Neb[b]iolo and Politics in 1950s Italy

luigi einaudi vignetta large

Above: This caricature of the second president of the Italian republic Luigi Einaudi, farm owner and producer of Dolcetto and Nebbiolo, was published in 1950 in Italy. The monarchist publisher was convicted of libel. Click on the image for a larger version and note that Nebbiolo is spelled with one b.

The often workaday nature of my professional life is balanced by my insatiable curiosity and the unmitigated access to all kinds of information via the internets.

Yesterday, as I was roaming around the web and trolling for nuggets about the Einaudi winery in Dogliani (for one of the many restaurant sites that I curate), I came across this wonderful caricature of Italy’s second president (and winemaker), Luigi Einaudi, a figure whom I admire immensely for his opposition to historic fascism.

The Einaudi family has played impressive roles in Italian contemporary history, society, and culture, including Luigi’s son Giulio’s legacy as a publisher (the bookshelves of our home are line with works of literature and critical essays published by Einaudi, including collections of Pasolini’s writings), his son Ludovico’s legacy as a musician, and son Mario’s strident anti-fascism.

In 1950, when Luigi Einaudi became the second president of the Italian Republic, the monarchist review Candido parodied him in the caricature above.

Einaudi is the figure in the center, guarded by corazzieri (a presidential guard of Neb[b]iolo) at the Quirinale, Italy’s presidential palazzo.

The episode reveals how fine wine, and Nebbiolo in particular, was viewed as an elitist indulgence at the time. It also gives us an indication of how wine visionaries like Einaudi (he was among the first to modernize his winery and he was a pioneer in his vision of building the wine export industry in Italy) were seen as misguided.

The satirical message of the vignette is this is how our new president expects to rebuild our country… with wine.

Einaudi sued the publisher for libel and won.

An Einaudi Dolcetto was Eric and Levi’s top pick this week in their The New York Times tasting panel. I’m a big fan myself… for the wine’s traditional and classic style… and for the family’s legacy as anti-fascists and intellectual celebrities…

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