A wine tasting for young producers

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But what a lovely evening I had last Thursday! Simple, informal, entertaining and constructive. Let me explain right away: I participated in a blind wine tasting with a group of friends and fellow wine producers from Langa and Roero, at the Piola restaurant in the cathedral square of Alba. Each person was required to select and bring a bottle of wine, with its identity disguised, and then let loose with comments and critique. Champagne, Burgundy, Friulani, Australia, Tuscany, Langa: a mix of the great wines of the world. A wonderful and intriguing evening. It was also an opportunity to see old school friends, as many of the participants and I attended the wine school of Alba together. We met, we spoke of the world of wine, of producers, bio-dynamics, market novelties, and more…we exchanged critiques and engaged in discussion with sincerity and respect.

While returning home that evening, it occurred to me that a constructive exchange of this kind would not have come easily to our parents and grandparents. Perhaps we are improving? The new generation of young wine producers is not too shabby, don’t you think?

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And now I will list the invitees: First and foremost was the man of the house, none other than my former basketball teammate, Alessandro Ceretto, Alberto Cordero, owner of Cordero di Montezemolo di La Morra, and his wine specialist Enrico Oliviero, the Negro di Monteu Roero brothers of the eponymously-named business, Luca Cravanzola of the Produttori di Barbaresco, Giuseppe Vajra of G.D. Vajra, and last but certainly not least, the vendor of fine wines, Paolo Repetto of Vinifera.

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I will not list the wines tasted, some of which you can see here in the photos, but the surprise of the evening merits special mention: The Australian Petaluma 1997 Coonawarra, excellent and technically refined, admired by all of the participants. I have a deep love for terroir wines, but when I taste such elegant wines (very rare) coming from Australia, my thoughts get momentarily jumbled up.

Another consideration is that when one tastes the wine of Langa or a Burgundian Pinot Noir alongside an Amarone or Supertuscan, these last, although magnificent, hit a wrong note. This is not a display of exaggerated attachment to my own region: The intrinsic refinement of the Nebbiolo and the Pinot Nero, when produced in their traditional regions, is simply unique in all the world.

And how could we not discuss the new commercial strategies of Fontanafredda – you already know what I am referring to. We decided that we should make a new wine of that type, too, and to call it GiàCius (already drunk). Competitors, start quaking in your boots!

Obviously, a joke.