But they don't think of winemaking. No, most people certainly don't think of that.
Oh it's not that the Milanese don't drink wine (they most assuredly do). The thing is that, up until the (relatively) recent past - for all of Milan's history - there was no local history of great winemaking...
For it was just in 1984 that Milan got it's first officially recognized wine producing region: colle de San Colombano, DOC. A region just south of the city, there has been wine production in these low, rolling hills for centuries upon centuries but, alas, mostly table wine (vino di tavolo). Now in the "Golden Era" of wine, technology is growing by leaps and bounds and eonophiles are quick to jump on board.
|Lodi; in which one finds San Colombano|
With new trellising methods, better understanding of soil compositions and infinitely cleaner methods of production, even the everyday wines of today are miles beyond what they were only a few decades ago.
Case in point, a charming little frizzante or sparkling wine from Claudio Pozzi: Il Bisserino (http://www.ilbisserino.it/). Fresh, fun, bursting with fruity goodness and a savory edge from the calcareous soils of the region, this is the sparkling wine for the person who adores big juicy reds and swears they abhor Champagne.
Indeed, Claudio and his team are doing something that winemakers the world over are trying to do though not all are succeeding: create value wines with a sense of place. But Claudio doesn't come by his talent honestly, at least, not in the old-fashioned sense of the term. Claudio never grew up in the vineyards and his father never taught him how to crush grapes. He is the first of his name to enter the winemaking arena and, in fact, still maintains another career.
So then to what can we attribute this wineries competent line of wines, at reasonable prices, with a sense of joy and characteristics of skill? Well if it's not inherited skill then it must be cultivated skill~! And where do we most often derive cultivated skills from? From passion!
Claudio speaks of the wonder and beauty he derives from his new craft, of a desire to create a vineyard that works with farming practices that have a true sense of purpose rather then blindly following an organic system to "sell more labels". To call Claudio a visionary would be stretching the truth, but rather let me say that in My Humble Opinion, Claudio Pozzi is doing what I hope all winemakers can aspire to: a truly Henry Ford style of business.
"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible"
2007 Il Bisserino Vin de Milan, San Colombano DOC
not widely available in Canada
vine age: 35+ years
vineyard size: 2.5 HA
altitude: 100 metres
soil: clay silt
varietals: Croatina 40% -Barbera 35%-Uva Rara 15%-Cabernet Sauvignon 10%
harvesting: manual, end of September
vinification: 8-10 days maceration in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation
- visual: clear; deep plum garnet core with light cherry rim, small amount of tiny pearl bubbles
- nose: clean; moderate+ intense youthful aromas of candied cherry, blackberry, red currant, dark cherry blossom characteristics, some violets
- palate: clean; dry, moderate+ (red currant) acids, moderate+ (chalky) tannins, moderate- body, moderate- alcohol (13.5%), moderate intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose; candy notes are gone and replaced by savory earthy tones, warm brambleberry/saskatoon flavors, lean graphite minerality and a crisp red currant finish... almost drinks like a young Morgon or Moulin-a-Vent. Very good balance and structure, medium length
- conclusion: already almost 6 years old, this wine is still in the prime of life and easily has another 3-5 years left but will not develop appreciably
- FOOD PAIRINGS: much as Claudio says on his website, this wine will cosy up to a plate of cured salami and provolone cheese with delight, but I thought to take this one step further. What about prosciutto, prawn and chevre pizza? The salt of the prosciutto plays off the sweet fruit on the nose, the prawns will delight in the cherry flavors and the chevre will enhance the natural earthy tones!
Take a gander through the Il Bisserino website, or read some of Claudio Pozzi's interviews, and you will come to understand how that man came to this industry as an outsider. But, as an outsider, has no issue with "bucking the system" and throwing outdated traditions out the window. Claudio's staff are well paid, his lands are well taken care of, and his business model is sound. To me, this is the winning combination that will allow his grandchildren the luxury of learning the winemaking industry the old-fashioned way...
They'll learn it from their grandfather.
The proof my friend? As always, in the glass!
I look forward to your comments and questions.
CINCIN~!!! SLAINTE~!!! CHEERS~!!!