Slow Wine – A New Italian Wine Guide that Looks Beyond the Glass!

For 20 years, Slow Food co-published the Italian Wines Guide with Gambero Rosso, arguably the most famous and influential wine publication in Italy.  The much sought after “three glasses” awards helped to stimulate Italian producers to aim for maximum quality and to change the Italian wine scene and its image abroad.

But Slow Food, which has since split with Gambero Rosso, felt that something more was needed in a wine guide to give a realistic snapshot of the current Italian wine scene and to incorporate the values of the Slow Food movement.  Now Slow Food has its own wine guide “Slow Wine”

Slow Wine 2012 English version

 A Year in the life of Italy’s Vineyards and Wines-400 cellars visited, 3,000 wines reviewed. $25

This new guide was introduced at a press conference, followed by a tasting of the wines in the guide. The speakers at the press conference were Giancarlo Gariglio, one of the creators of the wine guide, of which he is chief editor and Fabio Giavedoni, also chief editor with a particular focus on the regions of eastern Italy.

The guide had a successful debut in Italy, where it is currently in its second edition.  It is now making its international appearance with the first English edition, which is about one-fifth the size of the original.

The book is divided by region from North to South

Mr. Gariglio and Mr. Giavedoni believe there is a need for a new Italian wine guide a number of reasons.  They feel that  wine cannot be judged by scores, symbols or other numerical evaluation, but needs to be assessed in a broader context. In their new format, three sections describe the cellars (producers) in their entirety:

Life (people), the stories of the leading players in the world of winemaking; Vines (vineyards), profiles of vineyards according to their characteristics and the way they are managed;  Wines, straightforward descriptions backed up by comprehensive statistics.

The “cellars” are viewed by 200 wine experts all former employees of Gambero Rosso .  They do not judge the wines in a tasting room but travel all over the Italian peninsula visiting the cellars of the producers.

Three symbols are used to evaluate each winery:

The Snail, the Slow Food symbol, signals a cellar that has distinguished itself through its interpretation of sensorial, territorial, environmental and personal values in harmony with the Slow Food philosophy.

The Bottle, allocated to cellars that show a consistently high quality throughout their range of wines.

The Coin, an indicator of great value.

Three symbols are also used to evaluate each wine.

Slow Wine, bottles of outstanding sensory quality, capable of condensing in the glass territory-related values such as history and identity.

Great Wine, the finest bottles from the sensory point of view.

Everyday Wine, bottles at the standard price level, which are excellent value for the money.

Not every wine has a symbol next to it but we were told at the conference that all the wines in the book are good wines.

In keeping with the Slow Food movement, at the bottom of the page on each winery is another list which rates the winey as to: fertilizers, plant protection, weed control, yeasts, grapes-estate grown or not and if the winery is certified organic.

The authors ended the conference with the following statement, “We are convinced that the battle against the homogenization of taste and the standardization of sensory characteristics may be conducted through knowledge of the land, vineyards and people that combine to form the Italian terroir.”

After the press conference there was a walk around tasting and I tasted a number of wines. Here are some of the wines that I liked:

Bianco Pomice 60% Malvasia della Lipari, 30% Carricante and 10% Moscato Giallo Tenuta Di Castellaro, Sicily 

Bardolino  2010 made from Corvina and Rondinella Le Fraghe, Veneto

Soave Classico” Calvarino” 2009 Made from 100% Garganega Pieropan, Veneto

Langhe Nebbiolo”No Name”2005 Borgogno, Piedmont, they said it is a Barolo of Protest?

Chianti Classico Riserva “Il Poggio” 2007 Made from Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino Monsanto, Tuscany

Chianti Rufina 2009 Made from Sangiovese and Canaiolo Selvapiana, Tuscany

Barolo “Nei Cannubi” 2007 DOCG Luigi Einaudi Piedmont

Barolo “Marcenasco” 2007 DOCG Renato Ratti ,Piedmot

Dolcetto Dogliani bricco Botti DOCG 2008 Pacchenino, Piedmont-They now produce a Barolo San Giuseppe 2007

Barolo “Ravera” 2008 DOCG Elvio Cogno, Piedmont

Roero MompessanoRiserva 2008 DOCG 100% Nebbiolo Cascina Ca’RoSSa, Piedmont

Contrario 2008 100% Sagrantino Antonelli, Umbria

Salento Rosato 2010, Made from Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera Cantina Rosa del Golfo, Puglia

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo” Notári”2008 Nicodemi, Abruzzo

Ciró Rosso Duca San Felice Riserva 2009 made from 100% Gaglioppo Librandi, Calabria

Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi Classico Riserva 2008 made from 100% Verdicchio Villa Bucci, Marche

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6 Comments

Filed under Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Slow Wine Guide 2012

6 responses to “Slow Wine – A New Italian Wine Guide that Looks Beyond the Glass!

  1. Charles:

    Nice writeup of this guide. It is a nice touch of the editors of this guide to include some of the best value wines in Italy as well.

    I attended the tasting in Chicago and also found many impressive wines. I too loved the Castellaro bianco from Sicily along with several others you mentioned.

  2. Pingback: Peace, Presidents, Picolit « grapes of cath

  3. Looks like a great guide. I bought 4 books that are guids for Vini Naturali this weekend at the Vini Naturali event this weekend in Rome. I am so happy that people are making these great wines

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  5. Pingback: Bele Casel in the Slow Wine Guide | Bele Casel

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