Maurizio Zanella, deus ex machina of Cà del Bosco, speaks:
Do you have doubts about natural wines - sorry, the fashion for natural wines? Have you kept quiet until now out of reticence and modesty, for the sake of a quiet life (and because, admit it, you feared you'd be lynched, if only in print and on blogs, by the fanatics who support natural wine at all costs)?
Well, now you can speak your mind freely and come out into the open, without fear of being singled out for derision. Now without sticking your neck out too much, you can leave the dirty work to no less a figure than a celebrated Italian winemaker (assuming you're not part of the "natural at all costs" brigade).
This winemaker is a superstar: one of those before whom all wine guides - bar none - and all the world's wine writers bow and scrape, because he is pragmatic and serious. He produces great wines and he has the qualifications.
He is old enough (born 1956) to be considered a wise man and as well as a great winemaker he is captain - sorry, chairman - of that dreadnought among Italian wine consortia, the marauding and ambitious Franciacorta consortium. "Passions come together" reads the motto beneath the consortium's logo: a virtuous coming together of entrepreneurs, vine-growers, dealers and winemakers, who have taken this region near Brescia to the top of the Italian classic-method winemaking table.
I'm talking about my old friend Maurizio Zanella. We've known each other since 1984 and were born the same year - he in November, I in September. He's definitely the marauding, attacking type - like the Milan football team was in the days of (coach Arrigo) Sacchi. He's not only a devoted and proud Franciacorta fan (and how could he not be, holding the two roles of deus ex machina at Cà del Bosco and chair of the Franciacorta consortium?).
He expresses his conviction that Franciacorta can outshine the Champagne region: stuff that would already be enough to get him accused of madness (in Italy, as everyone knows, the only wine that can "beat" champagne is Prosecco or rather "Italian sparkling wine") and offers other very clear and courageous opinions. But the irresponsible Zanella also comments freely on natural wine and the boss of Cà del Bosco confesses he is not "part of the 'natural at all costs' brigade. Anyway, it's an adjective that's often used incorrectly in order to deceive". He goes so far as to say: "One out of every ten is fantastic for the first six months, but undrinkable after that. The other nine are undrinkable to start with. The fixation on natural wine comes from groups of enthusiasts rather than the wider public".
He actually said that!
In the same interview, Zanella offers his opinion on Expo 215: "It seems to me an opportunity that we risk wasting. Food and drink offer great openings for Italy: wine, of course, but also pasta, olive oli... Well, I keep reading all sorts of declarations, but I see little or nothing that's concrete".
Now who can shield Zanella from accusations that he is:
- A conservative
- An enemy of innovation
- An advocate of putting chemicals in wine
- An industrial winemaker and an enemy of growers
- Someone who's even worse than Ziliani (yours truly)
- Someone who knows nothing about real (that is, natural) wine
Who can defend him from the concerted assault of anti-Franciacorta wine snobs and bloggers who are supposed guardians of the undisputed truth about natural wine?
Poor Maurizio! I really wouldn't like to be in your shoes (also because you're a Milan football supporter)!