2 Mar 2006

Angelo Gaja & Tenuta San Guido

'Individualism in a World of Globalisation'
[Presentation by Angelo Gaja and Nicolo Incida della Rocchetta at the Italian embassy]

I HAVE had a good day at the Italian embassy, sampling wines I had only been able to read about before. The Italian wine renaissance it seems is indeed in full flow...

Angelo Gaja confirmed his maverick quality in his speech to the assembled wine professionals, comparing Cabernet Sauvignon to John Wayne - "a consistent but unimaginative lover"! Merlot is Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, an altogether more restrained, "shy" and sometimes even ironic beast. But certainly no easy-lay...

He spoke out against the over-manipulation of commercial wines (regulating acidity, tannin and alcohol with barely legal hocus-pocus) and also the planting of vines in totally unfeasible areas (and countries). Draw your own conclusions although South Africa and Pinot Noir immediately spring to my mind.

Other points he raised - apart from strongly indicating that the Italians make the best wine -include the fact that Italy (and Italians) have around 1500 varieties to pick and choose from, so exploration and inventiveness is often rewarded. He sung Piedmont's (literally "foot of the mountains") praises, not only for the quality wine, but because of the beautiful snow-capped scenery in abundance. His overriding philosophy, it seems is to make wines with the ability to "suprise you".
His passion reminded me perhaps logically of Marchesi Piero Antinori, who said: "Uniformity is not our philosopy.