Page 11 - Code de Vino, #12/18, s/s 2016
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10  Wine Club  Code de Vino #12  Code de Vino #12                        Donato Lanati. Special Oenology Forces  11
 traditions of this area had not been propelled primarily by this
 particular grape, it would not have survived until now. The grapes
 that failed this test are now long gone. In this area, tradition brought
 to light and carried through the ages these particular varieties,
 which had been selected naturally over the course of eight
 thousand years.

 In France, it was Julius Caesar who imported vines there two
 thousand years ago. He conquered Gaul and forced the Roman
 centurions to grow grapes there. If he had forced them to grow
 grain, they would have just grown one harvest, collected it and left
 for good. However, taking care of a vineyard required time and
 effort, which was why they stayed.

 Then, about two hundred years ago, rich bankers of Bordeaux paid
 to conduct scientific research on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and
 other local grapes. That's why I consider them a bit artificial, do you
 understand what I'm trying to say here? Like they're grown in a lab.
 They're excellent grapes, of course, but... In France, there are five
 universities studying oenology. But when I'm talking about
 traditions, I mean something different.
 The Italian tradition is very different from that of the French. The
 same as in Georgia, the grapes were cultivated by peasants over a                      Donato Lanati's laboratory
 long period of time as they selected those varieties that were most
 Oleg Cherne with Donato Lanati and Georgi Salakaya  fit for this land.
 Plus, I believe that the entirety of the bouquet and the best qualities   Castello Banfi is owned by an American, who was all for using   Plus, there's one other thing. If I buy a bottle of wine for $50 and
 of a wine reveal themselves only in the domestic terroir. Even   Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the market and customers opted   want to enjoy it to its fullest, I need to learn the history of this wine. It
 — Signor Donato, during our tour at your lab, I kept recalling   though famous French grapes take root well everywhere in the   rather to come to Tuscany to buy Brunello! That's why today we do   stimulates my imgaination, and as I taste it I travel through space to
 my interview with Michel Rolland.  world, the true wealth of Italian winemaking is in its uniqueness! We   our best to study Sangiovese, as a good Sangiovese is what our   where it was made. It brings about new associations and wakes up
 have Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, etc. Today, wine is more than just a   customers want.  my curiosity.
 — A fantastic oenologist! Number one in the whole world!  combination of color, flavor and taste. It's also everything that
 surrounds it.  In Georgia, we would like to conduct a more thorough research of   As a little side note, I'd like to tell you a story. When I was a student
          the varieties selected throughout the course of history, as we   in the University of Turin, I had a girlfriend who lived in Rome.
 — This was our first-ever interview for Code de Vino, and I   The French register of grape varieties consists of several dozen   realized that certain types of grapes work quite well for sparkling   Sometimes she would call me and say: "I'm in the phone booth in
 was thinking: "What should I ask him about? I can't blow this   sorts, while in Italy we have five hundred. The same is true for   wines, which was one of the keys to the success of Badagoni   front of the Coliseum", and at that moment I was no longer in Turin,
 opportunity..." So I said to him: "Michel, I think that the most   Georgia. The French approach is very scientific, and they are gifted   Sexton Brut.  but in that phone booth in front of the Coliseum with her! This is
 important part of a grape variety are its genes, the history of   at selection. Perhaps, Shiraz and Petit Verdot can eventually   what a good wine should be able to do—transport us to faraway
 the soil... Even despite the age of a vine." We spoke mostly   become good wines for Georgia. Nevertheless, they will never be   lands.
 about Cabernet Sauvignon. And he couldn't answer that   able to represent this area adequately on their own. You can
 question. He said: "That's a very interesting thought, but I'm   attempt to create an interesting new wine, but history has already
 not a researcher."  determined the right place to make the best Saperavi.  — I agree that there is more and more blank, featureless wine
                                                              being produced in the world today. However, I had a very
 And here, in your stunning center, for the first time in my life I   Of course, today's scientific knowledge can help define the best   interesting experience in Argentina, where I met Arnaldo
 can see a place where people do exactly that—you study the   location for cultivating Shiraz as well. I'm all for these kinds of   Etchart, the owner of Bodegas Etchart in Salta. Michel Rolland
 genetic history of grapes. It's like a glass of wine for my soul,   experiments. I work for Castello Banfi, where they make a   was their oenologist. In my opinion, they had the best Malbec
 because finally, after all these years, I've found confirmation   wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. But! Their most popular   in all of Argentina.
 to my hypothesis. So, I have a question. One time I   wine is Brunello, made from Sangiovese.
 interviewed Antinori, who works with Cabernet Sauvignon.     I visited him at his house, where he was sitting with his friend
 This isn't a typical variety for Tuscany, and Antinori was the   and paying zero attention to me. I was there waiting... And
 one who introduced it to the high-end wine-making of Italy.   they just went on drinking wine. Suddenly, he turns over to me
 And I'd like to ask you: can the wine, that didn't belong to an   and asks: "Why are you here?" I answer: "I want to talk about
 area naturally, from the start, represent this area. And if so,   wine." So he says: "Have you read Borges?" — "Of course I
 should they represent it?                                    have, I would never come without doing my homework!" Then
                                                              he says: "Well then, sit down!" We had a long conversation
 — That's a very good question. I think that a wine that truly   about Borges, and only after that he said: "Now you can try
 represents its area is limited to autochtonous wines. Like Saperavi,   my wine." But Argentina isn't a native home to Malbec!
 an amazing variety, or Mtsvane. I chose them for Badagoni
 because they have been cultivated on Georgian soil for thousands   — Etchart is a rare type of winemaker, a unique case and perhaps
 of years. They represent the history of this land.           even one of a kind. I think that on the whole Merlot is growing
                                                              better in Argentina. I know Argentinian wines quite well, we've
 When Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay is imported into a new   analyzed a fair share of them. By the way, many wines with Malbec
 area, I take issue with this, as they can't represent this land to the   also contain a good portion of Merlot.
 same extent as the original grapes do. The value of a wine region
 lies in its history and tradition, which need to be preserved.
                                                              — Why can't we say that today Malbec is already autochtonous
 If Saperavi had not passed the test of time, all the climatic   to Argentina and Shiraz is autochtonous to Australia? They found
 changes, natural disasters and so on, and if the winemaking   a new interpretation there. Can we accept that for what it is?
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