From the Dept. of Technologically Hip: Chianti Classico Announces Text Messenging Wine Info Program

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.

Oscar Farinetti Vows to Maintain Style of Borgogno

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.

Masi: Fifty Years of Single-Vineyard Amarone

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.

Ferrini, Cotarella, and Gentili to Represent Italy at Wine Creators Symposium

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.

Vigna Announces Grapevine Genome Sequencing Results

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.

For more information, write to the Applied Genomics Institute: info@appliedgenomics.org.

Teobaldo Cappellano Proposes Changes to Current DOC and DOCG Streamlining Legislation

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:

  • Vini da Tavola (Table Wines) without the name of the grape and/or the vintage on the label.
  • IGT where the name of the grape and the vintage is allowed on the label.
  • DOC with numeric government-stamped numeric certification prominently displayed
  • DOCG, as above for the DOC, with mandatory tasting cerfication
  • DOCG for delmited subzones, certified for quality.
  • Click here to read the entire interview in Italian.

    Ex-President Enzo Rivella of the Comitato nazionale dei Vini DOC (Commission for DOC Wines) proposes looser appellation laws

    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.