The Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico Gallo Nero has announced a new SMS text messenging program that will allow users to access information on Chianti Classico bottled since the 2004 vintage. By sending a serial number on the bottle’s strip label to 366-3333603, users will instantly receive data on the wine. Italian users will receive information in Italian, Germans in German, and all other countries will receive information in English. The program will also allow the Consortium to gather data on consumption and consumer preferences. The new service was announced last week at the “Chianti Classico Collection” tasting held last week in Florence, where the 2007 vintage made its debut.
Errata corrige: VinoWire erroneously reported that Mark Fornatale was the author of the post below on Borgogno. The author of the post, Ralph Michels, later revealed that he had been misinformed. See Fornatale’s comment below.
Despite claims made in a recent posting on the Antonio Galloni chat room (Mark Squires Bulletin Board on eRobertParker.com), new owner Oscar Farinetti vows that the winemaking style at Barolo- and Barbaresco-producer Borgogno will remain unchanged. Giorgio and Cesare Boschis recently sold the historic winery to Farinetti and continue to be involved in day-to-day operation. Known for his aggressive marketing and modern-style winemaking, Giorgio Rivetti, winemaker and one of the owners of La Spinetta, has also been asked to join their team as a consultant.
A recent chat room post reported the following (otherwise viewable only to registered users):
- Due to the strong friendship of the new owner and Mr. Giorgio Rivetti, partial owner and head winemaker of La Spinetta, La Spinetta now supports the winemaking as well as Borgogno’s export and marketing. The new owner is investing extensively into the cellar as well as into marketing. Within this year, Borgogno will have a new website as well as new print material. Communication will be improved. We will have a budget for promotional activities to support customers. And most important the quality of the wines will be even more outstanding. Investments in the cellar, as well as Giorgio Rivetti consulting Borgogno wine making, will secure highest quality [posted by Mark Fornatale (Italian Portfolio Manager, Michael Skurnik) February 22, 2008].
VinoWire editor and contributor Franco Ziliani recently contacted Farinetti (above, left), and asked him if Rivetti’s presence in the cellar would lead to a more modern-style of winemaking. He responded, writing via SMS, “Borgogno has no need for any changes in the cellar. As far as Rivetti is concerned, he will play no internal role. He will give us a hand with exports. The following is Borgogno’s corporate strategy: no change in the cellar or in winemaking [and] elimination of wines not internally produce… Borgogno will continue to produce [its wines] using the classic method.”
Oscar Farinetti is the entrepreneur who brought Italy the gargantuan Italian food and wine emporium Eataly (site), Turin.
The 2008 vintage will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Masi’s first single-vineyard Amarone, Campolongo di Torbe, believed by many to be the appellation’s first “cru.” Sixth-generation owner of the Masi winery, Dr. Sandro Boscaini (left, at a lecture for American wine writers) held a series of events in New York last week to commemorate the bottling.
The forward-thinking Dr. Boscaini also spoke of his winery’s modernization in 1983 (specifically, the introduction of temperature-controlled fermentation and inoculation through yeast selection). Masi’s new “contemporary” Amarone, he said, created a market for Amarone in the United States.
Enologists Carlo Ferrini, Riccardo Cotarella, and wine writer Ernesto Gentili will represent Italy at the first-ever WineCreator Symposium, to be held in Ronda, Spain, April 18-19.
The gathering will host 12 of the world’s top enologists and leading wine journalists, including English-language writers Jancis Robinson, Stephen Tanzer, and Joshua Greene. The theme of the symposium’s first meeting will be wine and globalization.
On March 7 and 8, 2008, Vigna (a joint Italian-French research team) will present much-anticipated results of its grapevine genome-sequencing project in Udine (Friuli), at the Auditorium della Regione Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
The first day of the English-language conference will be devoted the scientific results of the historic project, while the second day will be devoted to applications of the findings in the world of winemaking and viticulture.
Italian winemakers across the country are preparing to meet new “stream-lined” standards for DOC certification to be implemented this summer. Less rigid sample protocols and a new DOC certification “strip label” are among the most controversial elements in new legislation. VinoWire’s Franco Ziliani recently spoke to Barolo-producer Teobaldo Cappellano (above left), winemaker and owner of the eponymous winery and president of Vini Veri. Baldo (as he is known to his friends) has called for complete sampling of DOC and DOCG wines and the creation of commissions to re-taste the wines on the market. The following are his proposed changes to current legislation:
1) a return to the government reviewed packing list for the handling of grapes and bulk wine.
2) the creation of DOC and DOCG commissions to sample wines on the market.
3) a return to complete sampling only for DOCG wines instead of attestation.
4) mandatory prison-time for counterfeiters of strip labels.
5) the mandatory creation of a regional IGT for all regions and the following:
In the January-February issue of De Vinis (the official publication of the Association of Italian Sommeliers), ex-president of the Italian Appellation Commission Ezio Rivella proposes looser appellation laws to help Italian wines compete on the international market.
“The appellation shouldn’t have anything to do with the grape varieties nor should it specify the percentages of a given grape. This will allow producers express themselves and to personalize their wines,” said Rivella in the recently published interview. The obsession with creating rigid appellation laws is an Italian abberation and it doesn’t enhance quality because it has to take into account producers who are less capable,” he explained.
For example, he proposes a new appellation called simply “Montalcino,” whereby producers could use “all the best grapes that grow on their land.”
And in what was perhaps the most provocative statement, Rivella suggested that “Barbera and Syrah could be used in Barolo, quality levels would certainly be increased.”
Polemical and provocative words from the Italian Appellation Commission’s ex-president.
On Monday, February 11, 2008, I attended a tasting of tasted 27 Francicacorta DOCGs, ranging in vintage from 1999 to 2004, hosted by The World of Fine Wines. Among the sparkling-wine and Champagne experts on hand for the event, tasters included the illustrious Margaret Rand and Tom Stevenson. VinoWire is a points-free zone but the numbers that day spoke clearly, with high-marks across the board. The best metodo classico or classic-method Franciacorta wines combine ripe, succulent fruit and medium body with freshness and vibrant acidity. The result is very balanced and food friendly wine. Among the different vintages tasted, the 2002 performed surprisingly well (for a rain year in Italy, generally not considered a great vintage) The 2001, 2000 and 1999 also received high marks while the 2004 is still to young to reveal its potential. All in all, I was impressed by the performance of the 27 Franciacorta wines at our tasting in Champagneshire… I mean the UK.
My personal favorites: Franciacorta Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Zanella 1999 from Ca’ del Bosco (the number one in Franciacorta), a full-bodied wine, but with a great balance and very appealing character; Extra Brut Bagnadore 2002 Barone Pizzini, a Champagne” style wine, excellent with food; and the Extra Brut 2000 from Ferghettina.
The biggest surprise? Saten 2002 from Montenisa, the Antinori family’s Franciacorta estate, very balanced, fresh, with a savory finish.
The celebrated Cuvée Vittorio Moretti Extra Brut 2001 (disgorged 2007) from Bellavista was perhaps the only disappointment.
Best quality for the price: NV Brut from small winery named San Cristoforo based in Erbusco, the capital of Franciacorta. “A lovely wine for drinking over the next 2-3 years,” said top-Champagne-expert like Tom Stevenson. Not too shabby…
– Franco Ziliani
The most recent survey conducted by Istat (the Italian National Institute of Statistics) reports that from 2000 to 2006, the number of hectares under vine in Italy have dropped by 13,552 (2% of the national total), from 692,420 to 678.868.
In other words, the Italian vine had lost a surface area equivalent to the region of Umbria. Data show that the greatest decline has occurred in Central (113,451 hectares) and Southern (329,868) Italy. During the same period, Northern Italy has seen growth of 1.2% with a total of 235,549 hectares under vine.
In the north, Lombardy has seen notable growth (+3.5%), while Liguria (-4.1%) and the Valle d’Aosta (-11%) have dropped considerably. The number of hectares under vine in all of the other northern regions continues to grow, with Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the lead with a growth-rate of 100.2%.
In Central Italy, Tuscany has remained essentially unchanged (+0.7%) while Umbria has shown healthy growth (+2.5%). But the news from Latium (-1.1%) and the Marches (nearly -18%) is not so good.
In the south, the number of hectares under vine in Molise has grown considerably (+19.3%) and Sardinia shows some growth (+1.1). But the rest of the south reports steep declines: -4% in Apulia and Campania, -2% in Sicily and Calabria, -9% in Abruzzo, and a whopping -18% in Basilicata – the home of one of Italy’s greatest wines, Aglianico del Vulture.
Over all, Italian viticulture has show growth in production zones where producers have a healthy relationship with the market. Inversely, production zones lacking a healthy dialog with the market have reported marked decline.
VinoWire was conceived by Franco Ziliani and Jeremy Parzen to provide a “wire service” feed of current news and events from the world of Italian wine. While North American and British food and wine editors have historically devoted much of their attention to Italian wine and food, relatively little information reaches the English-speaking world directly from Italy. As a twentieth-century Italian poet once said, there is no greater misunderstanding than the Atlantic Ocean. Regrettably, noted the site’s creators, much of the news that makes the crossing and lands on North American shores loses something in translation: VinoWire was created to offer English-speaking wine lovers an unbiased, direct, timely, and purely journalistic source of information on Italian wine, the people who produce it, and the places where it is made.
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