I have returned from my brief trip to the Baltics and as always happens, on the plane my thoughts turned to the tastings and my contacts in Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki. I know the Baltic countries well, since I have been promoting my wine there for five to six years, trying to explain it effectively. The knowledge and curiosity of wine drinkers in these regions has grown and I am happy to see this.
The most intense moment was in Riga during a vertical tasting of Barolo wines, starting with my birth year: The splendid 1978.
I realized that I am beginning to have a greater appreciation for these older wines, which to tell the truth I have always criticized, almost as if I wanted to distance myself from that enological world, so different and so medieval. The 1950s, 60s, and 70s represented the Middle Ages of wine, rife with indecent enological junk, and where legality was a murky and vague concept. Nevertheless, over the past year I have been getting excited about these wines neither made nor conceived by myself. Perhaps I am not the right person to make them better understood, perhaps it would be better if whoever produced them was to do it instead, since they would know the pros and cons of the years in question, having lived them in person. During tastings, in fact, I try to avoid deliberately searching for particular scents or tastes read about in books or heard about from friends who are know-all sommeliers, but instead let them simply transmit themselves emotionally, trying to understand what that liquid represents and what it would like to communicate.
I hate those who judge these wines, it isn’t important if they are more or less oxidized, or more or less lively. I have no interest in giving them a grade. They are like old books: It is not important to agree with what it written in them, but rather to simply learn from the experience of that historical moment. And it is with great pride that I can say that my family and my wines were there. Sometimes we renounce those years, the dark years of wine production, and tend to disregard them, but we must not forget that without the Middle Ages the magnificence of the Renaissance would never have arrived.