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« IMBB25: Pasta c'anciova e muddica | Main | Don't forget! »

May 06, 2006

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» Biondi Santi from Potential Gold
At VinItaly, yesterday, I met with two old friends. It's been two years since I last saw them, and they remembered me - Francesca and Jacopo Biondi Santi. Once we (I and the sommelier from Al Vedel) arrived my first goal was to meet up with the Biondi ... [Read More]

Comments

kishko

lucky you! that is some tasty nectar of the gods!

Alberto

It IS indeed a nice bottle, though there are other wines from Toscana I like much better (Chianti Classico Rancia from Felsina is probably my favourite).

Actually I was completely surprised to find it on sale for 15 €... I think that's lower than the price the bottle went on sale for when it was released. It probably tells you a lot about how much wine is resting unsold in the cellars of Italian wine makers who went a bit too far with their price rises in the 90s.

DF

For us American wine drinkers, Alberto, would you be able to confirm or deny what an Italian told me over dinner once in Florence, that what is sold in America as vintage Tuscan wines mostly comes from Sicily? He said that Tuscany does not have the capacity to sell that much to American markets, so they use grapes from Sicily, which from the beginning of agriculture in the Mediterranean has been a huge producer.

He also said that without the "Gallo Nero" (Black Rooster) seal you don't know where the wine comes from.

I know for sure that in the 90's Provence began to flood America with mass-produced wine, but it did say on the label that it came from there.

On a side note, I also have heard from Greeks that they export a lot of their olive oil to Spain, which then repackages it and calls it Spanish olive oil, because Spanish oil is more popular than Greek oil.

Alberto

Dave, I think it is absolutely appropriate that you'd be the one to make such a comment, given the "legendary" nature of such stories. The short answer would be that, as you more than anyone else know, there is always some truth to myths :-), and this is no exception.

The long reply is a bit more complex.

First the oil story, because that's easier. It is true that quite a bit of the oil that was sold as Spanish or Italian till recently was only bottled there, especially the cheap stuff. Let's be honest, if you se an Extra Virgin Olive Oil on sale for 3-4$ a litre, it is unlikely that the olives came from Italy, because that price is the production cost, if not less even. What I've been often heard is that the oil mostly came from North Africa and not Greece. At the moment Italy has tightened controls and labelling: oil sold as "Made in Italy" HAS to be made with Italian grown olives: if it only says bottled in Italy, than you can be pretty sure it is not Italian oil you're using. I'm not sure if Spain has a similar law, but it would not surprise me.

The story of Tuscan wine being made with Sicilian or Apulian wine has been around since decades and it has become a sort of urban myth. I think your Italian friend was exaggerating a bit. What he described definitely happened in the past (i.e. till the '60s), when not only Tuscany, but also Bordeaux, Burgogne and Germany used to reinforce their reds with southern Italian grape juice. Many wine makers in the south of Italy made a living out of that in the past. Tuscan, French and German producers would probably deny that, but I've seen a few papers in the hand of Southern Italian producers that tell another story. As far as I know, in the past two decades the phenomenon has been minimal, and mainly limited to big producers making wines at the "cheap" end of the spectrum. There are occasionally rumours of big names buying southern grapes or must to help their precious wines in bad years, but there's rarely been proof of that AFAIK, which doesn't necessarily exclude the possibility.

Topdilivello

Sassoalloro not a good wine for me.
Santi... but not Biondi Santi... only a marketing wine...
Many thanks.BestRegards

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