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  Editorial Issue 149, March 2016   
Tribute to Giacomo TachisTribute to Giacomo Tachis  Contents 
Issue 148, February 2016 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 150, April 2016

Tribute to Giacomo Tachis


 The world of wine has lost one of its highest and great interpreters, the one who made Italian enology great by starting a new and extraordinary era and taking it to the top of the Olympus. On 6 February 2016 Giacomo Tachis passed away, the man who, more than anyone else, has marked the irreversible path of Italian wine, by starting what can be defined as a renaissance. The greatest of them all, with no doubt at all. A great wine maker who has been capable, before anyone else in Italy, to understand wine needed to change and to change forever. Giacomo Tachis, who liked to call himself mescolatore di vini (”wine blender” in Italian), was born in Poirino, in province of Turin, Italy, on 4 November 1933. The same month in which was also born another great figure of the Italian wine and who contributed to the greatness of Italian enology: Luigi Veronelli. Two figures - Tachis and Veronelli - who have strongly and indelibly affected the fate of Italian wine. The former in vineyard and winery, the latter with his inimitable and unforgettable pen.


 

 The king of Italian wine makers passed away at 82 and passing on a heritage of magnificent wines, all capable of having relaunched the prestige of the Italian wine in the world. The wines signed by Giacomo Tachis are in fact many and all have been capable of surprising wine lovers all over the world. Writing a list of wines created by the intelligence and talent of Giacomo Tachis would be pretty long. It is however impossible not to mention his extraordinary contribution to the wines of Tuscany, including those made at Antinori and Marquis Niccolò Incisa della Rocchetta wineries. Tignanello, Solaia and Sassicaia have in fact his indelible signature and they gave new life to the enology of Tuscany while making it famous all over the world. The name of Giacomo Tachis is also associated to another great wine created by the far-sighted will of another nobleman of Italian wine: San Leonardo of Tenuta San Leonardo - in Trentino - of Marquis Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga. San Leonardo is one of my favorite wines since ever, an absolute example of rare, noble and refined elegance, an inimitable masterpiece of a Bordeaux-style wine.

 In Tuscany Giacomo Tachis has also signed the wines of Querciabella, Castello di Rampolla, Argiano, Le Pupille, Alberese and Falchini. Wherever he went to, Giacomo Tachis has left his indelible mark with his wines. This is the case of Sardinia, where he signed great wines such as Turriga of Argiolas, Terre Brune of Cantina di Santadi and Barrua of Punica. Also in the other large Italian island - Sicily - the Piedmontese wine maker left his mark and signature. Including his collaboration with Istituto Regionale della Vite e del Vino and Duca di Salaparuta and Florio wineries. In Sicily he also signed the rare and exclusive wine Mothya produced with grapes cultivated in a tiny vineyard in the island of Mozia. Among the many wines created by the talent of Giacomo Tachis, there is also Pelago of Umani Ronchi winery - in the Marches - where he also understood the potential of their territory for the production of wines affected by noble rot and therefore by creating Maximo. In the Marches region, he also participated to the interesting project Il Pollenza.

 the great “mescolavino” (wine blender) - like he used to jokingly call himself - graduated in 1954 at Scuola Enologica di Alba (Enological School of Alba, Piedmont) and he has been a pupil of Émile Peynaud, the famous French wine maker, one of the greatest in the 1900s. The first important opportunity to show the world his talent and vision about wine was in 1961 when he was hired at Marchesi Antinori winery and where he will then become chief manager. Here Giacomo Tachis starts the Rinascimento of Italian wine, by beginning a new journey that will be then followed by many, and created Tignanello and Solaia. In a territory having a strong connection with its traditions such as Chianti, Giacomo Tachis had the courage of blending Sangiovese to the “foreigners” Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. He will also age his wine in barrique - at those time quite unknown in Italy - and makes one of the first wines in Chianti with no white berried grapes, the first Sangiovese to be vinified in barrique. An affront, like to say, to that tradition which will however and irreversibly change the fate of Tuscan wine and, of course, of Chianti.

 Giacomo Tachis was, first of all, a man of remarkable culture, curious and always willing to experiment, looking at a too far away horizon, simply too far away for many, but he then showed it everyone. To those who believe the style of Giacomo Tachis was, like to say, of French or international character, they should change their mind. This can also be because they never enjoyed the intense emotions his wines were capable of giving. It should in fact be said his respect for the territory and what the land of every place could offer was of primary importance. This has bee proved by most of his wines, in which he never forgot to pay a tribute to the grapes of the territory, such as Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Cannonau, Carignano and Nero d'Avola, just to mention a few. To understand him, we should recall what he said in 2010, when he announced his retirement from the world of wine: «Let's respect nature and the simplicity of wine. Reject chemistry the way we use it today and be careful of genetics, because nature rebels». The teaching Giacomo Tachis gave us is huge and fundamental, not only for the greatness of his wines, but also for his wine vision and his extraordinary professional career.

 The great Piedmontese wine maker also gave us a written proof of his thoughts in the book “Sapere di Vino” (”Knowing about Wine”, as far as I know, it is not available in English language). In his book, Giacomo Tachis tells about his professional career and his significant wine vision, by setting the roots of a future that, we hope so, will be continued by his many pupils. I never had the privilege to personally meet Giacomo Tachis and I am sure it would have been an amazing chance, as those who knew him have always told me he was a person of remarkable knowledge and culture. In a world, including wine's world, where there are many who show off an inconsistent and piteous vanity, listening to the one who made the history of Italian wine - with facts - would have been absolutely amazing and a true honor. I however have treasured the endless emotions his wines gave me and, in this sense, I enjoyed many of them and I keep a priceless memory for each of them. In this sense, it was an honor to meet Giacomo Tachis through his wines, it certainly was a privilege of which I thank him. A special thanks, nevertheless, for having started a new path for the Italian wine and for having relaunched the enology of Italy. A deep mark and clear path from which we cannot and we must not go back. Thank you Giacomo Tachis: your “mescolavino” art is and will always be source of pride for Italian enology and for those who love wine.

Antonello Biancalana






   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 149, March 2016   
Tribute to Giacomo TachisTribute to Giacomo Tachis  Contents 
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