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12  Wine Club  Code de Vino #12  Code de Vino #12                        Donato Lanati. Special Oenology Forces  13
 — Actually, it's considered that all the grapes known today   I also know Yanis Karakezidi, who represents Russian producers    — Donato, how does it feel to win an Oscar of
 come from Mesopotamia. And all the vineyards in other   making terroir specific wines based on intuition, with no need for any   winemaking?
 areas should be referred to as "traditional varieties of   scientific research. Their soul is in perfect harmony with the land, can
 cultivated grapes." But tradition here plays a very important   you imagine that? Now this is a true producer.  — I would be a liar if I told you I'm not excited about it. However,
 role. In this sense, we can say that Shiraz is a traditional and   I won this Oscar in a difficult moment of my life, as a couple of
 typical variety of Australia, as that's what it is now.  One of our future goals is to create a chromatogram of all these wines,   months before that the American magazine Wine Enthusiast
 by assignint a musical note to each point and turning it into music. This   listed me among the top five oenologists ever. And I was the
    way, each land will be represented by its own beautiful melody. People   second on the list, which of course upset me, as like any other
 — Now let's talk a bit about Russia. When I was studying   can have the chance to hear the music of wine.  person with ambition I always want to be first! But then I won
 Russian wines, I came to the understanding that I like   Oscar del Vino award. Nevertheless, the best awards for me are
 two varieties of Russian grapes in particular:   the companies I work with, the ones I provide with advice and
 Tsimlyansk Black and Krasnostop. In one of your   — People today can hardly express how a wine makes them feel,   consultations, and the ones I keep in touch with every day. Of
 interviews you also mentioned Tsimlyansk Black. Both   and you're trying to get them to listen to its music!  course, our final customers are a reward in their own right as
 of them are considered autochtonous in my country.   well.
 Can we say that these two varieties represent the spirit   — That's our dream, and we'd like to learn to make wine that would
 of Russian wine, the culture of our winemaking   possess a harmony and balance similar to what can be found in music.
 tradition?  — When I first started studying wine, I realized for myself
          that the best profession in the world is a sommelier. In their
 — We analyzed these wines because two producers from   — It's impossible to interview you: every time I ask a question   work they get to use all of their senses, which means with
 Russia requested we do so. One company was called   there's a new treasure trove of information! You're setting the   all that comes with them. But then what makes an
 Fanagoria, and I don't remember the other... it was a private   board incredibly high here! Let's just go ahead and move on to   oenologist? Is their perception even more acute and
 winemaker. During our analysis, we discovered that these   the next section. No, better to ask one more question! I love   sublime? I see tasters as people with no particular taste,
 wines have a certain unique character. Indeed, Russian red   Wagner: what sort of grape reflects Wagner's music the best?  but oenologists are a different breed.
 wines have their own individuality. The same as Bulgarian
 wines. This individuality differs from Saperavi—in fact, they   — One of the great red wines.  — An oenologist is someone who watches how tastes change
 have nothing in common.  on the market. Allow me to explain: when we bring the glass to
          our nose, it perceives the flavor substances naturally. Now
 I believe that Krasnodar Krai is a great area for wine   — Saperavi?  imagine a flavor of a certain length. It enters your nose,
 production, as it has an excellent climate. Unlike in Kakhetia,   produces an effect on its mucous lining and the proteins
 this region is known for its sharp changes in temperature.  — Perhaps, Krasnostop or Saperavi aged in qvevri.  capture only a part of its molecule. This means we perceive only
          a portion of this flavor. Here we have leptins and maybe only
          three or four neurons that take the flavor to the hypothalamus,
          our memory center. In a fraction of a second, our brain restores   — After I tried your sparkling wine, I realized that even Dom
          the entire molecule by memory, but only depending on what we   Perignon, Veuve Clicquot and the rest are truly no match for it. It's
          already have stored there. So you're only going to enjoy the   a natural product, which cannot find its true expression in the
          flavor if it reaches your hypothalamus and finds a pleasant   modern technology used in champanization. For starters, because
          memory there to restore.                         the makers pour in their efforts that will reveal themselves only in
                                                           10–15 years. But since no one ever keeps wine for that long, what
                                                           do final consumers end up drinking?
          — In this case, are we able to speak of a chaotic molecule
          and a molecular chain?                           I want real champagne and I want it now... Not in three, not in five
                                                           years... And they can't give it to me! When I tried the sparkling
          — No, it's a molecular chain.                    wine from Mtsvane that you made, it was such a Eureka moment
                                                           for me!
          — But this is very important too! People need to   — I can tell you what's so special about this grape. The flavors you felt
          understand that often they react to a chaotic molecule, and   depend on the amino acids in the soil. This grape variety manages to
          they don't ever get the idea of a molecular chain! This   capture them. What you feel in the taste are indeed these amino acids.
          determines the quality of a wine.                In our lab, we experiment with temperatures to see how the yeast acts,
                                                           and find the perfect conditions for extracting these flavors out of the soil
          — So they only ever perceive just a piece, or a fraction of this   to transfer them to the grape.
          wine. For example, how is it that the whole world might enjoy
          Saperavi? Because it has lots of molecules of ripe red fruit with
          a delicious flavor. It's the flavor of cherries, strawberries, other   — Well, this can be said in respect of lots of grape varities. But to
          forest berries... Almost everyone knows these tastes, expect for   achieve the champanization we do... This process demands a
          maybe the Chinese. They don't have strawberries there. But to   good deal of ionization!
          the rest of the world these flavors are quite familiar. The Chinese
          will probably pick up more on the notes of tangerine. And even   — Fermentation is what produces these special bubbles. Spumante,
          if they don't know how, for example, a cherry tastes, they'll still   the sparkling wine, is almost like two wines in one. The first product is
          enjoy the balance between these flavors.         the wine material made from white wine, where the moment of harvest
                                                           plays the most crucial role. You should never gather unripe grapes, or
                                                           your wine will be bitter. And the territory giving the right acidity is also
          — Music again...                                 essential.
          — Yes, that's why we want to reconstruct this harmony and   After the harvest comes vinification, which is the initial process of
          embody it in music. That would be so great! Using the scanner,   extracting amino acids. Then the wine is filtered and sent to the second
          we upload the molecules and try to make a composition from   stage of fermentation. Using the yeast, we increase the pressure up to
          the notes we get. I estimate we're going to need from three to   5 atm to guarantee extraction. Amino acids contain proteins that serve
          five years to finish the project. Then I can finally retire! (Laughs.)  to transfer and preserve these flavors.
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