Wine in Italy is a world away from wine in the United States. Wine anywhere is different than wine anywhere else: technically speaking as well as culturally speaking. In this land, that is Italy, one does not have to wait until the age of 21 to Cin Cin nor do they chug chug chug until not even a drop of Dolcetto dangles in the glass (however this is slowly changing). Piemonte, the region in which I live, is home to what many people would consider some of the world’s best wine. From Dolcetto to Nebbiolo, Piemonte seems to be dressed in vineyards while those lacking the lines of vines strike you as naked.
I am still a novice when it comes to wine. However, it is difficult to be a wine wiz at such a young age. After all it is lots about seeing and smelling and tasting as many wines as possible in order to create a wine bank of memory in your brain. Your own wine dictionary that expands with every smell n’ sip.I guess, “The older the wiser.” Needless to say, I am trying to speed up my wine aging process. Studying at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, I have been learning through smell and taste. In how many other subjects do you learn via the tongue and the nostrils?
This past Thursday, March 31, Vittorio Manganelli, also known as Master Taster, came to the University to give us a two hour lecture on the history of Piemontese wine in the past 50 years. From 10 wine producers after the second world war to 300 today, wine has evolved and is continuing to do so for many reasons:
1. In 1970 D.O.C (Denominazione di origine controllata) gave birth to the idea of quality in the Italian wine world.
2. Increase in global consumption: thanks to the emergence of the American market
3. In 1988, the first Italian Wine Guide was published called, “Vini d’Italia,” published by Gambero Rosso and Slow Food- giving consumers a pre-constructed guide to good wine.
4. The birth of the enologist.
With this knowledge, gusto was kindled. As awareness spread, palates were magnified.
It is as if knowledge itself is a taste bud on the tongue that with time and learning can become hyper-sensitized. An optimal example of this is wine.The acquired taste theory is one for the weak. Of course you’ll get use to things but will you be able to appreciate them?
So get on with the drinking. Unleash the power of your nose and amplify the sensitivity of your tongue!