Soldera’s “water into wine” & rumors of his expulsion (& Cotarella’s zero sulfur wine)

giotto marriage at cana

Above: Giotto’s Marriage at Cana.

Italian news junkies were gripped over the weekend with political intrigue, as 87-year-old Giorgio Napolitano was elected to an unprecedented second term as President of the Italian Republic.

Most pundits predict Berlusconi as the winner of the new power balance.

(“[P]olitical turmoil is preventing leaders from taking steps to right the economy, which is struggling to emerge from the longest recession since World War II,” reports the New York Times. “Unemployment is above 11 percent, and the national debt has risen to 130 percent of gross domestic product, the second-highest ratio of debt to G.D.P. in the euro zone after Greece.”)

These developments didn’t entirely drown out the chatter from Montalcino, where — Italy’s leading wine blogger Franco Ziliani reports — there are rumors that the Brunello consortium voted in an April 4 assembly to “expel” producer Gianfranco Soldera from the body. (Here’s the thread on the recent contentious public exchange between the consortium and Soldera, who purportedly sent his letter of resignation to the group in late March.)

According to Ziliani, consortium president Fabrizio Bindocci declined to comment on the rumors but did not deny them when reached over the weekend by telephone.

On March 30, responding to Soldera’s accusations that the consortium had encouraged him to sell fraudulent wine when the body offered to give him wine (following an episode of vandalism in December 2012 that purportedly destroyed six vintages of Soldera’s wine), Bindocci told the Italian national daily Corriere della Sera: “We wanted to give him wine to help him, as is the custom among colleagues in the country. He refused the wine. Now other bottles of his suddenly appear. It would seem that he has performed the Miracle of the Marriage at Cana” (where Jesus turned water into wine).

Bindocci was referring to a press release issued by Soldera at the end of March. In it Soldera reported that he had been able to recover a considerable amount of wine that had previously been reported as destroyed in the vandal’s attack.

And so the world of Italian wine turns…

In other news…

riccardo cotarella

Above: Enologist Riccardo Cotarella, the “wine wizard,” known for his modernist approach to winemaking in Italy and widely considered a leading figure of the Italian wine establishment. Image via Empson USA.

Also via Ziliani’s blog, I have learned today that Italian wine establishment enologist Riccardo Cotarella plans to present “zero sulfur [added]” wines from 26 wineries at tasting to be held in Rome on May 16.

Details and registration info for the tasting have been posted by Bibenda, a media platform widely considered by industry observers to be the mouthpiece of “big wine” in Italy.

The wines are the result of eight years of research by Cotarella and his team of enologists, referred to as the [sic] “Wine Research Team.”

Its method is an “absolutely scientific process through which [the team was able] to identify procedures to be implemented in the vineyards and in winemaking aimed at obtaining the highest quality of wine.”

The labels of each of the wines reports: “The vine and wine accompany man on his journey throughout Civilization. Passion and scientific research help to surpass limits at times unthinkable.”

Here are the wineries listed in the post, all of them Cotarella’s clients:

Allegrini – Castello di Cigognola – Carvinea – Còlpetrone – Coppo – Di Majo Norante – Falesco – Fattoria del Cerro – Fattorie Greco – La Guardiense – La Madeleine – La Murola – Leone De Castris – Poggio Le Volpi – San Patrignano – San Salvatore – Tenuta dell’Arbiola – Tenuta di Frassineto – Tenuta San Polo – Terre Cortesi Moncaro – Terre de la Custodia – Trequanda – Villa Matilde – Villa Medoro – Domaine du Comte de Thun.

As Ziliani notes in his post, “never say never.” To which, I’ll add, stranger things have happened.

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