In August of 1933, Hitler had been in power for less than a year and Mussolini’s grip had been bolstered in the nearly 11 years since the Fascists’ March on Rome.
In August of 1933, Italy heralded the modern era of wine marketing with an exhibition of top Italian wines in Siena, a stone’s throw from Montalcino.
The slogan of the wine fair had been penned by the founder of the Futurist party — the poet, essayist, and critical theorist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.
Brunello è benzina!
Brunello is gas! it rang.
Marinetti and the Futurists were obsessed with the notion of velocità (velocity) and the newly born age of gas-powered automobiles and airplanes.
To the ears of his compatriots, the motto was an unmitigated endorsement of Brunello as an expression of the new italianità, a word that is often misunderstood and misused today. At the time, it didn’t just denote Italian identity. It stood for the renewed Italian identity and for Italy’s intellectual, artistic, and political resurgence as an imperial and colonial power.
All of these thoughts and images have been brimming in my mind after translating my friend and client Stefano Cinelli Colombini’s brilliant post on the 1933 wine fair and the role it played in the evolution of Brunello’s own rise.
I highly recommend it to you and I know you will find it as thought-provoking as I did (especially the anecdote about Tancredi Biondi Santi).
And for Italian speakers, the post appeared in the original today on the popular Italian wine blog Intravino.
So many thoughts but so little time today.
Buona lettura e buon weekend. Enjoy Stefano’s post and have a great weekend. Thanks for being here.