I have long admired Antonio’s calm presence. He doesn’t get washed over by waves of attention or scrutiny. He plies his trade, goes about his business, does the work. And while it may appear to be a glamorous career, anyone who travels extensively knows there is more to it than dining and drinking.
I wish him well. He did it with class. He didn’t come out with a TMZ video declaring all that he touches gets 95 points. He is the introvert’s critic. A thinking man, not just hedonistically driven by fame and fortune.
It is likely he will make a good living. Luxury tastings, like the ones he gives, can generate considerable income. Probably the best news, about those he does in New York, will allow him to sleep in his own bed, wake up with his family in the morning. If you’re on the road as much as he has been, things like one’s own pillow mean a lot. More than the fame.
But beyond the famous tastings and access to the best and the brightest wine makers, Antonio brings his own sensibility. He is "consistent to himself." He has a master’s palate and he is able to share his thoughts in words that are intelligent and deliberate. When he talks, people lean in, not wanting to miss anything he might be saying.
In addition, he has seen that writing alone cannot reach the scores of young people who are becoming more interested in wine. While he doesn’t feel the need to walk the media plank ala Gary Vaynerchuk, Galloni has seen the impact an interview with a winemaker makes to those who take their cues from a visual world.
The other matter about Galloni is his interest in the dialogue. Folks like Parker, Suckling, and to a lesser degree, Robinson, are more driven by delivering information from their portals. I sense Galloni has his ears a little closer to the ground, listening to the drumbeat outside his immediate world. I like that about him. It makes him appear to be more sympathetic to those who pay attention to what he says and does.
His deep passion for wine is important. He doesn’t seem to be checking off a punch list when he tastes. That he is actually looking for the wine to tell him something new, is compelling. It says to me “See, Antonio doesn’t have all the answers, he is still searching.”
Fluency in English, Spanish, Italian and French gives him the world. He can communicate with people in France, Italy, Spain, South America and elsewhere, in their language. That is an immense advantage. His musical inclination gives him another dimension of understanding. He is young, intelligent and calm. He has a great path ahead of him.
What does this mean for Italy? For English language readers, Galloni will be a main source for information about where Italian wine is heading. He has the ability to transform the way Italians make wine in that his influence is huge. The next generation will be very interesting to witness this evolution in Italy.
Will the Wine Advocate survive? Did the Wine Spectator endure when James Suckling exited? These publications have their own life. They’ll be fine.
Antonio Galloni will be fine too, he’s gotten his life back under his control. He’s in the driver’s seat. It’s going to be an interesting journey.
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