Fornovo, "Vini di Vignaioli" 2013: the artisanal wines between winemakers and territories (1/2).




This is one of the historic displays of "natural" wines in Italy: it has been taking place for years and has a considerable list of participants, as well as a solid artisan militancy. I have never been, but this year I don't want to miss it. There are too many friends involved asking me to go and too many wines I like up for tasting.



I can't help it: I do not like the definition of natural wines nor does it convince me, at least not as much as the tasting itself of many of these wines; their merit lies not in how they are made, but in the flavour and in the extreme quality when drunk.
The language of Italian wine is historically artisan: small and medium-sized producers, often managed directly, for wines defined between vines and rural effort, with a minimal oenology that is substantially artisan.



This was the norm up until the mid 1990s, when they had the clever idea of turning winemakers into entrepreneurs and replacing tractors with SUVs.
They used to say big shoes and thin brain, one could replace them with sunglasses and airplane ticket in the pocket.

With this change the story of Italian wine has fallen apart: wine has become a luxury object and no longer sustenance, displaced from its gastronomic setting, where it has always lived, and turned into a status symbol. The AIS (Italian Sommelier Association) has replaced the conviviality of Lions and Rotary and drinking has become the diversion of an evolved middle class.
 
For me it was in this passage that the system broke down, the consumption of wine started losing numbers of consumers, under the absent-minded gaze of those involved, because simultaneously prices were rising, and then the crisis kicked-in: expensive wines stopped selling so easily and so the motto "drink less, drink better" lost its effectiveness.



In this alarming context, the oldest novelty in the world: artisan style manages to give that extra enthusiasm, while the determination and drinkability do the rest. There are wines made for drinking, rather than being admired in the glass, between tears of wine and fascinating aroma rediscoveries.

Fornovo was full of youth, like one no longer sees in other wine events: beards, big shoes and lots of laughter fewer rituals and more drinking.

This is undoubtedly a value, a chance for sharing. We should talk a language more of Italian style, more composed and not for a minority; seeing some enthusiast tasters and producers reminded me of my youth, when I used to write about music and talking of a band that more than 50 people were familiar with was debasing, while the keyword was seminal. I dream of an Italy and world that drinks artisan wines and we will get there.



And now, since I believe in the sacred rite of Dionysus, stay tuned for the best sips:


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