tourism and catering. Lombardy can boast a heritage of more than 90 cultivated grape varieties and a wine quality that is increasingly known and appreciated worldwide. The challenge for the future is to consolidate domestic consumption and explore new markets by telling the outside world about the indissoluble bond between wine and the territories of Lombardy, the increasingly sustainable production techniques and the agricultural work behind a label. For this reason, the work of narration is fundamental and the Viniplus guide has for years represented a milestone for those who cultivate a passion for wine and for those who wish to get to know our region also through the excellence it has to offer. In the first six months of 2021, demand for Lombard wines abroad increased by 11.7%, a decisive recovery compared to last year. Domestic purchases have also shown a growth that is destined to consolidate as the months go by and that is rewarding quality production characterised by a strong bond with the territory, of which Lombardy can boast one of the widest offers not only on the Italian scene, but also internationally. Our region boasts 90% of Quality Denomination wines, thanks to 5 DOCG, 21 DOC and 15 IGT. [...] Doing research and promoting the knowledge of our products is also extremely important in terms of tourism. The Lombardy Region concretely believes in the wine industry, with economic, communication and label quality enhancement measures.

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Lara Magoni - Councillor for Tourism, Territorial Marketing and Fashion

[...] After difficult months, with the health emergency caused by the pandemic, the relaunch of Lombardy also passes through tourism and food and wine. Two added values that have always constituted an indissoluble pair: the possibility of appreciating territories and places thanks also to itineraries of taste represents a notable attractive factor, an enrichment of the spirit and soul. And wine, in this virtuous path, is certainly the symbol of restarting, because each goblet encloses a territory that corresponds to a world made of sacrifice and passion: operators, workers, professionals of a sector, the wine sector, son of commitment, study, application and scientific rigour. But above all, of love for an intoxicating product. [...] The whole of Lombardy is talking about wine, telling its story through the bubbles, the great whites, reds and rosés that are giving considerable satisfaction to producers and the millions of customers who choose our labels every year. [...] The winning factor of our wines? Undoubtedly the strong territorial connotation, a link with the roots that starts with the first grape and ends up on consumers' tables. A territorial connotation that once again unites tourism and food and wine tradition: the desire to tell the story of Lombardy through the excellence of places is a successful element. And of hope for the future.

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Luigi Bortolotti - Head Taster AIS Lombardy

It is a great satisfaction to have once again this year optimally completed the tastings for our regional guide Viniplus 2022, which are also used to compile the section dedicated to Lombardy in the National Vitae Guide. I must of course thank all the tasters who made themselves available and participated in the various tasting commissions. A heartfelt thank you also goes to all the sommelier tasters involved for the organisational logistics required before, during and after the tasting sessions.
Perfectly organising the cataloguing of the more than 1000 wines that arrived is not easy and requires a precise, punctual and daily commitment for about a month. Even organising the succession and service of wines during the tasting phases requires precision, constant attention and sure professionalism. Temperatures need to be controlled, tasting batteries need to be set up with all the bottles covered and labelled, individual labels need to be served only to the specific taster to whom they are assigned, and without ever making mistakes. In addition to being tasted blind, the same bottle is evaluated at the same time by three different commissions that, during the tasting, must not and cannot communicate with each other, just as no commissioner can communicate with anyone else on his or her own commission.
Once this is done, there is then the phase of the equally demanding collection and cataloguing of the scores, the reworking of the descriptions of each wine, which is carried out according to the notes of the various commissions, and finally there is the final check of all the data and descriptions to avoid oversights or errors. […]

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Viniplus 2022, AIS Lombardy: The tastings

As he explains Luigi BortolottiThis year we used the new points card of the Italian Sommelier Association, which will be officially adopted during the 2022 courses: it allowed us to enhance the value of the wines even more by introducing more detailed and precise parameters.

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The group of AIS Lombardy tasters that during the year participates in a training course aimed at deepening and improving tasting techniques in relation to grape varieties and territories is an increasingly experienced and well-prepared group.

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The wines were tasted strictly blind, following AIS methodology, by commissions composed of AIS tasters from the Lombardy region. You can discover the sommelier tasters who took part in the selections, held at the Quality Hotel San Martino in Garbagnate Monastero (LC) on 12, 13, 19 and 20 June 2021 by clicking HERE.

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I close this article by pointing out the Franciacorta DOCGs I liked best (in order of tasting): Anna Maria Clementi Rosé 2011 by Ca' del Bosco, Cru Perdu 2011 Castello Bonomi, Cascina San Pietro Riserva del Ventennale 2011, Faccoli Extra Brut 2015, Riserva Secono Novo Le Marchesine 2012, Ricci Curbastro Museum Release 2009, Santus Dosaggio Zero and Comarì del Salem 2014 by Uberti.

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Thank you for the invitation, as always it was a pleasure to participate.

Cheers 🍷


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