lunedì 29 dicembre 2014

Arcari e Danesi + Azienda agricola Solouva: two interesting projects

I got impressed and fascinated by these two realities, that's why I would like to speak about them in the same post.
Let's start with the first one.
Arcari e Danesi is basically the assembly of three friends, a terroir and a project driven by passion: Giovanni Arcari, Nico Danesi and the producer Andrea Arici.
Giovanni Arcari and Nico Danesi were and are working in the wine field with different roles. Giovanni in the communication and as a wine blogger, a "wine talent scout" (as the notorious wine journalist Franco Ziliani defined him). Nico an oenologist  instead. Both vivid consultants in the field, helping in the promotion of some smaller wine companies in the Franciacorta area, in all the steps of the production chain.
TERRAUOMOCIELO is actually a project born in the Franciacorta area from the meeting of the three men during the 2002 grape harvesting of Andrea Arici producer.  TERRAUOMOCIELO is a project for the safeguard of the small agriculture in the wine world. It's a manifesto against the standardization and homogenisation. Successful I would say.
And ...  a part of advicing other producers, Giovanni & Nico challenged themselves with the realization of their wines. The dosage zero is what I have personally tried and I have found it extremely enjoyable. 100% Chardonnay, fermentation in steel, 30 months on the yeasts. White flowers and citrus notes. Sapid, vertical, crispy, direct. Ideal with raw fish.

Let's continue with Solouva.
It's a small reality which took part to the TERRAUOMOCIELO project, property of Andrea Rudelli. Only 1,5 ha and around 10.000 bottles produced per year. The name Solouva (Only Grape) derives from the production method: in no step of the process are added any sugars. @ONLY GRAPE. The grape is picked up fully riped and the wine is bottled when fermentation has not ended yet, so that there are still some sugars left. For the dosage the must previously frozen is used. Again 100% Chardonnay. Yellow fruits. Pleasant acidity notes on the finish.


domenica 14 dicembre 2014

#Sandro Sangiorgi: a unique experience!

I had the chance to attend some wines classes held by Sandro Sangiorgi, a guru in the field. Director of the Porthos magazine, sommelier, wine writer and expert, supporter of natural wines, the only ones who deserve to exist.
I entered the class and I had the feeling he was a little bit presumptuous. I changed my mind. Ok, he likes provocations, especially if directed to women (I guess he has a weakness for beautiful women ;-)). But he is definitely an open-minded character, he loves to listen to the "naive" opinions of people who do not know as much as him about wines and are not affected by external influences like whoever is in the field. And he genuinely loves PIZZA and often use it in his "wine-food" pairing quotes!
He started the lesson with the extract of a poetry, called  the "Cipolla"/ the "Onion". I guess the message is that the wine has different substratum and that you need to discover them one by one to understand its essence. But that is just my personal interpretation.
We tasted 7 different wines. I enjoyed the first part when we were served exactly the same wine, the same grape but coming from different parcels, the only difference from the fact that one started to be grown byodinamically in a second stage.
In Sandro classes you taste natural wines basically. Because for him the only wine is the natural one, with no exception. It has a strong identity, able to overstep the boundaries of its territory. And to be natural it's not enough the lack of use of sulphites (SO2). Long maceration is not a sign that a wine is natural either, nor the fact that it  tends to the orange color. It's a multitude of factors that need to be combined. In conventional wines "universality" fades.
A real natural wine producer cannot have a unique commercial objective but it needs firstly to be a custodian of its land. He has a big responsibility towards the community, because wine is a form of cultural and spiritual nourishment, before everything else. Nothing to deal with nutrition. Just "if and when" we speak about natural wines. And, I stress it again, natural doesn't mean only lack of sulphites. 
I loved when he defined the knowledge of wine as a journey inside ourselves. And it comes with experience. I totally agree. Day after day. We do not need to rush. We will learn by discovering places, meeting men and women who hoe the ground. Discover unsual beauties. Choose the wine because we love it and not to show it to friends.
If you seriously want to know something about wine because you have a passion, I recommend to read his book: "L'invenzione della Gioia"  ("The invention of joy").  No other title could be better spot-on!

To conclude my post I want to write about an episode who touched Sandro, which is one of the first arguments you find on the web when you Google his name. That's why I wanted to start my article with a different and more enthusiastic topic.

People in the field know actually Sandro also for a story behind the scene, who involved him and the Porthos edition, being arraigned both from Gambero Rosso Holding and Slow Food edition. Accused of defamation, Sandro & Porthos won the case in the 2nd stage of the legal process. Responsible from 1993 until 1999 of the tastings and reviews for the "Vini d'Italia" guide (at that time co-edition between the Gambero Rosso and Slow food), it happened that Sandro left his role suddenly.
During a session of the TV program Report focused on wines ("In Vino Veritas" special edition), Sangiorgi revealed the truth about his leaving, declaring the pression received from the two organizations in order to favour in his reviews some wineries who stongly invested in advertisment, to the detriment of others . Specifically he signaled the publication of a review he never made on a wine company he thought was not deserving it. This declaration provoked the Gambero Rosso and Slow Food edition reaction and the consequences I wrote abut before.
I let yourself express your own opinion.

I thank instead Sangiorgi for the beautiful classes and for the great wines I had the chance to taste. Cheers!



domenica 7 dicembre 2014

Fulvio Bressan: the rebel winemaker

I had no clue about the controversy on Fulvio Bressan before they presented me his wines during a tasting. Expelled from Slow Wine due to his racist comments in Facebook against Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s Minister for Integration.

Difficult fellow. Direct, overheated, polemic. After the FB episod, his wines got  boycotted. A case of #web-reputation? Did he drink too much maybe ? His philosophy is "to hate moralists. In front of you they make the purist and criticize you. But then, they stab you in the back and make the most revolting things in the world". For sure he applied this philosophy (to be direct and not moralist), he shouted his thoughts in front of everybody (in the web) and he got punished. I don't have a clear position on that. I totally disagree of such a direct and offensive way of shouting furiously and with racism ideology. On the other side, I fully disagree on the boycott positions taken in the wine world and business. Especially after he excused himself. Especially because it looked quite evident that he did it in a naive way driven by his hot temperament.
That he was a rebel personality was quite clear. That he got easily overheated too. So I see as an outsider too strong the positions taken against him and his wines. Like a sort of "moralist" attitude to take advantage of someone else mistakes, an excess of righteousness? Maybe.
Anyway, I tasted his wines before knowing all this story, so my judgement was 100% naive  & still is impartial

The Schioppettino or #ribolla nera was spicy and full of wild aromas, quite complex. Moss, wood, mulberry. I liked it.

His pinot noir is atypical. White pepper and vanilla. Ripe fruit. It reminds to his other wines I tasted, despite the non-autoctonous grape variety. I liked it too.
From a rare and noble grape  the Pignol 2001 has a great potential. Served after oxygenation. woodlands undergrowth as well as with aromatic herbs.  Honestly, I found it amazing.

sabato 6 dicembre 2014

A nonconformist winemaker: Jean-Pierre Robinot and his (bio)-dynamic

I have fallen in love with this wine during a tasting class with Sangiorgi, the natural wine "guru". I will speak about him.

Jean-Pierre is an alternative character,  passionate about wine since he was very young. In the 1980’s he opened L'Ange Vin, one of Paris’ first wine bars with only natural wine. After that, not satisfied enough,  he undertook the experience of the magazine “Le Rouge et Blanc”, created by himself,  a bible of information on natural wine growers in France.
The moment arrived when he realized that the real substantial way to understand natural wine was actually making it.  So, in 2001, he started with his own biodynamic (of course!) winery in his native village in the Loire. Still running the wine bar in Paris and travelling to and from the winery, he gave birth to his first “Cuvee TGV”, in memory of the high speed train he took between Paris and the Loire, until the moment he decided to move definitively to Chahaignes and focus his life on grape growing and winemaking.
Pineau d' Aunis, Chenin Blanc and Gamay are responsible for the "Domaine de L'Ange Vin", indicating those wines made from grapes grown on his own vineyards. "L'Opera des Vins" indicate wines which are instead made from the grapes he purchases from nearby vignerons, but that he selects personally and carefully. The #Pineau d' Aunis is not the Brother or the Sister of the Pinot, be careful :). The name Pineau comes from the French word pin and refers to the pine cone shape that clusters of grapes can resemble!
Robinot’s wines can take a long while to ferment, 2 to even 4 years (if not longer), enchanted by the changes that the wines experience during this time. His products are unquestionably without sulfur (VINS S.A.I.N.S in the lables indicate in fact "sans aucun intrant ni sulfites ajoutes"). This winemaking process may seem chaotic from the outside, but it is totally under his control and it makes fully sense. It is simply natural.
Even more, to make this wine producer unique (to my eyes at least), comes the fact that the labels on each wine are changed every year, sometimes based on his own paintings or photographs.

I have tried just one wine (as I said before during a tasting class), Les Vignes De L'Ange Vin Nocturne 2009 and I got fascinted, not only for its story. Vivid. Red fruit, balsamic notes, roses. A good potential for aging. "Un vin tout en finesse et en délicatesse qui se rapproche de la cuvée Camille sur ce grand millésime solaire qu'est 2009".