|Caronne Ste Gemme after the attack|
About 2,000 young vines have been vandalised causing tens of thousands of euros damage at a Medoc estate.
The plot of Merlot vines at Chateau Labat, a 7-hectare cru bourgeois estate in AOC Haut-Medoc, was attacked on Friday night, possibly by a gang, the owners suspect.
‘We have been racking our brains as to who could possibly have done this. Clearly they were very determined. For one person alone, cutting this many vines would have taken around six hours of work, so I have to assume there may have been more than one criminal.’
Nony is vice-president of the Alliance Cru Bourgeois, working to promote the wines of the Medoc. ‘As part of the promotions team, I deal with the good news, not the bad news, and can’t see why that would attract anger. We do have occasional staff issues at the estate, as does everyone, but again I can’t see that they have been so severe as to cause this anger towards my family.’
It was reported that the vines had been vandalized and destroyed, possibly by more than one person. Note, the word gang was used, not mafia or mafioso.
I have kept up with situation though a colleague who talks to Nony weekly. There was word of a person who worked on the farm, a pruner, who was fired and seemed to be very emotional about the firing, maybe even to the extent of violence against the vines. The case has yet to be resolved, according to my source, although now they think it was essentially a one-man job. It was a big job, whether it was done by one or a gang. But the French, and the English journalists who wrote about it, didn’t go crazy. They reported it and didn’t resort to hyperbole or invoking the evil mafioso.
Corriere della Sera that Gianfranco Soldera called the act, “un vero atto mafioso.”
Unfortunately on that same interview at IlCittadinoOnline.it there was a commenter that affirmed their bigotry (even after Soldera said it wasn’t so), suggesting this is an ongoing “l'incedere delle mafie nel nostro territorio” (march of the mafia in our territory).
Perhaps the Italian language uses the words mafia and mafioso in the same way some Westerners throw out the phrase “Middle Eastern,” with the subtext that anyone from the Middle East is a terrorist. Consequent raves on the internet found people saying:
I'm sure that what happened to #Soldera in #Montalcino is a revenge. He is right when he talks abou [sic] #mafia.
A restaurant in Rome, La Veranda, tweeting as @LaVeranda3
"Non ci faremo intimidire da questo atto mafioso e intimidatorio" Famiglia #Soldera #Brunello #Montalcino pic.twitter.com/La0olGCs
and linked the official Soldera statement, which did not include the words “quoted” above.
Giampero Nadali was more restrained when he wrote with sadness but in a calm tone:
Mentre proliferano le reazioni online e offline sul "chi" e "perché" (mafia, invidia, antipatia, vendetta...), ad Aristide mancano sinceramente le parole.
Thank you, Giampero, for resisting hyperbole.
Nelle Nuvole from Montalcino dispatches the mafia conspiracy theory with another word: Faida (feud).
Per la rubrica "parole di cui non possiamo fare a meno, purtroppo: MAFIA", ci viene riproposta riguardo al vinocidio operato a Case Basse. A caldo, la eviterei. Un comportamento mafioso avviene quando c'è un crimine organizzato che lo opera.
Nel caso mi sembra forse più utilizzabile la parola FAIDA.
Dopo lo sdegno ci vuole silenzio in attesa di sapere gli sviluppi delle indagini.
On her Nelle Nuvole’s Facebook page one of her followers, Alberto del Buono, wrote this:
“Mi sembra lampante si tratti dun atto di Mafia. I grandi produttori di vino non perdonano a Soldera il fatto di produrre attenendosi al disciplinare e denunciando le deviazioni. Questo è un Paese a mafia diffusa e quella del vino è solo meno potente di quelle delle droghe, ma quanto a metodi non ha nulla da invidiare. D'altronde nella (ex) provincia di Siena quella del vino non è la sola. Ce n'è un'altra che risale al 1472, ben prima di quella siciliana.”
Is there yet a measure of prejudice in the hearts of some Italians, a reserve that hasn’t yet been drained?
The important thing to remember is that a man’s work, six years of his life, have just been flushed. No he wasn’t murdered, and yes he had insurance. As if that will make up for the loss. But moreover, why, at so early a juncture, do folks resort to the hackneyed use of the term mafia without knowing what they are talking about? It’s insulting to Soldera and the rest of us.
It fuels the “industry of outrage,” as writer Salmon Rushdie calls it, an industry co-opted by folks who would rather lob an outrageous accusation than wait to discover who really perpetrated this heinous act.
I find it refreshing and enlightening in these two similar situations that the French with their Gallic control realized there might be other issues at play in the world of misdeeds besides an endless conspiracy of calamity the Italians get so wrapped up in.
Fortunately the Consorzio in Montalcino, is also taking a more restrained approach.
"The [Consorzio’s] post also quotes the mayor of Montalcino, Silvio Franceschelli, who expressed the town’s 'utmost solidarity with Case Basse for this villainous and cowardly act.' ”
Franceschelli is also quoted as saying that “any allusion to phenomena that bear the mark of the mafia are entirely imaginary.”
The sky is not always falling. I for one will embrace my inner sfumato (over fear of mafioso). Things aren’t always so chiaroscuro. Areas blend into one another through miniscule brushstrokes. Yes it makes for hazy viewing at times, without the clear-cut edges and direction we all want so very much in our lives. Better to take a deep breath and step back for better perspective.
It's a lesson to learn from our French brothers. Calm, restraint, pursuit. We have only to look to Da Vinci’s La Giocanda in the Louvre to recall the serenity of sfumato and surrender to the facts, not manufactured drama.
wine blog + Italian wine blog + Italy W