Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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  Editorial Issue 26, January 2005   
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Issue 25, December 2004 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 27, February 2005

Tribute to Luigi Veronelli


 The 2004, the year which has just passed, ended with a grave loss for the world of Italian wine and - with no fear of doubt - for the whole world of wine. The last November 29th, in Bergamo - the city where he lived - at 78 has passed away Luigi Veronelli. The sad news deeply shocked the world of enology and with him we all lose the greatest - and the first - enogastronomical critic and divulger of our times. Whoever has been into wine for at least once in his or her life, knew who Luigi Veronelli was and the precious work he did for almost fifty years in favor of Italian wine, olive oil, the revaluation of agricultural resources and the country world. Luigi Veronelli - whose friends were used to call him “Gino” - has always tenaciously fought and with determination in favor of wine and against its homologation. For him wine - and it was enough to look at him with a glass of wine in his hands to understand this - has always been a dear and loyal friend, a friend to respect and to defend against the endless attempts of speculation.

 Whoever works in the wine business, as well as any lover of the beverage of Bacchus, knows that without his work and his revolutionary and pioneer ideas, the world of Italian wine would not be today what it is. Luigi Veronelli had the courage and the intuition of awakening the world of Italian enogastronomy from its long and deprecable sleeping, therefore giving back to Italy the conscience and cultural identity of its wine and foods, while promoting - the first one in our country - the long and hard way that from quantity led to quality. Luigi Veronelli was the first one to convince Italian wine producers - since 1960's - that great wines born in the vineyard. He was the first one who insisted on the absolute need of selecting grapes in the vineyard, to introduce the importance of terroir, to emphasize the potentials and differences of each vineyards and of each cru. He was the first one to believe Italian wine could improve in order to reach exceptional levels of quality: an idea on which - at those times - no one dared to believe and could not understand. All that in 1960's and 1970's, when quantity still was the main goal of Italian enology and quality was seen as an utopia. Luigi Veronelli has been a great pioneer.


 

 Moreover, he was a pioneer in the information and in the way of writing about wine: whoever is in the enogastronomy press and write about wine knows he or she owes to Luigi Veronelli the gratitude granted to a master. His many books, the countless articles published in journals and magazines, have taught anyone who had the pleasure to read them: his words have introduced to the world of wine countless lovers. His lexicon and his way of writing about wine, in his absolutely personal style, are now part of the description of wine and criticism parlance. Among the most famous ones it is impossible not to mention “meditation wine” and “fable wine”. With the loss of Luigi Veronelli we lost the fundamental and historical pillar for anyone writing about wine, an important reference point who taught anyone and strongly contributed to the spreading of enogastronomical press and information.

 Luigi Veronelli was born in Milan on February 2nd, 1926 and at about 25 he discovered his passion for the world of enogastronomy, at 30 he is the editor of “Il Gastronomo” (The Gastronomer) a philosophical-gastronomical magazine. The style he uses for writing about the many subjects - polemical and provocative - soon allowed him to notoriety and he wrote many books either alone or in collaboration with others. Luigi Veronelli was also a very popular TV personage in the 1960's and 1970's: unforgettable is the TV show “A tavola alle sette” together with Ave Ninchi, the great Italian actress too rapidly forgotten and that should be more frequently remembered. He has always been a strenuous opposer of the Italian DOC system - in which he saw a system in favor of commercial and industrial wineries - and he used to say that «the worst wine of a peasant is better than the best industrial wine». His last “battles” were in favor of Communal Denominations for food resources and source price as well as supporting the revaluation of olive oil production.

 His ideas - always tenaciously supported with determination - have had the “fault” of being told too early in respect of times, in moments in which no one could understand them, maybe because of the incapacity of looking beyond the horizon and the will to change things. Despite his ideas have been source of problems - even with law - and for which he found many friends, as well as many enemies, today, after tens of years, we know Luigi Veronelli was right. Italian wine owes much of its success in the world to his intuitions and to the cultural and enological revolution of which he indisputably was pioneer and leader. And the effects are still visible today even after more than thirty years. We all who love wine owe something to Luigi Veronelli. He was the first one to teach us how to “talk” and “listen' to wine, to revaluate its dignity and to understand its soul. Without his work, Italian wine would not be what it is today and certainly it would be said and written less about wine and of its vast world. We all owe you gratitude, dear master Luigi Veronelli, and we hope it will not be offensive if we dare to say goodbye in a friendly way - granting us the privilege of friendship - by means of the words of this small tribute to your person and to your work. Thank you Gino.

 



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 26, January 2005   
Tribute to Luigi VeronelliTribute to Luigi Veronelli MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 25, December 2004 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 27, February 2005

MailBox


 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.

 

I would like to know the characteristics of traditional Italian casks and the main difference from barrique besides volume. I also have another question: would it be appropriate for disciplinary to specify, besides the time of aging, the type of cask to be used in order to avoid the abuse of barrique? More and more frequently I see producers of “historical” wines, such as Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo, Barbaresco, Amarone or Taurasi, having their wines aged in barriques instead in traditional casks. I think the way a wine is aged should contribute to its identification.
Diego Baldi -- Padua (Italy)
The Italian enological tradition has always made use of casks of different sizes and mainly made of Slovenian oak - as well as chestnut wood and less frequently cherry wood - instead of French oak. The size of Italian casks is pretty vast and depends on the area in which they were made: from few tens of liters up to tens of hectoliters. Before the introduction of Bordelais barrique, in Italy small sized casks, with a volume of few hundreds of liters, were called carati, whereas the ones having a smaller size were called caratelli. These terms are still in use today even though the more “modern” barrique is progressively replacing them. The type of cask, the volume and type of wood with which it was made of, is sometimes specified in production disciplinary, however - most of the cases - it is mentioned the generic term cask only. Whether the use of certain casks should be imposed by law, this would probably favor a more evident homologation of wine, therefore limiting the capacity and the interpretation of producers. We believe the main problem is about the use some producers make of cask - not only of barrique - as sometimes its contribution is so strong that it changes not only the tradition of a wine, but also its personality. Moreover it should be observed that in many areas of Italy the aging of wine has always been and traditionally done in small barrels with volumes of few hundreds of liters, a volume pretty similar to the one of barrique. We however agree on the fact the way a wine it is being aged in cask should be useful to its identification - historical, traditional and cultural - and, in particular, without prevailing over its qualities by imposing anonymous - an unfortunately frequent - organoleptic properties more similar to sawdust than to wine.



I am attending a wine tasting course and would like to buy, as a gift, a box with the aromas for the identification of wine faults. I saw this at Vinitaly in Verona. Do you know where I can buy this box in Milan?
Romana Volpi -- Arese, Milan (Italy)
The recognition of aromas in a wine certainly is the most hard part - as well as the most amazing one - of sensorial tasting. It is however more difficult to recognize faults - intended as signals of specific chemical and qualitative alterations - because of a lesser experience and knowledge, saved the fact of perceiving an unpleasing or negative smell. The box you are talking about - containing small phials with reference aromas - is available both as typical and positive aromas of wine as well as negative aromas identifying faults. Unfortunately we cannot suggest you a shop in Milan where you can buy such a box, however we are sure a good wine shop can have it. You should also take a look at shops selling wines and accessories on the Internet. Despite the usefulness and the educational value of these reference aromas, we should like to remind you the scenario you usually find in a glass represents a higher difficulty, because aromas are being perceived as a whole and the skill of the taster is to be able to spot them in the “confusion”. Of course having reference points available makes the job easier even though keeping a certain level of difficulty. It is however good to remember experience and practice represent the real masters of the sensorial and organoleptic evaluation of wine.



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 26, January 2005   
Tribute to Luigi VeronelliTribute to Luigi Veronelli MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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