The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

An Afternoon with Antonio Galloni

Posted on | March 15, 2011 | Written by Christy Canterbury | 2 Comments

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to taste with Antonio Galloni, the longtime Italian wine critic for The Wine Advocate. Interestingly perhaps for the readers of Inside IWM, I was neither in Italy nor was Antonio reviewing Italian wines. Rather, he was tasting 2009 red Burgundy.

I’d casually met Antonio on a few previous occasions in New York. When I recently heard he would begin reviewing California wines, I was significantly surprised as this historically has been Robert Parker’s territory. The surprise quickly turned to a silent “kudos” for Antonio, for this appointment clearly confirms Parker’s trust in Antonio’s tasting acumen.  Then, when I heard Antonio was reviewing not only Burgundy but the Côte d’Or, a wave of disbelief washed over me. What does Antonio know about Burgundy? Maybe a whole lot, maybe a little, maybe something somewhere in between. Burgundy can be such an insider’s scene that I just couldn’t believe the announcement, even though I had no doubt in Antonio’s competence in assessing the greatest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of the world. In wonderment, I subconsciously began to wait for his first overview of Burgundian wines

As the twists of a trip through France turned out, I ended up tasting with Galloni one afternoon last week.  During the tasting, Antonio was intently quiet but his rapid clickety-clack on the keyboard betrayed his stirring mind. Politely and intellectually inquisitive of the wines’ production and their finely-detailed provenance, he otherwise uttered almost no words.

I can’t wait to read what he writes and compare them to my own notes, all out of the curiosity of cross-referencing another professional’s thoughts. In his first review of Burgundy and many beyond, I wish Antonio all the best with his new and considerable workload and pavement-pounding to taste with producers. It’s not easy. In fact, in one of his very few non-topical statements, Antonio mentioned looking forward to a beer at the end of the day. It may sound ludicrous, but tasting wines all day for two weeks on end is a mentally and physically taxing pursuit that can bring even the most tenacious taster to plead for a modestly bubbly, non-tannic, very gently acidic adult beverage like une bière.

For all of us who await his notes for reasons of varying natures, I send a poignant reminder to always trust one’s own palate and enjoy one’s own adventure in wine.


2 Responses to “An Afternoon with Antonio Galloni”

  1. Tom Powers
    March 15th, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

    Thanks Christy. You always offer a positive approach. I entered into a discussion on Vinography about his recent appointment to California and Burgundy. Certainly he is a worthy palate, but it seems like an extraordinary amount of real estate to cover. I wondered if he is being set up for success. Only time will tell. Certainly we all wish him success.

  2. Christy Canterbury
    March 17th, 2011 @ 11:38 am

    Tom – I agree it’s an awful lot of real estate! So many wines and so many nuances. Antonio is the consummate professional, and he exudes energy. I’m looking forward to reading his thoughts and seeing how the perspective of The Wine Advocate evolves with his palate, too.

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