Posts Filed Under Italian Wine
One of the more endearingly maddening things about European wine classifications is that they try to lump location, in aspects that are increasingly specific, and “quality,” in ways that are often nebulous.
Over at MyNameIsBarbera.com, I take this dichotomy head-on, in my dime-store-philosphical way (not yet trademarked, but it might as well be at this point). Obviously, the focus of that piece is on the “quality pyramid” as it pertains specifically to Barbera in Asti and the Monferrato area, but the idea that the pyramid is more reflective of stylistic personality rather than core quality (in the I’m-good-therefore-you-are-bad sense) is, I think, something that plagues many of the most well-established wine regions not just in Northern Italy, but in all of Italy; and, arguably, all of Western Europe.
Pour a glass, have a read, and then we can argue in buzzed pseudo-philosophy about it all!
THE PUZZLE OF THE (BARBERA QUALITY) PYRAMID
As a wine-scribe-type-guy, I absolutely despise writing about terroir.
If there is another term (aside from “optimal ripeness“) that is more flippantly overused in the wine business than terroir, I am unaware of it. In fact, its overuse – and the fear that it engenders – is so ingrained in me that I am incapable of typing the word terroir without italicizing it. As if, somehow, calling further attention to my use of it will protect me from the madness surrounding its misuse.
Yeah, good luck with that, right?
I was asked to tackle the concept – in writing – for my Monferrato gig, and, since I am supposedly a professional and all of that, I couldn’t say “no, thanks, I’m good.”
And so I offer you my humble take on what is often the least humble notion in wine; including why I specifically despise writing about it, why I disagree with the common English translation definitions of the word, why the word terroir shouldn’t be used as often as it is, and, fianlly, why I think that Northern Italian Barbera truly has a legitimate claim on its use. Check out the full essay on MyNameIsBarbera.com
MONFERRATO: BARBERA’S SOUL
Today’s theme is… confusion.
Where to start…
Ok, firstly, earlier this year I attended VINO2017 in NYC, the annual exposition of Italian wine, during which dozens of producers pour there wares. And so naturally, I am only going to talk about three of those dozens of producers.
Secondly, my highlights reel includes a sparkling… Gavi.
Thirdly, one of the producers I am about to mention has the word Grillo in the title, but hails not from Sicily in the south, but from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the north. And they don’t produce a wine made from Grillo.
Oh, and for some of these wines, I don’t have prices or vintages. But I felt compelled to write about them anyway, because of their deliciousness.
See, it’s all perfectly clear, right?
No? Crap. Ok, look, just run with it an get these wines on your jaded little radar already, okay?…
Read the rest of this stuff »
For those of you not (yet!) following along with my Northern Italian gig at My Name is Barbera, the second installment in the video series there is now available.
In this episode, I talk about the dreaded “T” word – terroir – with respect to the unique landscape of the region, to the backdrop of what you will see is one of the more beautiful wine-growing locations on planet Earth (see inset pic above for a sense of scope/scale/beauty/landscape-diversity).
I also squint. A lot. I’m blaming the sunshine. And the majesty of the surroundings. And maybe a lack of coffee at the time of filming. But I’m not blaming excessive Barbera consumption…
Anyway, you can check out the vid below, and head over to the My Name is Barbera website proper for my more long-form takes on the region, as well as articles written by European wine scribe Anton Moiseenko.
Monferrato Moves 2: Terroir Monferrato