If there is a field in which everyone feels like an exact science holder, this is wine.
For this reason, I feel like saying that my story is nothing more than the story of an aspiring semi-serious Sommelier. I’m afraid of being surrounded by experts only.
Everybody is keen on studying questionable DOCGs and DOCs, that have made famous villages populated by two persons and ten cats, and IGTs sold at auctions for thousands of euros / dollars, just because the icons of the fashion&wine system are used to drink such wines.
How cute is to observe the handsome who – knows – you neo-sommelier proudly talking about icon bottles because he’s living in adoration of wine stars and of impregnable wine-making fortresses. He doesn’t even realize that the neighbour’s field can be greener, instead.
Hey you! You can’t smell the aromas with a plume in your mouth!
I’ve decided to live it differently, and I’ll tell you how it happened.
I was queuing for a coffee after a Lucullian lunch in a village dominated by a castle “in the heart of Chianti Classico”, as the peasants love to define these timeless areas.
While I was waiting for that yearned coffee, I absentmindedly looked around and I came to observe the dark wooden shelves which displayed those unfailing bouquets of famous labels that have made the history of wine. Such bottles now make a show: they are more inseparable than Carla Fracci and her tutu, more consistently combined than Thelma and Louise.
I was increasingly eager for a coffee not to give in a belly-full slump, when I turned to the Director of the Sommelier course, the organizer of the trip, and I exclaimed, pointing to the wall:
“that’s one of my favourites!”.
My remark was followed by his admonition:
“you may not come to the course next Tuesday. How can you love a wine in which each vintage is the same as the former one?”.
I felt like crying.
His disapproval made me understand that I was going wrong with the product itself, and not with that specific label, which I still shamelessly drink. On the following Tuesday, I went to the course, but with a different spirit (nice pun, Laura, congrats).
I’ve tasted the iconic wines because it is fundamental, because it is right to take the moral high ground, but also because there are good reasons for calling them myths: they really make me dream. But it is not enough for me.
In the magnificent journey, which is the passion for wine, I have understood that the technical perfection of flavours and the financial market belong to the mega-brands. At the same time, I realized that the real value of a wine is not material. The future of wine belongs to the producer in love with his job, who proudly brings his bottles to showrooms and who joins Vinitaly unnoticed, who puts the vector image of the grandfather / dog / family home and many other things already seen on the label, far from baroque golden motifs (and thank goodness) or the beautiful conceptual graphics. I like him because he represents us all, because he talks about distant memories and always welcomes us with the heat wrapping soul and palate.
Drink wine, not the producer, try the same grape variety in different places, write notes as if it were your first day at University, write on the placemats used during a tastings, talk about wine with that poor saint who will have to drive and take you back home. Taste blindly and rely only on your nose and your taste.
This is the only way to approach wine with awareness and to distance yourself from disorders and delusions of an uncritical and excessively fashionable consumption, as imposed by the international twinkling advertising.
I don’t want to be anti-conformist at all costs, I have already shown my appreciation for big names and I’ll keep doing it, but those who know me, understand that I prefer to follow a style rather than the dictates of fashion. Such research of style makes you feel good and makes you feel even better.
Choose the colour that lifts your complexion and not the pantone of the season if it makes you look like sick. Choose the emotion in a glass, the story that the wine tells you: make your heart speak, not the label.