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Allegrini 2018
THE BOOK

“Il guru del vino”, Michel Rolland’s life between meetings and friendships, like the one with Caprai

The history of the most sought-after enologist in the world, but also of French and world viticulture. In the presentation on July 21 at Caprai

A book that recounts not only the life of Michel Rolland, the world's most sought-after and mediatic enologist, but also the history of French and international viticulture, through anecdotes and friendships, such as the one with Robert Parker or Marco Caprai, from which the world myth of Sagrantino di Montefalco was born: all this, enclosed in the pages of “Il guru del vino” (“The wine guru”), published in Italy by Edizioni Ampelos (June 2020, pp. 190, cover price 19 euros), which will be presented by Michel Rolland personally on July 21, in the spaces of the Caprai winery in Montefalco.
“In this book, I wanted to tell how the son of a winemaker from the Bordeaux region”, says Rolland in the introduction, “of a modest family, reached the prestigious position of consultant among the most famous on the wine planet. This path has amused me a lot: going to many different countries has first of all satisfied my curiosity but has also ended up generating certain megalomania. This is how you get to produce wine in twenty-one countries, to have about a hundred wineries that follow or have followed the advice of the “guru”. But above all, it was an incredible human adventure, made up of meetings and pleasant or unpleasant discoveries, but always gratifying”.
Michel Rolland is a consultant for over a hundred wineries around the world, including, as mentioned, the Arnaldo Caprai winery. “Sagrantino - underlines Rolland - is a grape variety that has a marked personality, but you can educate and direct it. In the world of wine one is successful when one is able to propose something original and Sagrantino has the ability to be unique”. The aim set by the enologist with the Caprai winery is to make this wine seductive, smoothing out its peculiar roughness but preserving its character: a Pygmalion, able to shape and improve the personality of the Sagrantino student, while favoring his natural inclinations. On tasting, all this is evident, surprising and fascinating at the same time. “The aim - says Marco Caprai - is to broaden the ranks of regular consumers. A qualitative leap that can bring “important numbers” also for tourism. Rolland is the man who knows, best of all, the tastes in the wine sector. With him, we can really aim to make Sagrantino di Montefalco one of the best wines in the world”.
But not only that, because with Rolland also some new labels signed Caprai were born, above all Belcompare and Malcompare. “Vinexpo has been a love medium three times between Italy and myself. The third - writes Michel Rolland, recounting the meeting with Marco Capriai - an extraordinary meeting took place in Bordeaux in 2015, with the help of Charlie Artourola: it was he who called me and told me that Marco Caprai wanted to meet me. His Sagrantino di Montefalco wines were already famous all over the world, but he wanted to go beyond that and put this vine among the greats of enology. The challenge was - and still is - complex, which is why I accepted immediately, and then 2015 was a great vintage and certainly not to be wasted. Sagrantino - underlines Rolland - is a vine that has a marked personality, but it is possible to educate and direct it. In the world of wine you succeed when you are able to propose something original and Sagrantino has the ability to be unique”.
It is only natural, therefore, that it will be from Montefalco, from Caprai’s winery, that Rolland will tell the press about his book, his life, his experience. “The Italian title “Il guru del vino” - writes Rolland in the introduction to the Italian edition of the book, written in collaboration with the journalist and writer Isabelle Bunisset - is naturally ironic, given that during my career I have been called in the most diverse ways: Napoleon of assemblages, Maradona, Mephistopheles and so on... it seems clear to me that these are trivial nicknames. In real life, this has nothing to do with it. In this book, I wanted to tell you how the son of a winemaker from the Bordeaux region, from a modest family, reached the prestigious position of consultant among the most famous on the wine planet. This journey has amused me a lot: going to many different countries has first of all satisfied my curiosity but has also ended up generating certain megalomania. This is how you get to produce wine in twenty-one countries, to have a hundred companies that follow or have followed the advice of the “guru”. But above all, it was an incredible human adventure, made up of pleasant or unpleasant encounters and discoveries, but always gratifying. I started with enology when everything still had to be invented and tested. I started and accompanied the greatest changes in viticulture and winemaking. I traveled to the ends of the world, in all latitudes, to undermine the beliefs of the doubters. I have assembled several grape varieties that were thought to be irreconcilable. I have discovered lands that were thought to be ungrateful and on which today proud vine understocks sprout. I have met singular men who had at heart the idea of producing unique wines of great character in countries with an unlikely viticultural destiny. Enthusiasm is what gives light to life. I repeat it often: nothing can be undertaken unless you nurture a strong desire and look beyond the present time”.

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