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: