[foto: GC HOME] [VUlogo{barq}]                                                                          “Traduzione”

                                                                                      "Club Barolo plus"


Club Barolo plus started with the idea of exchanging information and observations on Barolo and Barbaresco, which were little known in Britain. Its intended scope included other wines of the Nebbiolo grape, and other wines of the Langhe and Monferrato districts around Alba and Asti in the region of Piemonte in north-west Italy. (So plus other nebbiolos, and plus wines from district, but not plus foreign additives). The initial trawl for members produced a scattering of enthusiasts - equally spread along and across the UK. 

So information and advice was shared mainly by letter, 'phone, fax - and then email. It was time for a web site, and a starting point was suggested by the favourable response to a list of producers - circulated in a news-letter- which indicated which of them did not use barriques in the vinifying and maturing process. Several members found this list useful in avoiding disappointment when opening a bottle from a previously unknown producer. But it was very limited; based on personal experience. The list was first extended with the help of Maria Teresa Mascarello daughter of the late great Bartolo.

Bartolo Mascarello died in March 2005.  He was one of the most respected figures in Barolo, and a fervent opponent of the introduction of barriques. In the following May, the Capitolo of the confraternity  L'Ordine dei Cavalieri del Tartufo e dei Vini di Alba - of which he was a founder member - was dedicated to his memory.  Meeting his daughter Maria Teresa on this occasion gave rise to a list of non-barrique using producers. Two hundred Barbaresco and Barolo producers were then approached in order to extend the list further.   Some of them were very keen on the idea of such a list being published.  Clearly the web site was the vehicle for this. It is hoped that the present list, now standing at over 100, will be extended.


        " V da U!"

"V da U" signifies Vino da Uva - Wine from Grapes.   Most legal definitions of wine state that it is the product of the fermentation of grapes.  Where a major constituent of the flavour and aroma of the wine derives from something else there is room to question whether it IS wine.  In districts where the taste and smell of the container has become accepted over generations it can be seen why tradition is allowed to prevail.   Introducing the practice to an established 'pure' wine can only have the purpose of imitating the flavoured wine, or just to be different and ephemerally newsworthy.  “Modern” it is not!  If introducing these components to a wine really were new - “modern”  - it is inconceivable that it would be tolerated.  It is an old foreign habit, beloved of ultra-conservative closed-minded dealers, writers and even consumers.  The modern style of Barolo is commonly attributed to Renato Ratti, and associated with barriques as well as with making the wine ready earlier for consumption. But Renato Ratti, with Massimo Martinelli, simply did not use barriques on Barolo. And his "modern" style (lo stile Marcenasco) was designed to improve bottle ageing potential, thus increasing the age at which Barolo is best enjoyed. The Ratti cellar does now use barriques in producing its finest Barolos.

Renato Ratti drew a cartoon captioned "Dilemma 1986: Fare il vino con l'uva o con la barrique?" ('fare'='make'; 'o'='or').   It was published in 2004 in "Le mie divagazioni". I had not seen it when I coined "Vino da Uva" for this site, but arrived at the same point.

A claim that a wine becomes "better" for the use of barrique is - if the flavours are detectable - nonsense.  It is not better - it's different.

Don't re-orchestrate Beethoven to sound like Bach when he becomes the latest fad in the USA.  
Bach is not Better than Beethoven,  Beethoven is not Better than Bach,  And they are definitely not equally good.   It can't be measured.
Robert Parker would no doubt award each of them points................. 

  John Wheaver     (who?)


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