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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 143, September 2015   
Wine: a Matter of Points of ViewWine: a Matter of Points of View  Contents 
Issue 142, Summer 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 144, October 2015

Wine: a Matter of Points of View


 In summer, in July and August, I like to spend my time visiting wineries of old and dear friends as well as to know new ones. Nevertheless, I try to take a break - whenever I can - while admitting I however bring with me something of my job in order not to be in delay when I go back home. Visiting wineries and, in particular, vineyards, is always interesting: not only for the pleasure of sharing opinions with those making wines and spend most of their time in a vineyard, but also to get to know new people and new wines. Seeing old friends and tasting their new wines is interesting and enjoyable. You can share opinions and points of view about wine and its world, while being in company of a good glass always giving new aromas and filled with many wines. With friends and wine makers with whom I am more confident and I know better, it is possible to frankly share opinions, even though in case you do not agree on what they say. In vino veritas.


 

 In this period, I also go to restaurants of the places where I am at, frequently choosing them for their wine lists. My goal is not choosing - like to say - “important wine lists”, indeed those having bottles I do not know and never tasted. I in fact like having unknown wines in a neutral place, a context not influenced by the involvement and excitement of being in a vineyard and wineries or in presence of producers. I am absolutely aware a restaurant does not represent the ideal condition for a reliable tasting - too many distractions, too many disturbing factors - however it is always better than nothing. Sometimes I ask restaurateurs or table sommeliers to suggest me something, by explicitly asking them about wines that, in their opinion, better represent their territory and grapes. I am however interested in bottles I never had the chance to taste, last but not the least, for the chance of discovering new wines and, you never know, they could also be good.

 I do the same with wine shops of the places where I go. I talk to the shopkeepers, I get information about new wineries, their territories and the wines that, in their opinions, deserve particular attention, both in terms of quality and for their viticultural and wine making typicality. Sometimes, I admit this, by doing so I get precious information, most of the times pretty disappointing and distressing advices. This is the case of a shopkeeper I recently met to whom I asked what were - in his opinion - the most representative wines of his territory, by telling him straight away the two wineries I consider to be the best ones of the area. The shopkeeper, while he agreed those two wineries certainly were of remarkable level and their wines of high quality, he confessed - with a firm conviction - there were other wineries even better than those in terms of quality. A quite shocking news: to see your own references to get easily smashed away is something that can happen, however the idea to know there is something even better makes the trauma more acceptable, even pleasurable.

 Moreover, the shopkeeper said these emerging and amazing wineries are run, in two cases by young and passionate men, willing to keep on the tradition of their grandfathers, whereas, in the other case, there is a well known and successful businessman of the place and who decided to start making wine. Frankly speaking, I am more interested in the wines of the two zealous and willing young men - however deserving admiration - a little less in those of the businessman who, maybe, sees in wine one of the many ways to make a profit. In the last years I frequently tasted wines of certain businessmen who, being in the economic condition of investing money, acquired vineyards and wineries or restaurants. They probably believe money is enough to ensure quality, capable of buying knowledge and skill without any effort but with superficiality and thoughtlessness. The shopkeeper seems to be sure about what he says and - although I have already seen the very same so many times, also with pretty catastrophic endings - I take his advice. You never know, maybe this could also be the right time.

 The idea of pouring in the glass something better than the two producers I consider to be the best in that area - or however expressing the same quality - is a pretty exciting idea. I therefore take the prodigious bottles, pay them, thank the shopkeeper, while thinking about those glasses promising wonderful emotions. Do you know how it did end? The two wineries I consider to be the best of the area can still have sweet dreams. Very sweet indeed. The two wines made by the zealous young producers, willing to keep the tradition of the territory and of the respective families on - and I sincerely admire them for this - simply were oxidized, dull and flat in their uncertain interpretation. The wine of the businessman who has fallen in love with Bacchus, had fewer faults however nothing which could make you think about a miracle. A wine having no soul, excessively processed in its making, probably result of the wine maker's magic wand. To make this story short, it was not the right time and - I admit it - I still wonder about the personal taste of that shopkeeper and his vision of the territory.

 In all the three wines I unfortunately perceived what I found more and more in many bottles: approximation and the arrogant superficiality of those who believe making wine is a simple task and that, it is so obvious, it simply takes tradition and some money, when you have it. After all, you just need some grapes, to crush them in order to get the must, keep it in your winery, “do something” and wait. Tradition will certainly be capable of making some Bacchus magic and then wine is ready to be poured and illustrated like the only wonder of the world. Isn't it easy? De gustibus non disputandum est. I know it. And I also know, fortunately, my personal taste and my vision about wine do not represent an absolute reference. However, it is also true that in recent years - this could also be because of the good time wine is having - I see too many bottles result of an evident approximation and superficiality. What it is worse, coarse faults fiercely illustrated as the typical expression of a territory, while giving - nevertheless - the image of a poor quality associated to one's land. Wine has many faces and this is one of the exciting aspects of the beverage of Bacchus. Many territories, many producers, countless combinations and interpretations. And lately, too many faults as well, even embarrassing ones, and - for the sake of decency and honesty - they should be kept, to say the least, hidden in wineries just for the good of one's own land.

Antonello Biancalana






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  Editorial Issue 143, September 2015   
Wine: a Matter of Points of ViewWine: a Matter of Points of View  Contents 
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