Rolling with MZ at Jaynes

From the “I may not be a rock star but I get to hang out with rock stars” dept…

Above: we paired Ca’ del Bosco 2001 Annamaria Clemente — one of the greatest vintages for this wine, said Maurizio Zanella — with steamed Baja mussels at Jaynes last night. It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it, right?

Flew in from Austin yesterday and rolled right into dinner with rock star winemaker Maurizio Zanella at Jaynes Gastropub last night. Friend and fellow wine rocker Robin was also in attendance.

I’ve met and tasted with Maurizio a number of times (and I recently tasted a 1979 Ca’ del Bosco disgorged à la volée at his winery). He is a true rock star among winemakers and his appetites and lust for life are stuff of legend. He’s also just a really cool guy who likes to talk about his experience as a student in Europe in 1968, about music, and about what it means to make real wine in a time when the marketing so often overshadows quality among sparkling wine producers.

I was geeked to ask Maurizio about the now legendary trip he made with Luigi Veronelli to California in 1981 (check out my post on Veronelli and new oak aging from October 2007): Veronelli wrote 1982, but Maurizio told me 1981 last night).

    “The real reason behind the trip,” Maurizio said, “was that [the great Friulian winemaker] Mario Schiopetto was suffering from back problems and had to go to Minneapolis to visit a specialist doctor. So, we decided to go with him and help him and from there we decided to California. We got off the plane in Los Angeles and headed right to Spago on Sunset Blvd. When the waiter took our order, I told him that we wanted ‘every thing on the menu.’ There were only four of us. So, Wolf[gang Puck] came out and said who are these guys? We ended up eating everything on the menu and Wolf and have been friends ever since. We asked him which was the best restaurant in Los Angeles and he sent us to Piero [Selvaggio] of Valentino. And it was Piero who organized our trip to visit all the great Napa valley wineries. I was completely amazed by the fact that the Californians were using the same winemaking practices that I studied in France [in Burgundy and then in Bordeaux]. I went back to Ca’ del Bosco and changed everything.”

Giacomo Bologna was with them, too. Bologna returned and created Bricco dell’Uccellone — probably the first and definitely the most famous barrique-aged Barbera. Maurizio made the first Italian barrique-aged Chardonnay. And Veronelli exhorted Italian winemakers to use new oak in his Catalogo dei vini d’Italia and he invited André Tchelistcheff to lecture at Palazzo Antinori in Florence.

Modernity had arrived. All because Mario Schiopetto had a bad back…

Yo, MZ, I like the way you roll…

Some how, some way, you just keep coming up with funky ass shit like every single day…

6 thoughts on “Rolling with MZ at Jaynes

  1. Wondering if you could go into more detail into some of the variations of Franciacorta and terminology (Saten, millesimato) or maybe that was covered in a past post. I snickered when Top Chef Jen won a trip to Erbusco, home of that little indie Franciacorta producer, Bellavista.

  2. Jar jar…As I picture Maurizo at my age, youthful and rebellious, hurling rocks at the police, I would like to believe that we ourselves carry that tradition in our lives both personally and professionally. See you at the JG.

  3. The greatest line of the night came from MZ when I asked him whether he was a Che or Mao man: I was Hippy! His wine made of 100% Carmenere was great, as well as the story behind it.

  4. Jeremy– Very cool! Our band spent a lovely evening this summer with Maurizio, his daughter, and his staff. We spend some time at the winery, and afterwards went to a killer restaurant La Foresta, on Lago d’Iseo. Maurizio was a wonderful and generous host, the local seafood was incredible, and the wines of Franciacorta were a revelation–especially the sparkling ones. Ah Robin, I agree, as far as the reds went, that the Carmenere was also the best wine of our night… As I recall, wasn’t there a suspect picture of two sheep “doing it” on the label? We got a LOT of mileage out of that one! Cheers…

  5. Pingback: Accattone and old Italian Cabernet « Do Bianchi

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