Page 14 - Code de Vino, #14/20, w/s 2017
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12   Wine Club                                                                         Code de Vino #14               Code de Vino #14                                                          Maestro Franco Biondi Santi  13
                                                             — I make two kinds of wine from different parts of the vineyards.
                                                             I use grapes that are five to ten years old for a simpler, lighter wine,
                                                             while the truly exquisite wine comes from vines that are over twenty-
                                                             five years old. Our oldest vine has been growing since 1936.
                                                             The wines I make are considered ready for consumption after five
                                                             years. But obviously, the more you let the wine age in the bottle,
                                                             the better it gets. It becomes more and more refined each year.
                                                             In France, for instance, they recommend drinking certain wines
                                                             after twenty-five years of aging. The same goes for Biondi Santi
                                                             wine: the longer the aging, the better the wine.

                                                             For example, our 1955 wine was named one of the top twelve
                                                             wines of last century by Wine Spectator. The list included wines
                                                             from France, California… Ours was the only representative from

                                                             — Are older wines more acidic?
                                                             — Yes, wine can indeed get more acidic due to the transformation
                                                             of the tannins. Some wines can also lose their rich color and become
                                                             closer to a rose color… Not a deeper burgundy, but a lighter color.

                                                             — That's interesting because normally wine tends to get
                                                             more maroon or carmine as it changes color, but yours
                                                             becomes pinker.
                                                             — Yes, we've seen this since 1888. Wine usually has a maroon
                                                             color, but it becomes more complex over time. While our wine
                                                             becomes pinker. Wine that turns brick-red, borderline brown,
                                                             is not suitable for long-term aging.                                                                          Montalcino, the capital of Italy's most prestigious wine region
        — Writer and critic Burton Anderson said your Greppo wine
        is meant for meditation. Would you agree with that?  — Many people consider your wines to be philosophical.
                                                             Some get even more specific and say that the wines belong        Ancient culture is close to my thoughts, my own culture, and all the   — Would African drums suit your wine too?
        — The respected Italian wine critic Camillo Langone also called   to the school of stoicism. In your opinion, which school   wines I make. Namely, that's the Etruscan civilization that lived in this
        it a wine for meditation in one of his articles. He conducted the   of philosophy suits your wine best? Roman, Chinese, Greek,   area before the Romans. It's only natural that the origins of our wine   — If the rhythms coincide, yes, as wine
        following experiment at a tasting: he opened up a bottle of the wine   for instance? What should I read in order to understand   trace back to that ancient culture, to our land.  is a rhythm of its own… Though I'm not too
        and tasted it every three hours to observe the difference, note the   your wine?                                                                                              sure about that pairing.
        effect, and appreciate the entire range of flavors. It was clear to him                                               When it comes to modern times, the main qualities we invest
        that the quality of the wine only got better as time went on, despite   — Our philosophy, as I've already mentioned, is patience. In a way,   in winemaking are patience, attention to results, and being able
        the bottle being open. He concluded by saying, «It's a shame that   our wine goes against the modern style — one certainly wouldn't   to abandon ideas. Sometimes we improvise in our winemaking and   — Should Russian people learn to appreciate
        the amount of wine gets smaller and smaller every three hours."   call it a modern wine. Very recently, a group of monks established   expect something incredible to come from it, but after another tasting   Tchaikovsky before they drink your wine?
        When the bottle was finished, they didn't throw it away. Instead, they   a community in this area. Their main principle is patience too.   we may realize that the wine isn't at the level we anticipated. In that
        rinsed it and enjoyed what was left of the wine diluted in the water.   So the philosophy of our wine does have a kinship with antiquity.  case, we can switch to a lower category for that wine, abandon the   — Yes, one needs to be able to hear and
        The water smelled and tasted the same as the wine. They deduced                                                       prestigious "Reserva" label and simply call it "red wine from Montalcino.    understand Tchaikovsky and, of course,
        that even the glass bottle had absorbed the taste and the flavor                                                                                                              to understand wine. I have a wine — a rose —
        of the wine. So yes, it is indeed a wine for meditation.                                                              That said, its taste and characteristics will still be much better   which is the perfect aperitif for listening to music.
                                                                                                                              than those of your regular red wine.
        — Does that mean that your wine is not best suited for a hearty                                                                                                               — And what poems would you recommend?
        meal but rather for reflection and a light snack, perhaps?                                                            — To understand your wine, one has to be prepared
                                                                                                                              to appreciate it. But let's say that in order to appreciate it, I should   — That's a difficult one for me… I find it hard
        — These wines are truly outstanding. If you do have them with                                                         read a philosophical treatise. What would you recommend?  to give you an answer because I've devoted my
        a meal, pheasant or grilled chicken makes for a great pairing.                                                                                                                entire life to wine over anything else. I've traveled
        So yes, you can have them with food. But wines that have been                                                         — I would recommend Virgil who wrote a lengthy treatise   a lot, I've given my whole life to this… During
        aged for fifty or sixty years, or wines from the 19th century, are best                                               on growing grapes.                                      my lifetime, there have been huge changes in
        enjoyed on their own. They have powerful and complex flavors that                                                                                                             technology and winemaking, so I've dedicated all
        can get lost to a certain degree. We take great care to make sure                                                                                                             my time to wine. I have a degree in music, so I find
        that our wine is stored and consumed in the best way possible.                                                        — I see. And what about music?                          it easier to answer those kinds of questions. But
        That's why we attach a small guide to each bottle.                                                                                                                            I couldn't tell you about poems because I've pretty
                                                                                                                              — Prelude to Act III from La Traviata. I also very much like Tchaikovsky's   much spent my entire life focused on one area.
                                                                                                                              1812 Overture commemorating Russia's defeat of Napoleon.
        — You don't have young wines — they're all older than four                                                            Its powerful instruments instantly create a feeling of strength and
        years, as per your regulations. When would you say is the best                                                        harmony. It's not just a harmony of sweet and delicate violins but   — Well, actually, your wine is poetry!
        time to start drinking your wines? Yes, you can drink them after                                                      a harmony that becomes something truly powerful with stronger
        four years, but maybe it's better to wait ten?                                                                        instruments coming into the foreground — drums, trumpets, and so on.  — Thank you!
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