Fat cat Cernilli leaves Gambero Rosso marking end (?) of an era

Above: Soon-to-be ex-editor of the Gambero Rosso Guide to the wines of Italy, Daniele Cernilli, as photographed by Christian Callec, who quotes Cernilli as asking “what is wrong with the use of new oak?”

Italy’s top wine blogger Mr. Franco Ziliani and I have posted the news over at VinoWire: Daniele Cernilli is stepping down as the editor-in-chief of the Gambero Rosso Guide to the Wines of Italy, the most influential rubric of Italian wines today (pun intended for the Italophone among you).

Rumors of his departure have circulated wildly in the Italian enoblogsphere for more than four weeks and while no one expects the editorial direction and ethos of the Gambero Rosso Guide to change for the better (actually, it will probably only get worse), the omega of his tenure there does mark the end of an era that saw the “international style” and international grape varieties dominate the worlds of commercial and fine winemaking in Italy.

I interviewed Daniele Cernilli in San Diego in 2008 when he came there to speak at the Gambero Rosso Road Show, traveling event. The event, originally scheduled for Las Vegas, was hastily detoured to San Diego that year. An insider told me that the sudden change of venue was due to the insistence of behemoth distributor Southern Wine and Spirits that Cernilli and his wife Marina Thompson present only wines distributed by Southern. Whether or not this is true (and I believe that it is), it does give you a sense of how Cernilli, his wife and publicist Thompson, and the Gambero Rosso Guide are perceived by observers of the Italian wine industry as a purely “pay-to-play” operation.

Here’s the video, directed by my childhood friend Charlie George and with music from Nous Non Plus:

10 thoughts on “Fat cat Cernilli leaves Gambero Rosso marking end (?) of an era

  1. Why do you believe that the editorial direction of Gambero Rosso will “probably only get worse” after the departure of Daniele Cernilli? It seems to me that they are covering a broad scope of Italian wines and there are many top awards for traditional producers (Giovanni Rosso, Produttori del Barbaresco, Elio Grasso and Elvio Cogno, just to name four producers, all received Tre Bicchieri awards for 2011).

    You quote Franco Ziliani on the vinowire site as writing; “in recent years, the editors of the guide have taken steps to give more coverage traditional-style wines made with indigenous Italian grape varieties..,”

    We all have our favorites and the three of us favor traditional Italian wines, so I think the publication is doing a fine job representing different approaches to the world of Italian wine.

  2. @Strappo so glad that irony is not dead! :-)

    @Tom Thanks for sharing. Let’s hope it gets better and more inclusive. Not quoting Franco, fyi, at VinoWire. I composed that post and Franco signed off on it.

    @Simona had you never seen that? We had a lot of fun doing it. Evviva la satira! ;-)

  3. About the time Marco Sabellico “left” I lost interest.

    I love Cernilli’s line in his goodbye statement. “Ora la bufera è passata” …

    I guess we’ll be forced “veleggiare nel mare in burrasca” on our own now.

    • that video feels like a lifetime ago, piccina. When I watch it now, I remember how empty and heavy my heart felt, how uninspired I was by the world. Life with you now is so good and rich with flavors and aromas and warmth and excitement… so glad we managed to find each other… you brought the sparkle back to my eye… I love you…

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