Thursday, May 06, 2021

By the Bottle: #1 - Ole Udsen - a new series about winelovers and their tastes (and loves) in wine.

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

I’m starting a new series, By the Bottle. It mimics the By the Book feature in the Sunday NY Times Book Review, which asks a series of questions to authors about books. This time, we’ve turned the tables on wine lovers, winemakers, and all kinds of folks in the world of wine. It’s all for fun, with the hopeful expectation that we might gain insights into friends and colleagues in a lighthearted and easygoing way. Expect more, not consistently, but from time to time. Usually on Thursdays.

Kicking this off with Ole Udsen, a wine merchant, wine writer, senior oil industry negotiator and commercial innovator. Ole is a dear friend who lives in Vedbæk, a community on the coast 20 km. north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Ole is one of the most learned people I have ever met in regards to Italian wine, and southern Italian wine in particular. He has an ecumenical thirst for knowledge for wines from all over the world and is one of the most open-minded people I have ever met. But he is no pushover; which is probably why we get along so well. Thanks for launching the ship, Ole! See you at dinner.

What wines do you have standing up right now?

Many. Some Albillo and Garnacha from Sierra de Gredos, a 2011 Hunter Valley Sémillon, a 2007 Pfalz Spätburgunder, and about 10-15 others.

What’s the last great wine you drank?

Barolo Prapò 1996, Az. Agr. Bricco Rocche / Ceretto.

Describe your ideal drinking experience (when, where, what, how).

I don’t have any. Great drinking experiences come in many guises.

What’s your favorite wine no one else has heard of?

No idea how to answer that. By the very nature of things, at least one other would have heard of it. I am rather partial to Susumaniello, which tends to be fairly unknown, but of course is known to at least thousands.

What wine should everybody drink before the age of 21?

No idea. Can only say something about what I drank before the age of 21. But if seriously looking for wine knowledge, I would advise to try as many of the classics as possible.

Who in wine — winemakers, winery owners, writers, retailers, collectors — active today do you admire most?

I tend not to admire much, or, at least, not in the way of a star-struck teenager, but I like and follow Alfonso Cevola, Andrew Jefford, Luciano Pignataro as writers. There are too many brilliant winemakers whose wines I like to mention.

Do you count any wine as guilty pleasures?

No. The concept of a guilty pleasure is silly.

Has a wine ever brought you closer to another person, or come between you?

Not as such, but a well-aged Roquefort cheese and a bottle of Château Suduiraut 1971 were part of my courtship of my wife, as were a dozen oysters and a bottle of extra-brut Champagne, name forgotten.

What’s the most interesting thing you learned from a wine recently?

I don’t have the presence of mind to remember anything profound, but a thought did strike me the other day that Pinot Noir ages incredibly well, even when made as a rosé and subjected to 18 months of warm shop.

What moves you most in a wine?

Sense of place, balance, drinkability, deliciousness.

Which styles do you especially enjoy drinking?

I don’t have favourite styles, but am always looking to meet wines on their own terms. Having said that I like sense of place, balance, drinkability, deliciousness.

How do you organize your wines?

Lying down, mostly. No other system. It’s a mess, but it’s mine.

What wine might people be surprised to find in your racks?

Michael Gundersen’s original Danish red wine from 1995.

How have your drinking tastes changed over time?

From big, powerful, brutish to balanced, drinkable, delicious.

You’re organizing a dinner party. Which three people from the wine world, dead or alive, do you invite?

Alessandra Quarta, Severino Garofano, Alfonso Cevola.

What wines are you embarrassed not to have drunk yet?

I can’t think of any: I don’t embarrass easily.

What do you plan to drink next?

Hunter Valley Sémillon, Colli Euganei Cabernet and (shudder) Vernaccia Nera made as an Amarone. All because I have promised to…

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Anonymous said...

What a fabulous idea! I want in!!

-Burt A.

Carl Camasta said...

Awesome story from two of my favorite wine people! I totally agree with Ole about Sense of place, balance, drinkability, deliciousness….
And I also still have some 96 Ceretto Prapo and a couple of bottles of Rubino Susumaniello…..serendipity???

tomfiorina said...

Great idea, Alfonso. This is going to expand my wine knowledge exponentially.

Mitchell Pressman said...

Great idea. As a newcomer to your posts, I'd be interested in your own responses to the questions you posed. Thanks.

Alfonso Cevola said...

thanks, Carl. very kind of you.

thanks, Tom.

Thanks, Mitchell - maybe some day, a slow news day.

in the meantime, stay tuned and thanks for reading and commenting, all y'all

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