Raffaele, Vintage 1992, Napoletano DOCG.
In these years I’ve had the chance to travel around the world, to discover new places, tastes and smells unknown to me. I’ve met many people connected to the wine world and many others. I’ve learnt two foreign languages and visited four continents. I’ve eaten foods I would never have thought of eating and I have drunk great wines, truly great.
My journey started with achieving a degree in Viticulture and Oenology in 2013, then an infinite number of adventures up until now, then one day I realised that I wanted to write and share my knowledge but above all recount the story of Italy in a divine glass.
I left the city of Naples in 2014 for a work experience at Il Borro, the medieval village bought by the Ferragamo family in 1993. I worked in the vineyards and in the winery to refine the theories I had learnt in my university books. I worked alongside different oenologists and the world famous consultant Stefano Chioccioli.
In 2016 I decided to take a vintage abroad and my heart took me to Panquehue in Santiago, Chile. I worked at Vina Errazuriz, a famous Chilean winery, a producer of a good quantity but above all good quality products.
Maybe you know or have heard of the Chadwick family who also own Seña and Viñedo Chadwick, some of the best wines in all the country. Well, what can I say, a unique experience during which I learnt Chilean more than Spanish and I learnt a lot from a relative point of view about human relationships. Not to even speak about how much I picked up in the winery. The Chilean people are avant-garde, they are professionals and they are great workers. Under the direction of Francisco Baetting as consulting oenologist I helped to produce the best Pinot Noir and Carmenere in the country.
Upon my return to Italy I began my experience with JamesSuckling.com, the highly regarded website which has hundreds of thousands of readers around the world. I became friends with James in 2015 just a few months before I went abroad and when I came back we got busy and I became his only assistant for Italy based in Europe. The other colleagues were split between Argentina, Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia. It was hard but it made me what I am.
My main occupation for JamesSuckling.com was to organise the logistics of the tastings around the world. Thousands of tasting samples have passed through my hands, bottles from all around the world and mainly from nations of great producers of quantity and quality.
With James I had the chance to continue travelling, learning a huge amount in every country we visited. He was a great teacher and the greatest workaholic I’ve ever met. During these three years I drank incredible wines, and I had sensory experiences difficult to explain but impossible to forget. In this way I have created a database of feelings and memories which are fundamental for a journalist.
The experience in Argentina with the best Malbec in the world and the best meat I’ve ever eaten, the experience in Chile speaking face to face with the oenologist Marcelo Papa from Concha y Toro, one of the biggest in the world in terms of the volume of bottles produced and eating the best ceviche of my life with them.
And not only, I have visited and written about the wines from Oregon, their crazy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I have visited the most prestigious vineyards in California and done a tasting of the best American wines at Barboursville, the estate of the Zonin family in Virginia.
I could write more but to summarise I can tell you that I have also been to all Italian regions and visited Bordeaux more than once on different occasions. To Borgogna, Rioja, Alsace and numerous other enchanting places which produce the Great Wines of the World.
During these journeys I’ve had the chance to taste a lot of wines giving my personal opinion, writing my notes and actively helping in the tasting, forming my palate and defining my style.
Not only that but I’ve been able to share thoughts and tastings with other critics known around the world. Now it’s time to work for Italy, to write about its diversity and uniqueness; with twenty regions to be discovered and a thousand and one stories to be told. The palate is ready, energy is charged and the desire to reveal it all to you is great.
If you would like please follow me on my site WinesCritic.com and on Internationalwinereport.com which is an American wine blogger group for whom I am the only reporter in Italy. Lastly you can find me on my Instagram page @raffaelewinescritic leave comments and actively participate.
Let us tell the story of our country together.