An assault on the sacred notion of “controlled appellation”.

Posted on Posted in Occasional Thoughts

luigi ferrando w nealAs some of you may have noted, there is a different label on the Ferrando Spumante this vintage (2011). For this vintage at least the sparkling wine is referenced as “Spumante” without the specific distinction of the DOC of Erbaluce di Caluso.  The reason for this is a technical one as explained in full by Roby Ferrando below.  In essence this is what occurred …

The juice for the Spumante was partially barrel-fermented and the 2011 vintage was also quite warm which gave a ripeness to the harvested grapes destined for the Spumante.  The regulations for Spumante DOC require that the finished product be a “pale yellow” color (“giallo paglierino”) and the finished product carries a richer, more golden robe.  It thus falls outside the bureaucratic version of what a Spumante DOC should be.  The Ferrandos would not consider any sort of intervention to further clarify, or worse remove color, from the finished wine; so, the decision was made to move forward with a product simply known as “Spumante”.

As Roby says in his communication, this is an absurd situation but it would be worse to intervene chemically simply to guarantee the DOC.

Let me add that this is another indicator of the assault on the previously sacred notion of “controlled appellation” which, when first conceived, was put in place to protect the great traditions of artisanally-produced wines that expressed the profound notion of terroir.  Now, the system is being destroyed by rank commercialism under the guise of protecting the public from inferior wine … another way of standardizing wine and undermining the concept of terroir.  We will never give in to this subversive movement which is why I am proud of the Ferrandos for refusing to concede the point, which is why we celebrate Fillastre’s Jaugaret even when it must be labeled as “Vin de France” instead of its rightful appellation of St. Julien, which is why we accept with equanimity the decision of Giovanna Morganti and her Podere Le Boncie to leave the Chianti Classico consortium.

The ultimate irony is that to defend the true notion of “appellation controlee” and “denominazione controllato”, one must leave the system that superficially uses these names in the cause of reducing wine to a beverage without character or history.

More on this subject at another time …

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