A comical script written by Alessandro Pepe to host your own Rimessa tasting with our wine club wines at home (or a laughable piece for your reading pleasure regardless).
INT. EVENING. YOUR LIVING ROOM
You’ve invited for a tasting dinner your best friends / colleagues / your boss / your family. In front of you, your brand new six bottles from your wine club. 6 to 10 people maximum at a large table. Some soft music in the background, a cozy atmosphere, lights are not too bright, air conditioning not too high. You’re ready to give them their best night ever.
FRANCIACORTA SOLO UVA, ARCARI & DANESI
You: So, I just received my six bottles from this fancy wine club from Italy and I thought that it would have been nice to share them with you. Thank you for coming. everything started a few months ago on my last trip to Rome. I went to this tasting and after I signed for the wine club. Actually, this is not just a wine club, but a tour of Italy towards wine: Sardinia, Sicily, Liguria, Lazio,Piedmont, etc… Different grape varieties, small winemakers. Some of them totally unknown to the mass. For example let’s start with the first wine: Chardonnay. I know, surely this is not an unknown grape variety. But I’ll tell you what is special about it. These guys, Giovanni and Nico, did something exceptional. A sparkling wine made without adding any sugar and external yeast in it.
Your mother: Why? Do they add sugar in the sparkling wine? Like Moscato?
You: Well, that’s how it works: you put some sugar and yeast in the bottle. The sugar eats the yeast and releases CO2 and alcohol.
Your mother: I didn’t know that
You: So. Making a sparkling wine is actually quite easy. Just add some sugar and yeast and even if the still wine was not good here you have some flavor. But making a unique sparkling wine that’s quite challenging. And I have to admit that French sparklings (Champagne) are much better than Italians.
Your best friend: (whispering to herself) she became so snobbish lately
You: What did you say?
Your best friend: Nothing, just saying that I agree, I can’t leave without French Champagne.
You: Whatever… so the process of bottle fermentation is easy and complex at the same time, bBecuase it saves the wine but it covers it with a strong yeast flavor. Arcari & Danesi did a simple unique thing. They did a sparkling without adding any sugar and external yeast
Your Boss: How is this possible?
You: They simply took some most of the wine and had put it in the bottle. It refermented and here there are bubbles
Your Boss: That’s it? so simple?
You: Actually yes, most of the winemakers actually forgot that things in wine are more simple than they think, at least if you have the patient and the handcraft to work each bottle one by one with a small amount of production.
Your Mother: I actually like it. It’s not sweet as my Moscato but it’s crispy and exciting. Fruity when you smell it and citrus and salty when you taste it
You: Well done mom! Quite impressive from someone that only drink cheap Moscato from the supermarket.
VERMENTINO VIGNE BASSE COLLI DI LUNI, TERENZUOLA
The story of this winery is so interesting, and … how can I say… so Italian, in a sense. Because when I met Ivan Giuliani from Terenzuola I simply discovered that most of the things I knew about Italian wines were wrong. The Vermentino is a really good grape variety that became famous in Sardinia, but it’s ideal climate and origin is Liguria. It’s an aromatic grape variety that prefers cool climates and sea breeze. Most of the grape varieties in Italy has been misplaced for marketing reasons. Think about Pinot Grigio. Completely tasteless but easy to grow, it became the most successful Italian wine in US.
Your spinster aunt: But I love Pinot Grigio
You: (thinking: that’s why you never got married…). Yes, I believe that Pinot Grigio can be an easy pleasant and polite wine, I’m just saying that it wasn’t selected for quality reasons.
Your sister: (whispering) please don’t be nasty with our aunt. She’s passing a difficult moment. Last week I saw her at the market buying a box of Yellow Tail.
You: So, back to our Vermentino. If you’re disappointed because you don’t get the opulence of the buttery Chardonnay from Napa or the over fruity extraction of the Sauvignon from New Zeland it means that you’re missing the point of this tasting. Think at the bottle of wine as a ship, a boat that brings you somewhere, while you smell it you can already perceive the breeze of the mediterranean sea. This hint of citrus and salt? do you get it? And after tasting it, do you get how the side of your tongue is burning and the front part of your teeth are salty and crispy? It’s like a marriage of the soil with the sea. Try it with a bit of this goat cheese from Vermont. Did you notice how the wine is getting softer and even more balanced? To clean the palate I prepared some fresh pesto bruschetta.
Vineyards in front of the sea (get used to it, we’re in Italy). We’re south of Genova, between Cinque Terre and north of Tuscany and this is a great winery. Ivan Giuliani, the owner, has worked hard with the local university to rediscover and preserve all the local grape varieties. They found more than 253 types. Just in a spot of Italy. Can you imagine? consider that in all US 95% of the vineyards are planted on 5 grape varieties. And the vineyards are beautiful, facing the sea, all organic, massal selection of the clones and…
Your father: hey, hey. you’re speaking too technical. What is a massal selection?
You. Well, quite simple. When a plant dies in your vineyard how are you going to replace it?
Your father: with a new one.
You: and where do you get it?
Your Father: from the roots or seeds of the old ones.
You: Yes. That’s what it should be. You select the best plants of the vineyards and you replant those, so that year after year and decades and centuries after decades and centuries you’ll select and transform your vines in a unique, local, perfectly adapted to the soil and climate grape variety. That’s what Italians and other farmers have done for centuries, and they gave us this incredible cultural biodiversity of different grape varieties of wines we have now.
Your father: yes and so?
You: So, nowadays 99,99% of the wines produced all over the world come from plants that have been selected in laboratories, most of the time hundreds of miles far away from where they’ll be planted. So Terenzuola is part of that 0,01%. Do you like it?
Your Boss: Actually quite interesting. it reminds me a Cote du Rhone wine but with a strong hint of Mediterranean flavor. Quite impressive, especially paired with this spicy chicken.
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009, LE RAGNAIE
You: Well this is embarrassing. Ok, I have to tell you the truth. After my trip to Italy I discovered that winemakers are the biggest liars in the world. You visit the winery and after few minutes of speaking with the winemaker you have this uncomfortable perception of fake, of a speech repeated hundreds of times to hundreds of tourists: the land, the sea, the tradition, my grandfather, we focus on quality, the local grape varieties, we don’t care about business, it’s about defending our heritage, etc.. etc.. Maybe they are even sincere in a way but you perceive that it is all part a stage; the truly traditional and rustic winemaker and the tourist looking for it. Marketing and money, that’s what they do, the transform everything in a cheesy commercial. Think about the wines from Lazio (Rome). And I know already that most of you that have been to Rome probably tasted the worst wines ever. Do you remember aunt Daisy that cheesy restaurant you went in Pizza Navona 20 years ago? and they gave you that terrible white, Frascati?
Your aunt: Oh Gee. What a terrible experience. I still have a headache thinking of it. (whispering to you)… but the waiter was really handsome.
You: that’s right. Around Rome they used to produce and they still do, a terrible white wine and even worst reds. Probably because of tourism, or because Romans are lazy (joking). And when we talk about Brunello… Sure the most famous Italian wine with Barolo, but are we sure we’re talking about a real Terroir?
Your best friend: A Terroir? why you always have to be so snobbish. And do you need to pronounce it with that disturbing French rrr?
You: Ok, but still, Terroirrrr is impossible to translate. It means soil, climate, a special grape variety adapted to that soil, farmers and wine makers that have been working there for centuries. Terroir is the synthesis of nature and a good human factor
Your best Friend: Ok, I got it. Go on.
You: So, in Montalcino 120 years ago there where only stinky goats. Biondi Santi and few other wineries in the ’60 and after the ’70? The boom! Hundreds of wineries and lots of fake wine going around.
Your aunt: Oh well done. Now even Montalcino is not good.
You: Not saying that, just saying that most of the Brunello is probably fake, good but fake. it means that is blended with other grape varieties apart from Sangiovese (which is illegal) and the vineyards are planted on a clay soil in the valley (not the best conditions for Sangiovese Grosso).
Your best friend: Now you really sound like a snobbish sommelier. After this trip to Italy you’re unrecognizable. How do you tell now that this wine is a real traditional Brunello?
You: Look at the color. Light red (so no Cab or Merlot in it). Crispy and earthy, nicely spicy, with some cherry. Not over fruity, a bit of oak but not too strong. It means that this wine was not treated.
Your best friend: Actually it is so elegant. A hint of smokey flavor, a bit of fruit, nice licorice and a basket for dry violets.
You: Who’s the snobbish sommelier now?
Your best friend: Shut up and pass me that beef carpaccio
SCHIOPPETTINO 2011, BRESSAN
You: It happens sometimes. You have a great wine, you love it but then you meet the winemaker and you discover that he’s a total asxxxe. So I won’t speak about him. But let’s speak about the wine. Actually, you tell me about it. What do you smell here?
You can fulfill this part with the impressions of your hosts. They’ll probably say something like: spicy, pepper, leather, mint, pine, smokey, dry roses, cinnamon, cloves, dark chocolate. Remember to open the bottle at least 2 hours before serving it.
BAROLO CIABOT TANASIO 2012, FRATELLI SOBRERO / BAROLO PARAFADA 2012, PALLADINO
You: Ok. you all know Barolo right? So no point talking about it. Why don’t we do an experiment so: I’ll put some music on, The Goldberg Variations of J. S. Bach played by Glen Gould, a bite of an aged cheddar and silence. A sip of wine, a bite of cheese. and silent.
Few minutes later…
Your Sister: Oh that was good, really. You know what? I like your new snobbish side.
Your Aunt: This was so romantic. It reminded my old days in Rome
Your boss: Well done, really well done. You impressed me.
You: Isn’t it? There was really no point of speaking with this pairing right? What’s the point of telling you that Barolo is one of the most important regions in the world? that it is a land that has been divided in more than a 100 different vineyards based on the composition of the soil? No reasons t o tell that the Nebbiolo (the grape variety) is one of the most complex in the world, capable of giving you wines that can be aged up to 40 years, wines with structure and elegance, fruit and earthiness, complexity and finesse. And what a great opportunity to taste too Barolo in one night. One more fruity and aggressive (Sobrero) the other one more elegant and soft.
Your Aunt: It was like an erotic dance with a strong handsome man a bit rude and a nice elegant and soft woman with a deep desire in her eyes, they are dancing and hugging each other and suddenly he grabs her…
Your sister: Yes we got the point aunt Daisy, thank you
You: And what else? If you want to learn more, these guys from Italy did tons of really interesting videos with the winemakers and tasting notes, actually, that’s where I learned all these things. Check their youtube channel Tastingspots. And by the way, end of September is coming to the next box, and of course, you’re all invited for the second season.