Asimov wins Veronelli prize

New York Times wine columnist and author of The Pour, Eric Asimov, has won the prestigious Premio Veronelli (Veronelli prize) for “best food and wine writing in a foreign language.” Also nominated for the category were Michelle Shah and Gilles Pudlowski. Eric was the only American to receive an award at the third annual Premio Veronelli ceremony held in Milan last week.

Last week, Veronelli Editore announced the winners of the third annual Premio Veronelli or Veronelli prize, an award inspired by the life and career of Luigi Veronelli (1926 – 2004) — the architect of Italy’s current food and wine renaissance, and one of Italy’s most controversial and influential food and wine editors and writers.

Although not nearly as commercial in scope, the Premio Veronelli is the counterpart of the U.S. James Beard Foundation Awards. Its 16 categories include prizes for best restaurateur, winemaker, olive oil producer, distiller, and food and wine writing among others.

The Veronelli prize committee praised Eric for “courageous independence” in his writing and his “profound knowledge of Italian wine”:

    Writing “from the prestigious platform of The New York Times, food and wine critic Eric Asimov has maintained courageous independence in his opinions, which often lie outside the mainstream. Although not a wine writer in the strictest sense, he has shown profound knowledge of Italian wine. And he has voiced his greatest appreciation when, unhindered, it expresses the terroir where it was born.”

Widely read in Europe, Eric’s column in the “paper of record” became a hot topic earlier this year in Italy when he was mistranslated by an Italian newswire service: according to the erroneous report, he had called Barolo the world’s “sexiest wine.” An article in Italy’s national daily La Stampa compounded the misunderstanding when it asked noted winemakers to comment on a declaration never uttered by Eric. Click here to read my post on the Sexy Barolo affair.

Congratulations, Eric! It’s great to hear that the voice of American wine writing (and wine blogging) makes a difference on the other side of that great misunderstanding that we know as the Atlantic ocean.