Here it is, as I promised, the 3rd and last part of Cipresso's interview...
G: I know that you are pretty wanted. What is it that makes you pick a winery and what makes you leave it?
R: Well! The winery has to have some credentials that are not only the ones linked to the capital the owner has available, but also to the potential of it. It’s important to have a favorable terroir but mostly it’s important that the ambition of the winery be equal to its potentials. All this works very well. Then, another important element is to evaluate if the winemaker is a connoisseur and can become my accomplice because to make a superior wine you are always incurring big risks and often the winemakers can become the scapegoats of the situation. When does it end with a winery? Well, it can end because of an altercation, I do not know. It has, also happened. Normally, though, a consulting relationship comes to an end when the terroir has been explored, the winery is well trained and it has now the need of a relation of friendship and confrontation more than one of development. In addition to that, I’m afflicted by a grave illness which is boredom, and I can’t think to stay with the same winery for life because I have to constantly look for new incentives. Some wineries know about this, therefore, the friendship has become so deep that, in order to avoid losing the adrenaline that I need to work for them, every year they come up with something new and this is good for them, but mostly it is good for me, because when I have a lot on my plate I can also give the best of me. It seems strange. (laughs).
G: Let’s talk about your personal cellar, which wine do you have in there that is dearest to you: vintage and label, and which is the wine that you do not have but that you would like to have?
R: Oh my god! I have a lot of wines, and some of them are very special. I love Bourgogne but I love also like older Bordeaux. A wine that I have and that I observe and would like to drink every day, but desist from doing so is a Chateaux Mouton Rothschild ’82. This is one of the greatest wines of my life and I still have one bottle of it. Then, I have some of my wines, historical ones, like Ciacci ’90, wines by Pian Rosso, La Fiorita ’93, the vintage, the Mosclapado, the Pignolo of Dorigo, basically some very important wines but hmmmm…
G: The wine that you would like to have?
R: Probably a wine that I would like to have is one that I already drank, damn it! It is wine that I already drank and I do not have anymore and I regret. A Chardonnay Botrydis ’91 by Regaleali, for instance, is a wine that has left me speechless or, something like a Leoville Poyferre 1900; I drank it and I wrote a book on it. Then, a wine that I would like to have…damn! I would like them all! All of the best wines!
G: (laughs) you’re not the only one. There is why the passion for wine can become a very expensive one. To end our interview, I know that you are pretty busy, an advice for who enters the world of wine: what is the first thing that they should do?
R: Well, they would have take some time and some vacation because there is nothing better to understand wine to go and visit the winemakers, to spend time with them, listen to them and try to understand what risk means in this world where nature is not so generous like today people want to make you believe. Nature is treacherous and every morning each winemaker wakes up hoping that there be no hail, no wind and no frost. Therefore, you need a little time to understand the wine under the labor point of view and of the respect for it. Then, you need to drink wine, and a lot of it. Life is too short to drink bad wine; therefore, you need to drink only good wine. Finally, you certainly need to read. However, you cannot do only one of these things. You cannot just read, just drink o just go around cellars, because to hit the mark you need to be able to do all three of them.
G: As far as reading goes, I can personally advise your book: Il Romanzo del Vino (The Wine Fiction). We didn’t talk about it. Let’s spend some words on it. Il Romanzo del Vino truly is a fiction. On a technical level you write about things that are correct but its main essence is this fiction. This is the beauty of it: the fact that you explain difficult concepts in an original way. How did you come up with this idea?
R: Well, after so many years in this profession I’ve gathered a drawer, more than a drawer of notes, labels, but not only about the wines and the terroirs, also about the people in the wine field. The people in this field are a little special. I laid them on a table and I had a friend help me who’s an expert in writing, Giovanni Negri. So, a book was written and I didn’t believe that it could become so famous in such a short time. I hope soon to be able to propose it to the American market. This book called Il Romanzo del Vino more than a ”romanzo” is a real story, because fictions are made of fantasy. This is a true, romantic story enclosed in nine first chapters because these are all trips among the wine, the people, the history, the culture, the passion, the effort, among the emotions but also the blasphemies, because winemaking is something that is very real, very raw and very special. I tried to narrate it in a more comprehensible language, outside of the usual frames the ones that are too didactical, too fancy or too “oaked” as you would say with a glass in your hands, and searching for a more romantic formula that could be interesting, real and accessible under all aspects. This is a book that can be read even by a non-drinker.
G: Roberto, thanks a lot for your time. I wish you’ve had a pleasant visit here in New York, and I hope you’ll come and visit me the next time you’re in town.
R: Thanks to you too.
I like to thank Gilda Galiano for helping translate this interview.
Buona Bevuta a Tutti