As I tear up the Italian wine trails, both the autostrada and the back roads only found by GPS, eventually when I land in a winery tasting room or around a table with food, the conversation is led by Italians wanting to talk about important wines. I am hearing that a lot lately. But what really are they talking about?
In reality the Italians have been talking about this for some time. In the past they used the word “particolare.” Somewhere after Y2K the phrase became “important.” But this important word, what is it to some people and something else to others?
I think what many are talking about is a wine that can be seen to compete on an international stage. Accepted as one of the wines that run the world catwalk and can stroll with the best of them. High cheekbones, good body (more fat than thin), a deep smoky mode and fast racy flavors. And of course, NFB (new French barriques).
I like the smell of barrels. But growing up in a Bourbon and Scotch culture, I think we in America are moving away from that profile fairly rapidly. And to the well trained European palate, what is this mania? Is it the exotic, the out of the ordinary? I am amazed at a culture that has come up with so many nuances in their flavor spectrum that they would just roll over and die to the aromas of wet paper and smoke layered with a sweet saucy note and finished up tied nicely with a bow of fruit and glycerin and more oak and sugar and alcohol. I’m sorry, but I think America is going away from that. And Italy, at least the winemakers and tastemakers, seem to think for the last generation that this is a curiosity but one that they must address, or rather, embrace, And it has me absolutely mystified.
I keep coming back to the aspect of the Italian mind that sees the high and mighty as a goal. The wealthiest Count, the most landed Duke, the (commercially) successful artist, the outrageous haute couture sun dress that bares even more flesh, perfume and tarted up characteristics
I’m going to leave it at this for now, because it is late and I really want to start a discourse in my virtual world. I surely am not having much luck with this conversation in the real world. At least, not that I can tell.