Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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  Editorial Issue 18, April 2004   
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Stolen Identities


 Success, everyone knows, can be cause of immense satisfaction as well as the cause of many risks and unpleasing events. One of the risks that can more frequently happen is the emulation and the copy of the thing or event which is having lots of success. This is something very common for almost every human activity - in particular the ones that are capable of providing economic profits - which are usually emulated by the ones having no talent and are not capable to do better but copying the work of others, most of the times in a deplorable and arguable way, in order to conceal the lack of ideas with a disputable slyness. What could not be done in order to be successful! Then if this success is the result of other's work, this is not something to be concerned of, the most important thing is to look like what one certainly is not - and will never be - while trying hard to hide what one is for real as well as clearly realizing there is nothing original and personal to offer.

 This phenomenon, like everyone knows and clearly sees, also involves the wine world and it is often heard about acts of enopiracy against renowned and typical products. Despite the obvious considerations about the morality and questionability of events like those, sad to admit, often favored by weak and too much permissive laws, it is natural to ask the reason why certain acts are permitted and not prevented. In the world of wine, these robberies of identities are not just about the name of a specific product, they also involve names of regions, areas and typical terms. The confusion, detrimental for consumers as well as for the products themselves, is impressive. Of course it certainly is not the name itself that can ensure quality, this is a production concept - as well as of honesty and seriousness - which goes far beyond the simple words used for the identification of a product.


 

 Even the great and famous English writer William Shakespeare, in its stupendous work “Romeo and Juliet”, reminds us - with the words of the romantic Juliet - that a name, after all, does not have any mean and that a rose, even though it could be called with any other name, it would always and however have its sweet aroma. True. It certainly and undoubtedly is true. It is an invitation to the ones who are usually tempted by appearance to consider things in a more attentive and less uncaring way. But this is also true provided it is known how a real rose looks or smells like because, in that case, it could also be possible to recognize it. In case a false rose would be offered to someone who never saw or smelt a real one, as well as supposing this false rose has an unpleasing smell, the credibility of every rose would be severely compromised. For the unlucky individual, not knowing the real facts, all roses would have an unpleasing smell and, according to his or her experience, he or she would also be right.

 In case a name is being used for the identification of a specific product - and therefore also a wine - having proper and specific characteristics, typical and recognizable, it is good to work in order to the safeguarding of those names and to avoid abuses and, above all, dishonest speculation for consumers. Moreover, the safeguarding of names - and therefore the products which are usually called with those names - is essential in order to keep and favoring a credible and correct culture, in particular in those cases where typicality of a territory, including traditional and environmental factors, contribute to make a product unique in its kind. This must be done for wine as well by adopting proper legal and cultural measures. A case that can be cited as an example and happened many years ago, is about Champagne and Cognac. Because of the huge worldwide success of these two products, there have been many producers who tried to use these names for their “similar” products - and certainly different for quality - in order to take advantage from the opportunity offered by the name. Now, and rightly, the names Champagne and Cognac can be used exclusively and only for identifying the two famous French products and exclusively coming from their historical production areas. A very good result that should be applied - and safeguarded - more frequently. Champagne is - and must be - that wine which is produced in the homonymous French region only. It is a matter of correctness, honesty and seriousness, first of all for consumers and, last but not the least, for those producers that work hard in order to keep high and credible the quality of their products, of their lands and their traditions, as well as their cultures.

 After all, it is truly necessary abusing the name of certain wines or other products? The world where we live in is, fortunately, vast and extraordinarily rich in resources that can make unique every place of the earth. In this sense, wine offers excellent examples, in particular thanks to the many producers who believed in the possibilities offered by the lands and that were successful in taking advantage from the local opportunities, therefore creating genuine enological masterpieces. This is something happened in every wine producing country, both in the “Old World” and in the “New World”, therefore confirming that it is enough to observe and understand what one has available in order to create something unique, great, unrepeatable and - last but not the least - unreproducible somewhere else and in case it is reproducible somewhere else, it will certainly be different. Fortunately. This is a good hope for everyone who believes in intelligence and in the richness of diversities. It would be very boring - and sad - to know there is just one and only one wine, similar and replicable everywhere. What a sadness it would be! Tasted one wine, all the others would become known.

 It is an immense satisfaction to know it is not like that. However it is also true it is necessary to spread a proper and correct culture in order to safeguard the historical and traditional interests of certain products and of their names. We believe, in this sense, the right culture and knowledge can make a lot in the interest - first of all - of consumers. It is not enough to safeguard a name in order to ensure a good result: it is also necessary to spread a constructive and effective culture that can allow consumers to recognize a good product, and therefore a wine, from a bad one, no mater the name. A name is important to identify something and to make it clearly identifiable among a group of individuals who make use of the same language to communicate. This is the ultimate mean and role of a name, and like was rightly suggested by Shakespeare, it certainly cannot be a name responsible of the smell of a rose. Anyway as we humans make use of names to identify things, in a world which already is too rich of confusion, it would be nice that at least by using names things could be recognized without any misunderstanding. Then, in case what we find in a glass is not what we expected to have, it is not name's fault, indeed the fault is of the one who wanted to call that thing with that name.

 



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  Editorial Issue 18, April 2004   
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Issue 17, March 2004 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 19, May 2004

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 In this column are published our reader's mail. If you have any comment or any question or just want to express your opinion about wine, send your letters to our editorial or fill in the form available at our site.

 

What is the difference between Sherry Fino and Manzanilla?
Denis Pritchard -- Ipswich (England)
Sherry (Jerez) Fino and Manzanilla are both produced in two different areas of Andalusia (Spain). Jerez Fino is produced in the area surrounding Jerez de la Frontera whereas Manzanilla is produced at Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the Atlantic ocean coast. Both wines get their typical characteristics thanks to the precious presence of particular bacteria (called flor) which develop inside the casks where the wine ages. Both Fino and Manzanilla are dry fortified wines and they should be consumed young in order to better appreciate their fresh aromatic complexity and once the bottle has been uncorked, it is good to consume the wine within two days. Manzanilla has a more salty taste than Fino because of the vicinity of the ocean and is more delicate and fragile than Fino: for this reason some producers of Manzanilla bottle the wine when they receive orders. These wines, having a pale straw yellow color, should be served chilled in order to exalt their fresh taste.



I heard in the United States of America White Zinfandel is very popular. If I am not wrong, Zinfandel is a red berried grape. Is there a white variety as well?
Pierluigi Gonzoni -- Bellinzona (Switzerland)
Zinfandel, like you rightly observed, is a red berried grape and it is generally used for the production of red wines. White Zinfandel is produced with the very same grape vinified as white, that is avoiding the maceration of skins with the must in order not to extract coloring substances. The result is a wine which looks like a white. White Zinfandel is generally produced as a demi-sec, however it is also produced as dry. The color of White Zinfandel goes from pale pink to salmon pink, having a range of colors typical in those wines Americans define as blush wines. White Zinfandel was produced for the first time at the end of the 1970's, in the period when white wines sold very well, therefore American producers decided to use the huge amount of Zinfandel by vinifying it as white. No matter it is the red style to be more representative and famous, in the United States of America there is still a considerable consumption of White Zinfandel.






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  Editorial Issue 18, April 2004   
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