More Italian winery designation notes and a clarification from Banfi

declassified sagrantino

Above: I tasted Paolo Bea’s 2006 declassified Sagrantino the other night in Houston. Winemaker Giampiero Bea was not allowed to label the wine as “Sagrantino,” he told me, because the tasting committee said that the wine “lacked color” and had undergone “slight oxidation.” It was fantastic. Giampiero’s labels are among the most information and most difficult to understand for someone who doesn’t speak and/or read Italian.

This morning, I added the following terms to the May 5 post
A note on Italian winery designations: azienda, cascina, fattoria, podere, et cetera
. I thank everyone for the generous support and I hope people will continue to make suggestions/comments/clarifications etc. (special thanks to one of my favorite wine writers, Mitch Frank, for reminding me, via Facebook, about ca’ and casa!).

cantina, literally cellar or cool place to store perishable goods and by extension tavern (probably from the Italian canto meaning angle or corner from the Greek kampthos, bend or angle).

The word cantina has a wide variety of applications in Italy (often used for restaurants and food stores, as well as wineries) and can be found across Italy to denote wine cellar.

casa, literally, a building, house, or habitation (from the Latin casa, a small house, cottage, hut, cabin, shed).

The term casa is used throughout Italy as a winery designation and is often abbreviated as ca’, as in Ca’ del Bosco (it is important to note that it’s often erroneously abbreviated as [using the accent grave diacritic], when in fact the inverted comma [‘] denotes the elision of the final two letters, often derived from a dialectal locution). A casa vinicola (pronounced KAH-sah vee-NEE-koh-lah) is a winery/négociant.

vignaiolo (plural vignaioli), vine tender or grape grower (derived from the Italian vigna, meaning vine, from the Latin vinea, vineyard [from the Latin vinum, wine]).

Pronounced VEEN-y’eye-OH-loh (plural VEEN-y’eye-OH-lee), vignaiolo is used to denote a winery that uses estate-grown fruit in the production of its wines.

I’d also like to draw attention to a important clarification made, in the comment thread, by Fred and Ken Vastola.

An azienda agricola (ah-zee-EHN-dah ah-GREE-koh-lah) is a farming estate, where grapes may or may not be grown for wine production. An azienda vinicola is a winery (or wine business) where grapes are purchased from other farms for wine production. An azienda vinicola (ah-zee-EHN-dah vee-NEE-koh-lah) can also denote a business where wine is purchased and then bottled. As such, the latter designation can be used for a wide range of business models, from the artisanal to the purely commercial.

In other news…

As the world anxiously awaits the results of today’s election of the new advisory committee for the Brunello producers association, a spokesperson from Banfi wrote me yesterday asking me to make this clarification at VinoWire.

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