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  Editorial Issue 179, December 2018   
The Challenge of Nothing in the Name of WineThe Challenge of Nothing in the Name of Wine  Contents 
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The Challenge of Nothing in the Name of Wine


 Wine, what a mixed blessing, subject of endless challenges and debates, so frequently used for the self-celebration of those who are always convinced to be competent in saying a banality in the name of Bacchus and, with such a vanity, even authoritative experts. In particular, the debates about which territory or country is the best in making wine, is something which makes me smile, especially when they are clearly based on suppositions, so to speak, of chauvinist principles. What is even more surprising is that those who are used in supporting these crusades for the defense of home affairs usually never have solid arguments to support their ideas. Even worse, the only wines these irreducible defenders have ever drank (saying “tasted”, in this case, seems decidedly excessive to me) are those of the territory for which they proclaim themselves as proud vanguards and defenders.


 

 In order to give some examples – not to be meant in any way to belittle or magnify any of the territories or wines mentioned – Prosecco is better than Champagne, Franciacorta is better than Trento, Italian wine is better than the French one. Frivolities of this kind are so frequently heard, nevertheless, inappropriately, without having sufficient concrete elements to support one or the other hypothesis. Putting on the same level of comparison two very different wines – by territory, production technique and grapes – not only is something totally devoid of even the most basic and common sense, but denotes an endless ignorance of those who support such a silly hypothesis. Moreover, supporting a wine – a food, a culture or anything else – is better than another one only because it belongs to a certain territory, without giving further reasons, is a ridiculous act of pathetic arrogance, not to mention, of cultural poverty.

 Trying to not offend anyone, in particular producers of specific wine-growing areas, as an example I will use a broad and generic case, aware of the fact – probably – someone will however feel offended by this. Let's take the two countries that, since memorable times, are compared in the most disparate wine terms: Italy and France. There have always been too many who have been struggling with the most varied disputes between these two countries: which one makes more wine, which one is the best, which one have the best grapes and so on. Is Italian wine better than French wine? Is the French one better than the Italian one? It is like asking which of two pictures is the most beautiful, without providing any other term for comparison. Italian wine is certainly excellent and very good. The same can be said – undoubtedly – for French wine. However, in case we remain on generic and decidedly vague comparison terms, therefore evidently inconsistent.

 Better according to what principle? Better taste? Worse nose? We inevitably get into an evidently subjective matter, therefore strongly debatable in objective terms, not to mention technical, viticultural and enological ones. How can one, in any case, argue the wines of a territory are better than those made in another one only because they come from or were produced in that territory? At least, it presupposes the really vague principle all the producers of that territory are irreducibly, firmly and unquestionably committed to the highest quality. By evaluating the production of a territory – in general and broad sense – there are far too many proofs denying and contradicting this supposition in an obvious and evident way. In every territory there certainly are producers capable of making wine of the highest quality, likewise there are those, in the same territory, who clearly make wines that are decidedly less significant, even ordinary.

 Is Italian wine better than French? It depends. Italian wine –  and the same can be said for the French ones – is of very high quality and extraordinarily good. However, not all Italian wine – or that of any other country or territory, including France – belongs to this definition and this is something evidently obvious to me. Indeed, I find it much more concrete to compare different producers with the aim of determining the best, however a territory – in its entirety – in my opinion is a totally useless and debatable task. I have a huge passion, just to give another example, for Marsala, the great Sicilian fortified wine, however I do not certainly think it is intelligent to say all Marsala is extraordinary just because it belongs to this denomination. There are Marsala wines made by certain producers having an undeniably amazing quality, while others are obviously far away – at least in my opinion – from this definition.

 It must also be said that, thanks to the technological and enological progress of the last decades, including the general availability of these notions, everyone can virtually have access to them, the worldwide level of wine quality has evidently increased. Countries that, until a few decades ago, were considered distant from any wine making capacity, they today prove they know how to make wines with an interesting value. Therefore, it is today evident it is particularly frivolous debating on which wine territory is actually the best in a generic or absolute sense. To put it simple, the best does not exist. There are beautiful and good things everywhere in the world, as well as ugly and bad ones. This also undoubtedly applies to wine. If you were wondering whether I prefer French wines to Italian ones, I will tell you that and without hesitation. I love Italian wine and I also love French wine. Not to mention, I love the wine from any other country. As long as it is good, of course.

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 179, December 2018   
The Challenge of Nothing in the Name of WineThe Challenge of Nothing in the Name of Wine  Contents 
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