Wine culture

A book by the excellent journalist, Luciano Pignataro, was published just a few days ago: 101 VINI DA BERE ALMENO UNA VOLTA NELLA VITA SPENDENDO MOLTO POCO [101 WINES TO DRINK AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFE, SPENDING VERY LITTLE]. It is the latest in the class of books offering a selection of wines with an appealing price/quality ratio.

Although through my work as a vendor I deal with wines that one finds on the market in at a high price point, I do not fail to recognize that most consumers cannot frequently permit themselves a bottle of wine of serious price, and I am therefore in favor of that fact that guides exist for consumers who want good wines without spending a congruous amount.

Beyond the concept that turns around the word “Quality”, a term much used and abused in the world of wine, and concerning which I again promise to intervene in the next few days, another reflection comes to mind.

I have been working in this field for ten years, and I have seen the publication of many books and pronouncements of this kind, relative to both wine and restaurants.

I would be pleased if one day a publication would see the light of day that explains to more people the reason for which it is a wonderful and good thing to permit oneself a grand bottle of wine, however expensive and even if only once a year.

There are wines that for expressive quality and the number of bottles produced cannot be anything but expensive. They are very great wines, of superlative quality, that produce grand emotions. They are a symbol of our culture and our civility.

I am convinced that it is right for whomever truly appreciates wine to at least every so often permit themselves the gastronomic luxury of opening and enjoying one of these nectars, and in Italy we have a large number of them.

I understand that my reasoning could be considered controversial, above all in a period such as we are experiencing now, however I continue to see so many people spending hundreds of Euro each month on coffee and cigarettes, perhaps lamenting the excessive price of certain wines.

It would be however a way of continuing to cultivate a culture of taste that it seems to me we are in danger of losing, and of knowing and better appreciating the excellence and the products that our lands express, of which we can be truly proud.

In France, for example, there is a widespread custom, even among families of lesser means, in which a certain sum is set aside each year to be spent on a meal in one of France’s numerous exemplary restaurants (and on average these locales are much more expensive than in Italy), accompanied by a grand bottle of wine.

Perhaps we, too, should become a bit more chauvinistic?