Carlo Ferrini and me (so many great wines & so little time)

Love him or hate him, legendary and often controversial Tuscan enologist Carlo Ferrini and I sat next to each other on the Sparkling Wine panel at the Viva Vino conference yesterday in Los Angeles.

We had a chance to speak for a few minutes before the panel and he was exceedingly forthright in his answers when asked about Montalcino, his association with Casanova di Neri, and what he considers his legacy and contribution to the history of Italian wine over the last few decades.

I don’t have time to post notes from our conversation today but will offer the following nugget.

When I asked how he feels about the fact that so many in Italy and beyond associate him with Merlot (many in the industry call him “Mr. Merlot,” using the English title mockingly), he said, quite frankly, “I don’t understand why people say that of me, when, in fact, it’s Cabernet [Sauvignon] that I like so much.”

I have to say that I admired his friendliness, style, and earnestness and I plan to visit with him this fall when Tracie P, Georgia P, and I head to Tuscany.

In other news…

It was a blast to connect with the newly formed consortium of Oslavia (Collio, Friuli) producers who visited Los Angeles for the conference and trade events (after stopping for two days in Vegas where they partied their asses off).

That’s Max Stefanelli of Terroni (kneeling, left) and his wife Francesca behind him with six of the seven producers from the village (can you guess the single producer who didn’t come? I’m buying a glass of wine tonight at Sotto for anyone who can!).

Here are the wines they poured for me and a handful of industry folks who attended a late night dinner and tasting at Terroni.

In other other news…

I connected yesterday with Lou (who needs no introduction here) and my new BFF Taylor Parsons, wine director at Osteria Mozza and Tuesday night I had dinner with Anthony and David at Mozza, where the conversation spanned an arc of Mel Brooks Hitler humor, the art of mixing (records), Anthony’s father’s incredible musical legacy (“he’s conducting better than ever at 93,” he said), burrata, anchovies, and Verdicchio.

So many great wine and so little time… So much more to tell but I have another slamming day and evening ahead of me here in Los Angeles.

If you happen to be in town, please come and see me at Sotto where I’ll be pouring wine on the floor from 6 until 9 or so…

3 thoughts on “Carlo Ferrini and me (so many great wines & so little time)

  1. Ferrini might love Cabernet S. but effectively introduced Merlot massively in Tuscany in the ninetees. Cabernet was already there, introduced at the end of the eightees but what was lacking was not the tannic structure, so was argued then, but the souplesse. Ferrini self defined himself as “merlottiano” and when came to visit as a consultant wineries would describe the Merlot tank often as “la bomba atomica del merlot”! Indeed today to talk of Merlot in Tuscany would send folks running from the room, but this is unjust: at the time, in “Parker days” this allowed Tuscany to be on the map and we should all aknowledge Ferrini’s importance of having got Tuscany on there in the first place, even though today this is almost embarassing. It’s easy today to state the obvious on Sangiovese or other autoctonous varietals but this might never have been, had the road not been paved before by consultants like Ferrini…

    • Cristiano, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and insights. It’s always great to see you here. I hope to write up my notes from our chat this week…

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