Sunday, July 29, 2018

5 of the Most Important Patron Saints of Italian Wine You’ve Never Heard About

In Italy, where the seat of the Catholic Church sits in Rome, many souls have drifted away from the sacred to the secular. But there is a cultural attachment to a spirit of place that has been cultivated in the Italian soil for over two millennia. Christianity developed in Italy aspiring towards ascetic and self-sacrificing virtues. When stirred into the pot with an ages-long foment from the cults of the Greeks and the Romans for wine and all things pleasurable, the inevitable consanguinity between the gods and the saints created a genesis of devotion that has been somewhat hidden from the public at large. But over those two thousand plus years, there are saints in Italy that wine lovers and winemakers depend on to get through every harvest and bottling. Here are five of the most important patron saints of Italian wine you’ve never heard about, from recently discovered ancient writings, by a botanist researcher, in the Jesuit Vatican archives in Rome.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The "New" International Style in Winemaking Veers to the Left

Angelo Gaja had this thing for Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux. And so, he planted it in Piedmont in the 1970’s. Pio Boffa went to Napa Valley in the 1980’s and fell in love with the place and with the wines of Robert Mondavi. And he came home "a changed man." Piero Antinori set up shop in the early 1990’s, above the fog line in Napa Valley, bringing with him his winemaker Renzo Cotarella, and proceeded to invest, plant and make wine from Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. It was a prescient influence for changes that would be made in their Italian wines, back home. Renzo’s brother, Riccardo Cotarella made a name for himself (and a small fortune) interpreting Merlot in the unlikeliest places, like Lazio, Molise and Campania, in the late 1990’s early 2000’s. These were just a few of Italy’s winemaking giants who were moved by outside influences and who shaped the then-International style of wine in Italy. It was a movement that went long and deep, and it took years to see above the fog of high scores, blinded by seductively lush, drinkable fruity and powerful wines, often deeply oaked and intoxicatingly alcoholic. The critics, and the buying public who soon followed, couldn’t get enough of these wines – to drink, to larder away and to showcase in their trophy cellars. And those cellars filled up quickly with the force of a tsunami that has had mixed results for the collectors.

And then, it pirouetted. And everything changed.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Judgement of Paros – The Greek Paradox

From this view on the perch, Greek wine should be winning more than it appears to be. The Greek wine importers and government agencies are investing heavily in bringing many in the American wine trade to the vineyards. Greece is a Mediterranean epicenter (très chic these days). The people are great. The food is fresh and healthy. The wines are better than ever. As we say in Rome, Quo Vadis?

I say this as an Italian neighbor, but also as one who has much Greek in his family and in his blood, over the ages. I ache for Greek wine to achieve their place in the pantheon of great wine. Indeed, the culture has already secured their spot in immortality. And wine being hotter than ever, with boat loads of visitors who infiltrate the Greek islands (and mainland) this time of the year, one would think this would bleed over into life after vacation.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Old Vine Vs. Old Wine: A Modern-Day Dilemma

In today’s hyper-rarefied clime in which the world’s wine elite bask, for most folks the access to ancient and great old wine can often seem unreachable. If you peruse the many impressive sights, whether it be on Instagram, blogs, paywall-protected wine websites, or pertinent Uniform Resource Locator’s on your phone, tablet or laptop, you might think the world is one giant wine library of Alexandria, waiting for the next abecedarian to enter.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

July 1, 2043: No More Tattoos, No More Natural Wine

An unexpected, but inevitable, missive, from Last Gen
(translation by devinchi’s Submarine)

It’s so odd to be writing this note to people who are probably already dead, if it weren’t for the fact that we found a back door in the time-space continuum. So, while most of you have less life in you than the tartrates at the bottom of a barrel of Krug (Boomers) or just plain shaggin-old (X’ers and Millennials), from where I transmit this communiqué, I know this is reaching most of you while you are alive, and still very much full of yourselves.

I am a mid-century somm. Well, we don’t call it that anymore, but the word we use would be meaningless to you (and devinchi can’t translate it anyway), just like the word sommelier is to us in 2043. I was born on July 1, 2018, and am turning ⓴❺ today. Happy birthday to me, ĿǦĕĕ. My device just snapped a holo of me and sent it to my 3 million followers. Instantly I received a holo-cake back with 3 million candles on it. My personal assistant, ĂĬ, “blew” out the candles for me. A good time was had by all. So they tell me.

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