Vinitaly just before the rain

Pioggia (tacuinum sanitatis casanatense, XIV secolo)
Di unknown master – book scan, Pubblico dominio,

I start from the premise, which is not demonstrable, but rather reasonable, that every work of art creates both its precursors and its successors, as Malraux said before Borges and then Genette after all: “one no longer listens to Wagner in the same way after Schönberg, nor Debussy after Boulez; nor Baudelaire after Mallarmé, Austen after James, James after Proust”. Then, removing the specification about art and leaving the work to itself without too many frills, so as not to get caught up in a suspended debate (whether wine is art or not), I find myself in the unfortunate condition of having to affirm that every wine tasted during a fair does not only modify the evaluation parameters of those tasted previously but, in a considerable way, that it creates a perceptive, aesthetic and palpably consoling model of all those who will succeed it.

You could say that this is not so because, jumping from pole to pole, from a pignoletto to a verdicchio, or from a Genoese bianchetta to a lovingly oxidized albana, there are big differences. Just as the sensations pass from the loving attention and dedication of a producer to the more improbable and convulsive crowd aimed at grabbing the last vinous product, or, on the contrary, from the winegrower’s sinuous introversion under the counter to brandish what has been and never will be or what is not yet and perhaps will become. However, it is not a matter of tactile sensations put to the test by a meticulous capacity for abstraction and the recomposition of the taster from one banquet to another, but of the intrinsic capacity of each wine (and the conditions of its use) to allow us to replant, backwards, the interpretative criteria of those that preceded it. In the same way, each tasting anticipates the following one, conditions its scope, its shape and, nevertheless, its substance. We always start from the end and I am not the first to say so. The curious and improbable succession of tastings should highlight more aspects of interrelationship between very different frequentations than the ecumenical distance of the rows where banquets, tables and glasses are ordered sequentially.

Before going out, when time begins to emphasize the lack, just at the extreme corner of the spurred cordon of the FIVI, I stop from Vada where, for a thread of land, a wine can not become another and it is not undoubtedly a sin: The “Langhe nebbiolo 2017” remains such between Neive and Mango, a pause in steel for a few months, does not mention the sustained permanence of evolution, but in its extreme essential expressive, taut, vibrant and tasty, makes it clear that he does not miss anything to belong to the rank of those beyond the border. The same psycho-physical composition that hovers over the “Moscato 2017“: to the soft sweet sensations, the fresh salinity of white peaches, sage, mint and lemon peels grace this wine of very pleasant grace. Tension for tension I come to this last table from an unbroken sequence not bad: lastly Ancarani, standing, Marta Valpiani sitting with others (you waste the jokes) and Bele Casel, from which the progression starts, sitting with others (the jokes begin to waste) but with the soppressa. Ancarani, there is nothing else to say, dries his whites, the albana “Sânta Lusa 2015” above all and also the “Famoso 2017“, which is a grape beyond like all the others but less famous, of all the possible sugars and imaginable. So if you start with an idea not so much of the albana itself, but of a possible winemaking, well! do another! Then it is clear that if the grapes are overripe something to honey you have to grant it and also that to the fruit in alcool, the yellow one, but to the sugars just nothing. It closes dry, which is a nice drink, also the Sangiovese “Oriolo 2016”, at first sight sharp and thin, but only if you do not let it pass enough to know how last.

In purity and delicacy it precedes the “Sangiovese Superiore 2016” by Marta Valpiani which, after the meticulous floral finesse, once again has a strongly iodized marine imprint. And only foolishly could one think that what has happened up to that point is so far away, just because it is Prosecco and, what is more, with the bottom, from what happens shortly afterwards with Romagna in bloom. Because, if there is one thing to say among the many so far said in so many different places, it is that in the “Prosecco Colfóndo 2015” of Bele Casel the crust of bread and the return of fresh and bitter wine climb, almost as would Luca Ferraro with his bike, over small mountains of salt crystals. And these are tasting notes I like the most, especially when the summer heatwave stretches its mocking gaze over our heated heads. And to say that I come from a pavilion frome the opposite direction and, more precisely, from a producer that I have never had the opportunity to taste (as the most in the known world): Putzenhof. The name refers to the oldest of the local D.O.C., just above Bolzano. I should say well of everyone, but to be fair I say better than some: the “Valle Isarco 2017 kerner“. The climb on the mineral hills (you can find the synonym you like best) is made from white flowers, apples of different colors, acidity and crunchiness, pears in random order, grapefruit and an exotic turn on the mango that throws it a little ‘on the Latin American dance party. I was referring to the very first local DOC, the hills of Bolzano: “Putzenhof Bozner Leiten 2017“: here we have a wine that preserves a vast idea of territory that starts from the lake and climbs uphill, hills and heights. Schiava, lagrein and pinot noir: the first more than any other grape variety. And the last less of the other two both individually and in sum (the solution is on page 10). It is probable that here too, historically, not only wines from a single grape variety have been produced, as we know today, but also balance cuts and great pleasantness of small and tender berries.

All this after a long stop in the land of Montalcino: sit both in San Lorenzo and just before at the Fattoria dei Barbi, which looks like a small annual summit made of brunello and sausage. Of San Lorenzo I report one thing that Emanuele Giannone wrote at the time: I agree so well and he write it so well that it would not have made sense to rework my thought a posteriori. “Bramante Riserva 2006“: “Rule of Love. A perfect wine. Does without analysis, scores, autisms, ‘aulenti’ notes, etc.. It simply asks you to go drink and do the night and enjoy and eventually take it seriously. Because it’s not easy: it’s beautiful and alive, it burst with life and desires. Exciting for its goodness, the drinkable is defined by the range of variation between affection and voluptuousness. With reason and feeling, one of the most immediately, instinctively good wines drunk in recent times“. (Intarvino)

Vigna del Fiore 2007” of the Fattoria dei Barbi wins, by unanimous vote of the jury that coincides with myself, the palmarès of the summit: it literally opens into the glass with considerable vigour and richness: earthy and salty, imprints cherries tending to black, plums, blueberries up to the middle palate, and then turns to licorice, leather and dark chocolate. The tannins have a very thick, dense texture and in perfect harmony with the consistency of the color and structure of the wine.

It may happen that the structure, width and preponderance are recalled by its relative and not absolute opposites: I approach Montalcino from two positions, a Piedmontese and a Ligurian one of quite different sign. Impact in Piedmont accidentally after Liguria searched. The Barbera d’Asti doc Superiore “La Cappelletta 2015” of Cascina Barisel tells of a barbera that looks like you imagine: think of Asti and donkeys, bagna caòda, of fritto misto, Paolo Conte, wine, superior wine, in short, this. Above all: a nice acid vein straight, alive, which does not give discounts to the jovial fruit, ripe, dark red that is still well present. “L’avija“, from overripe Muscat grapes: ualà (voilà) as several friends of those parts would say.

I don’t want to be too biased, but some western Ligurian wines howl at the moon. So I leave from Levante, from Tolceto – Comune di Ne, from the last tasted a bit by chance a bit by luck, “Bianco 2017” of the farm Ricolla, produced by the lees of vermentino and bianchetta. Daniele Parma says that he does it because it was done at a time when nothing was thrown away and in Liguria more than anywhere else. A wine of those who sink or swim. And this “swim” very well: a real surprise because it is as if it kept together, in their best form, exuberant and also this time salty, the bianchetta and vermentino, leaving however that they open juicy to the palate. I was just saying about the wines howling at the moon: three red Dolceacqua wines just because I have to choose. I cannot write a guide. Thus begins the morning of the last day: The Rossese of Dolceacqua Superiore “Posaù 2016” by Maccario Dringenberg; the “Bricco Arcagna 2016” by Terre Bianche and, finally, the Rossese “Galeae 2016” by Ka*Manciné.

I enter to Vinitaly, on Tuesday 17 April 2018, just before the rain that I will be encountering on the same evening, in the humid and steaming alleys of Genoa.