Friday, May 04, 2007
Why Italians Are So Confusing
So, the intern was a little concerned? Just a busy week, is all. End of the month, beginning of another, get off one bronking bull and hop on another one.
In the local market, at a boutique wine shop this week, one of the best in town. At the Italian aisle, and a lady is asking about the difference between these two wines that have similar labels.
She really liked the Guisto di Notri from Tua Rita, but the Di Majo Norante Sangiovese was also interesting to her. I explained the differences; one is from Tuscany, the other is from Molise. Both are IGT wines, Indicazione Geografica Tipica. The Tua Rita is a Cabernet/Merlot blend and the Di Majo Norante is a Sangiovese. Both have superstar wine consultants, Tua Rita has Stefano Chioccioli; Di Majo Norante has Riccardo Cotarella.
Tua Rita has a total production of 4,000 cases, and this Giusto di Notri has gotten high marks from all the wine reviews for the vintage on the shelf (2004). The Di Majo Norante Sangiovese is a larger production (20,ooo+ cs), but has also gotten high marks (90) for the wine on the shelf, also a 2004.
But one wine was $95. And the other was $9.99. Her question to me was, what makes that $95. wine worth almost 10 times the other one that is $9.99?
In reality both wines cost pretty well much the same to make, maybe a dollar or two more a bottle? The Tuscan wine is a new area, so maybe the real estate is approaching a high-water mark. The Molise region is inexpensive and production costs there are probably not too bad. So, what gives?
Status, rarity, cold-hard caché. Simple? Or are you confused too?
If I’m looking at these wines and getting into the heads of the people who come into a store for a bottle or two of wine, I’ve got to try and see it from a couple of points of view.
I know the Giusto di Notri is a delicious wine. And I like drinking it, even if it is a Bordeaux blend from the fashionable Maremma area of coastal Tuscany. Sassicaia and company. 16th arrondissement. Saturday night wine. Alto-borghese. Now do you begin to see the arrangement?
Molise is a mark on a map with an Autostrada going through it. It isn’t a destination. There is not a Metro that goes to this neighborhood. Working class, backwater, are you beginning to see the difference?
Wait, you say? It is still Italy, it’s not like it’s third world or developing economy. By God, it is still Italy. Yes it is, and it is sure to grow its prestige in the next generation or so, because of the real estate. Is the wine stellar? Is that what you need on a Tuesday night, have you become so jaded that all wines must be revelations from a higher more intelligent Being? It’s Tuesday, pizza night, remember? It will be just fine.
But, as a friend likes to say, the reality is, that looking at these two wines, unless one knows, one would probably do what that woman did. She picked up the $9.99 wine because she could relate to it. Oh, and well, she was having pizza. After all, it was only Tuesday.
Posted by Alfonso Cevola at 2:21 AM