Giancarlo (above), his assistant (make that tre bianchi), and I ended up meeting at Tony’s in Houston last month when they were in town for the Gambero Rosso road show tasting of Prosecco and Vino Nobile producers (see image below).
Our meeting was friendly and fun, of course, but we did cover some thorny subjects like the creation of the Prosecco DOCG in 2010.
Many have contended — myself included — that the creation of the Prosecco DOCG was an unwarranted and politically motivated move by Italy’s then agriculture minister Luca Zaia, who later went on to become president (governor) of the Veneto (where Prosecco is most famously produced, although not exclusively).
After all, as many observers of the Italian wine industry noted at the time, it seemed a stretch to elevate the stature of Prosecco to that of Barolo, Taurasi, or Brunello — historic fine wines with immense aging potential.
The newly created DOCG also seemed to be tainted by the flood of new and politically charged DOCG applications that came in the final days of Rome’s sovereignty in
granting rubber-stamping them (in 2009, EU reforms shifted that power to Brussels).
When I asked Giancarlo to elaborate on what he already told me via phone (that in his view and the view of his associates, the seemingly boundless commercial success of Prosecco warranted this elevated status), he said something so brilliant that it thrilled me just as much as it convinced me that he was in the right.
“Consider the Venetian playwright Goldoni,” he commanded gently, unaware that I was an avid reader and translator of the eighteenth-century Italian writer. “Some would say that he’s a mere comediographer, a writer of [trivial] comedies. Yet he is widely considered to be one of the greatest writers in Italian [literary] history.”
“Prosecco is like Goldoni. Even though his subject matter may have been light in nature, his legacy cannot be overestimated.”
The analogy is just so spot on. And, of course, given Prosecco’s sine qua non relationship with Venice and its conviviality (a favorite subject of Goldoni, who loved to parody the emerging bourgeois culture of his era), I couldn’t help but admire Giancarlo’s masterful oratory.
The other subject I wanted to cover with him was the inclusion of Asolo in the 2010 Prosecco DOCG.
“Asolo is fully entitled to be part of the DOCG,” he told me with utmost authority in his voice. “It is a legitimate member of our consortium because of the high quality of the wines produced there and its affinity in terms of the production zone and terroir.”
I’ve written about that today for the Bele Casel blog.
Tracie P and I plan to meet and taste with Giancarlo when we visit Proseccoland early next month.