It would be pleonastic for me to address the myriad reasons why “top” lists — 10, 50, 100, the number doesn’t matter — are inherently useless in any putatively empirical assessment of wine.
Such indices, even when presented as genuine and well intentioned, serve only the purposes of marketers, advertisers, sellers of advertising space, and those whose lives are driven by a desire to maximize consumer goods.
And just like a schoolchild who aimlessly believes that highlighting a passage in Manzoni’s The Betrothed with a yellow pen will aid her/him in a mnemonic quest, authors of such lists inadvertently delete scores of wines from their ledgers the way said child quickly forgets the unhighlighted passages — not seeing the forest for the trees.
Today the world of Italian wine is reeling from the publication of an Italian-grown “Best Italian Wine Awards,” presented yesterday in Milan by the organizers (click here for a blog post depicting the scene).
The list, which can be viewed here, surprised many Italian observers of the Italian wine industry and I believe it may surprise you as well.
Among the Italian wine bloggers I follow, no one protested Valentini and G. Mascarello in pole position.
But some were puzzled by some glaring omissions, like top Italian wine blogger Franco Ziliani who noted the absence of any of Angelo Gaja’s wines. Now, if you follow Franco’s excellent blog, you know that he’s no fan of Angelo Gaja’s wines. But as he points out (rightly), this could only be considered an “eccentric” oversight.
And beyond Gaja, there are many others missing and many bizarre entries.
With academic interest and for the record, I point you to the list here.
Otherwise devoid of cultural, societal, intellectual, or epistemological value, the list does represent a cross-section of marketing forces in Italy today (as do the “prize” selections).