Page 10 - Code de Vino, #4/09, a/w 2009
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8  Wine club  Code de Vino #4  Code de Vino #4                               A Talk with Marchese Piero Antinori  9
 — The Antinori family has been producing wine for   — Wine has been a part
 twenty-six generations. Who do you think among your   of people's lives for thousands
 ancestors made the greatest contribution to the family   of years. Indeed, it is one
 business?  of the main basic components
          of culture. This fact allows me
 — Every generation bestows its own unique input upon it.   to claim that wine is a very
 Sometimes several members of the family have been in the   civilized beverage that can
 process, sometimes it was just one person, while the other   make a person's life better.
 brothers devoted their lives to the army or church. In the   It has the power to help people
 past, this was typical in other families as well.  understand each other and
          be more tolerant, which
 At the same time, I believe the last three generations have   is extremely important.
 done a lot to make this business thrive. My grandfather
 Piero (my namesake) together with his brother Ludovico   Sure enough, drinking quality
 (named the same as my brother) lit a new fire under the   wine calls for certain rituals.
 family business and made great strides in the company's   This is very important, as wine
 reorganization. They modernized its sales management   isn't an industrially produced
 and wineries, and created new vineyards in specific places.  beverage. It's a gift of nature.
          The winemaking process
 Then my father focused his energies on the family business,   demands a lot of passion,
 and despite difficult periods in his life — I mean the two   patience and effort. As a drink,
 world wars here — he was always very active and loved   it depends on Mother Nature
 what he was doing with a passion. And finally, our current   and the unique harvests of every
 generation because we are in this business during a very   year. So I don't think wine is
 exciting period of time: a time for qualitative changes.  a beverage you can just open
          up and guzzle down. One must
          pay attention to wine, enjoy it...  The dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is visible from everywhere
 — And you're right in the heart of all these changes.
 Tell me though, do you consider yourself a
 revolutionary? If so, what's your idea of the revolution?                  — Do you mean that people have
                                                                            a responsibility in terms of wine?
 — I don't really know if I can call myself a revolutionary.
 I'm not sure that it's quite the right word. Here's what I think:          — Exactly! You're absolutely right.
 in a certain moment of my life during the late 60s, I was very             And by rituals I mean what quality depends
 curious and inquisitive. I really wanted to understand what                on, i.e. it should be wine of a certain class,
 people did in the countries famous for their wine, and how                 the bottle must be opened carefully, and
 high quality wine was produced. So I began to travel to                    the wine drank at the right temperature.
 certain regions, for example, Bordeaux, Burgundy and                       One should never treat wine carelessly,
 other wine regions in France. I met people there involved                  as it is a serious product and a lot of care
 in winemaking who shared their experiences with me, and                    and work is put into it. Wine absorbs
 Palazzo Antinori does not pass, it seems  I arrived at the conclusion that in Italy, after many years   in everything, which I think is important
 not a single tour of Florence  of focusing on quantity instead of quality, we must take   to remember when drinking it. One must
 the opportunity to form the right conditions for producing                 pay attention to all the details accompanying
 top quality wines. So I started working towards these goals,               the process of wine drinking. That's why
 and many other producers followed suit. That was the start                 quality wine, and Antinori wine in particular,
 of this significant shift. Those 30—40 years were an intense               demands a special approach.
 and interesting period of my life, during which the Italian
 wine industry changed dramatically. And note that this
 all occurred over a relatively short timespan.                             — In your opinion, what does wine
                                                                            mean to an aristocrat? Wine culture
 The famous English wine writer Hugh Johnson always says                    is currently at a stage of active
 there have been more changes in Italy (and not just there)                 development in Russia, but many
 over the last 30—40 years than over the last three or four                 people are experiencing some
 centuries. Can we call that a revolution? I'd say it's more                discomfort at their lack of knowledge
 like a renaissance of Italian winemaking. This may be just                 about what wine is, how it should
 a coincidence, but the Renaissance of the 14th 15th                        be consumed... Can a real nobleman
 centuries also began in Florence, in Tuscany.                              be the result of what wine means
                                                                            to him?
 — Tuscany used to be populated by the Etruscans,                           — I believe that a nobleman is someone
 who were among the first peoples to ever turn wine                         with a special culture and sensibility,
 drinking into a ritual. So you consider your wine part                     supported by traditions passed down
 of a ritual? What would be the ritual of drinking                          from generation to generation. And above
 Coat of arms Antinori
 Antinori wine?                                                             all else, it's someone with a noble soul...
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