The alarm goes off at 4:00am, then two hours in the car to get to Malpensa, I park, and at 7:15am I board the plane for London Heathrow. Serene skies, seamless flight, soft landing. I catch the train for Paddington Station and turn back the hands of my watch an hour to London time. It’s 9:00am, and I am tired, but my day has still yet to begin. I change two lines on the London Underground, walk 200 meters and find myself in front of the very famous Lord Cricket Ground, the temple of English cricket. The stadium peaks my curiosity, especially for the perfection of the grass turf and the strange signs on the field, but I am here to present my wine to a specialized English public and so I go in search of the pavilion where the definitive Italian wine tasting is due to take place. My tasting table was prepared with precision and efficiency by Ellis of Richmond, my wine representative in this region. I keep company with other Italian producers of excellent quality wine, including Giuseppe Vercesi, representing ‘Oltrepò Frecciarossa, the “Japanese of the Marches” Claudio Luconi of Conti di Buscareto, the very dear Viviana Bett of the Venetian Bortolotti and the lovely “wine twitter fan” Susanna Crociani of the eponymous Crociani located at Montepulciano. The wine tasting continues until 6:30pm and I must say that among my wines, the Barolo Serralunga 2006 generated considerable interest, due also to the fact that it was recently awarded the gold medal on Decanter. The Langhe Bianco 2009 also aroused curiosity, being composed of the Nascetta grape, which for an unknown variety was quite broadly admired.
Fatigue begins to make itself felt, I inadvertently break a glass and I knock over an ice bucket, Louise e Matthew shoot me a glare, but then, smiling, help me to put everything back in order.
The wine tasting ends and we regroup to enjoy a fresh and well-deserved English beer, while Matthew Cooper, the buyer for Ellis, tries to explain the rules of cricket. From what I understand, it is a sport in which strategy is very important and, above all, patience… some matches can last as long as five days !
At dinner we are joined by James Ellis, the owner of Ellis of Richmond, and he invites us to a very good Thai restaurant where we end the evening in a heated debate over social networking and in particular my blog. I hope to have convinced him to follow it, and who knows, perhaps he will start one himself in the future. I am certain that he would have much to say, given that his family has been in the wine business since 1822.
At 11:30pm I return to my hotel and the next morning my alarm goes off at 6:00am so that I can catch my return plane to Italy. Mission accomplished, I now return to my vineyards.