Editorial: UNA, the Italian Unity Bottle, Patriotard Rhetoric

Raise your hand, please. Send up a signal. If you take seriously such an unserious thing as the “Italian Unity Bottle,” please show yourself. If you have the courage (and the gall) to show yourself with such an unseemly package (as in the photo above), please let your presence be known.

[translator’s note: please see the Wiki entry for Italian Unification for historical background.]

And please state your name and step forward! That is, if you have survived the orgy of patriotard rhetoric (the result of a diabetic or perhaps alcoholic coma?) reported in the press release. It informs us of the presentation of the bottle celebrating 150 years of Italian Unity (conceived by Veronafiere-Vinitaly) to the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano the other day in New York.

Ettore Riello, Giovanni Mantovani, and Nicola Moscardo (Veronafiere president, director, and administrative counsel, respectively) were all on hand in the Big Apple to present the head of state with “Bottle Numero Uno.”

It is described as a “bottle celebrating 150 years [of Italian unification]. After being presented to President Napoitano, it will be given to the greatest international authorities. Only a small number of bottles were produced and the wine is not available for sale. It embodies great symbolic value and it is intended to promote and raise international awareness of the uniqueness of Italian viticulture, winemaking, and the classic cultural values of the Belpaese that it represents.”

“Conceived and created especially by Aldo Cibic and Riccardo Facci, the content of the bottles was born through the union of forty indigenous grape varieties (twenty white, twenty red), presented in a box set containing a ‘Vino Rosso d’Italia’ and a ‘Vino Bianco d’Italia’ intended as the sum of the 20 regions of the Belpaese. Two wines that officially represent the anniversary of the foundation Italian State, at home and abroad.”

Assoenologi was consulted for the creation of the blend and the wines were chose by the Superintendents of the 20 regions [of Italy].”

Buck up! Don’t give in! And don’t fall victim to a combination of laughter and tears as you read that “the project — ‘The Italian Unity Bottle’ — which was presented last year during Vinitaly when the President of the Italian Republic was visiting the fair — finds itself at the center of an important celebratory moment here in New York,” in the words of Ettore Riello (president, Veronafiere), with his tricolor pocket square in his jacket. He gave “the Italian Unity Bottle, ‘UNA,'” as it is called, to Napolitano. “Our project was greatly appreciated by the President of the Republic and we have been asked, by the president himself, to give it the greatest exposure possible through different media, including the 2011 Vinitaly fair in Verona, Vinitaly in the World in markets all over the world, helping simultaneously to bolster the national identity and to promote awareness of our Country’s many fields of excellence.”

And if you actually manage to read the entire press release without smashing your computer against the wall, you will discover that the “Italian Unity Bottle, ‘UNA,’ expresses the authentic spirit of italianità [historic Italianeity], a never-tiring testament to [Italy’s] love of the land, of skill, of art, and the industriousness of its people.”

It’s all thanks to Vinitaly and its top authorities who traveled to New York to present the bottle because it’s always better to award prizes abroad.

And if you make it that far into the press release, tell me this: what can we say about a red wine where Barbera strides arm-in-arm with Sangiovese, Teroldego, Montepulciano, Negroamaro, Aglianico, Nero d’Avola, Croatina, and Sagrantino, and a white that indiscriminately mixes Cortese, Vermentino, Trebbiano, Garganega, Verdicchio, Falanghina, Fiano, Greco, Friulano e Pignoletto, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and Grillo? The only thing to do is blow a hardy raspberry!

—Franco Ziliani

3 thoughts on “Editorial: UNA, the Italian Unity Bottle, Patriotard Rhetoric

  1. Pingback: Super Cocina and Franco’s editorial on the Italian Unity Bottle project « Do Bianchi

  2. Pingback: Thoughts on Wine - Tuscan Recipes Food and Tradition - Tuscanycious

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