But unphased not in a “Hey, we have a great tradition, and our wines are the best in the world and we are from ancient royal lineage” way. No Robert was interested in music, in visual patterns, in seemingly unmatched intangibles making a new expression of art or culinary achievement, or a new sound. Anything but Barolo. Or so it seemed.
Roberto at his booth at Vinitaly. As busy as that event is for me (5 days isn’t enough) I would always find time to spend 30 minutes with Roberto. I like him, we’d talk about art or food or jazz or anything under the sun; Roberto is nonlinear, so am I. We connected on that basis, an ethereal link but one which friendships are forged from. Every year he would show me a new cocktail from his famous line. One year it would be a Cocchi Americano, the next he would be doing something with the Chinato. His aperitvii concoctions are the current darling of the mixology set. Very trendy, very cool, just like Roberto. After a day or two of tannic, high alcohol Nebbiolo or Sangiovese, or worse, Merlot, a stroll into Pavilion #9 for a sip of something light would actually recalibrate my palate. And then there was always the conversation with Roberto, who would always make you feel like you were the only person in the world worth talking to. Never selling. Never. But doing all the right things to close the sale. Very cool. Very smart. Marketers, take note (Take 8 minutes to look at this wonderful film for even more insight into Roberto and how he interacts his wines with the rest of the world).
|Roberto Bava and daughter Francesca|
A few months ago, I was in Milan and Roberto found out I was there, probably via Facebook. He messaged me to come up to the winery. They were celebrating 100 years. I was with a couple of colleagues and was slated to do other things. But I was sorry to have missed the event. Roberto is a conductor; he puts together people and events like a symphony. Unfortunately that night it rained, but I am sure he had an alternate plan. Anyway, I missed it. Last night I had my own celebration off to the corner of a new little Italian spot in an obscure corner somewhere in flyover country. But I could have just as easily been in Asti or Verona or New York, with Roberto. Because he doesn’t sell his wine, his wines speak to me in much the same way he does. They don’t scream. They talk in audible terms. They aren’t flashy, but they are full of style. I like them. And last night we finally welcomed Roberto Bava and his wines into our world, after six years of preparing and relationship building. Finally, they are here.