Allegrini 2018

United in diversity, to tell the world their identity: Barolo and Barbaresco in New York

Langhe protagonists among the lights of Time Square, the reflections of the Langa producers on the future of the most important territory in Italy

It is impossible to succeed when people do not work together. This is the message that more than 200 producers of Barolo and Barbaresco, two of the most important wines in Italy, tell the world, from New York, among the capitals of the planet, while the Langhe, among vineyards, castles, trifolau, hazelnuts and flavors of the territory, are told through images from the bright screens of the central Times Square. It is a message of great unity in diversity - crystallized on the label by the Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (Additional Geographical Mentions), namely the “cru”, 181, those identified, historicized and regulated, in the Barolo area - the one that maintains a balance between international critics, trade and American consumers, in the first edition of Barolo & Barbaresco World Opening (BBWO), a format created by the Consortium of Barolo Barbaresco Langhe Alba and Dogliani, which, yesterday, in the “Big Apple”, staged the great tasting of wines from the area, with a focus on the MGA, led by Alessandro Masnaghetti, one of Italy's top experts. And that will close today at Eataly Downton, with the gala dinner signed by the No. 1 of the great chefs of the Belpaese, Massimo Bottura, who created ad-hoc dishes dedicated to Barolo and Barbaresco, the music of Il Volo, one of the most internationally successful Italian music phenomena, and the running of the showman Alessandro Cattelan. The declared desire is to further increase the knowledge and prestige of Barolo and Barbaresco in the world (in 2021 the event will stop in Shanghai, China), not only talking to the trade, but also to consumers. And the producers, from the big historical names to the younger ones, from small brands to quality cooperatives, are convinced, in a choral way, of the messages that the two most important bishops of the Langhe UNESCO World Heritage Site’s hills with vineyards must tell.
“It has never happened before to bring abroad such a large number of producers from the Langhe - Angelo Gaja tells WineNews - from here comes the message that Nebbiolo as a variety builds wines with a very strong identity, which comes from the good fortune that Nebbiolo is planted mainly in Piedmont, and there are no comparisons, as happens with merlot, chardonnay or other grape varieties, which give wines that sometimes you can’t recognize where they come from. Barolo and Barbaresco come from a specific place, they have an extraordinary human factor, sometimes even small productions, but they are ambassadors of our great territory. We have unique gastronomy, the truffle, writers like Pavese and Fenoglio who have written a great story, and we have finally come to put all this on the stage”.
”To grow even more, Barolo and Barbaresco must communicate what they tell us here in New York - explains Andrea Farinetti, at the helm of Fontanafredda and the entire Farinetti family's wine galaxy - that is, a great unit, with over 200 producers, united in the sign of the highest quality due to a magnificent territory. He must communicate this creation of the MGA, which the Consortium has been launching for some years now, taking its cue from the history of Barolo. With the unity between producers and these maximum expressive peaks we can really conquer the world”.
“Our wines must simply tell the story of a unique, unrepeatable and special territory, in its different nuances and interpretations”, stresses Valentina Abbona, at the helm of the historic Marchesi di Barolo, while according to Luca Monchiero of Monchiero Fratelli, “Barolo and Barbaresco must be able to tell the story of tradition, but also innovation, the ability to keep up with the times, the climate, the change in vineyard work and markets”. According to Giorgio Pellissero, at the helm of the winery, one of the keystones is to focus on the characteristic of Nebbiolo, which gives wines “of great personality and capable of exalting food so much. And to be able to propose it with international cuisine, and not only Italian, represents a great challenge”.
On the importance of recounting the unity of the territory, with cohesive producers such as Ettore Germano and Enzo Brezza, and also great cooperatives such as Produttori del Barbaresco, with Luca Cravanzola, insist. While, according to Stefano Pesci, director of Terre del Barolo, “a message of absolute excellence, of great peculiarities, of a territory that expresses diversity with an extraordinary grape variety that is Nebbiolo, which varies its expression in a sensitive way with varying altitudes, exposures and soils, for a territory to be told in detail to lovers of these great wines”.
A vision, then, shared by historic producers and younger realities, small brands and large cooperatives, and summarized by the words of the President of the Consorzio del Barolo, Matteo Ascheri: “We are here to tell the world who we are and what we do. There are over 200 wineries, each with its own individuality, but so united it is the first time that we introduce ourselves, the message is strong. Because there is the territory, the grape variety, but basically there are the producers, the people who make the difference. We want our brands to be known by as many people around the world as possible, including the end consumer, who must be passionate about us and ask for Barolo and Barbaresco when he enters a shop in a restaurant”.
Another point shared is the great importance of the Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (MGA). The cru, in simple words, which in the territory have been history at least since the 1960s, when producers like Renato Ratti, for example, began making wine separately from the grapes of individual vineyards, as explained by Alessandro Masnaghetti. A piece of history that the Consortium has translated into precise rules, with the MGAs arrived in the regulations in 2007 for Barbaresco and in 2010 for Barolo, which have not only increased the prestige of the territory, but also the values, if you think that today, in the best cru, for one hectare we are talking about over 2 million euros.
“MGAs are very important - underlines Ascheri - because today quality is fundamental, a necessary condition, but no longer sufficient. We need individuality and recognizability of wines, and this depends on the territory, the grape variety and the people with their interpretations. The MGA are the sublimation of all this, because here the wines are 100% Nebbiolo, which comes from a single vineyard, which is unique and unrepeatable. And they are a tool to take the Langhe and their vineyards all over the world”.
The one on the MGA “was a very important work, fundamental to tell the uniqueness of the territory in its different expressions, which are many and beautiful - adds Valentina Abbona - to discover one by one that tell a very important diversity. And it is beautiful that all this is known in the world by enthusiasts”.
“Historically, Barolo originates from the blend of different zones and crus, because in this way it was possible to create a “perfect” wine every year. But on the other hand”, says Andrea Farinetti,</B> “the French teach that the valorization of specific crus is important, and this has existed in the Langa since the 1960s. Today we have rules, surfaces and crus, and each has its own qualities. The world is ready, most of the world is ready because it already knows us. In the new markets you will have to leave, calmly, without haste. It takes hundreds of years to consolidate a market, we begin to tell it well and then everyone will understand the strength of these two designations”.
“On the Cru we must thank those who preceded us, who have kept our hills in the ideal way to produce great wines - explains Giorgio Pellissero - clearly today there are values for which it is very difficult for farmers like us to invest, we will no longer be able to grow the size of the companies, because they are unsustainable values for small wineries. But they are a value that we have earned through sweat, and that we must tell the world with pride”.
“Cru are fundamental to relate the taste of bottled wine to the “tile” of the territory from which it is made. The Mga must not just be a value in itself, but a message of identity for the wine you are drinking”, adds Ettore Germano, while according to Enzo Brezza “they are the maximum exaltation of the single vineyard through Nebbiolo”.
According to Luca Monchiero, the work done on the Mga has been fundamental because “it has given companies with small plots of vines the chance to raise the level of quality and image, and has given a great help in making people understand how much difference there is in each glass and bottle. The synthesis, the mga has a great impact on the values and prestige that the bottle receives”. And, from these reflections, Barolo and Barbaresco, among the greatest Italian wines, already well established in the world, want to start again to grow.

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