Italian sommelier great victories and great international defeats
Matteo Montone be
st young sommelier in the world 2019 and Italian debacle at the sommelier team world championships ranked least
The facts are as follows: on October 12th the seventh edition of the sommelier team competition was held in the Chambord Castle in France with the participation of teams coming from 27 nations of the world and the Italian team, for the second year a row, came in last.
MATTEO MONTONE BEST YOUNG SOMMELIER OF THE WORLD
On October 18th in London the Italian Matteo Montone won the world title chaîne des Rôtisseurs young sommelier of the year racing under the British flag.
Two events almost concurrent but with opposite result make us reflect on the skills of sommeliers of the Italian nursery. Evidently natural talent is not lacking and the training grounds are good. In fact, traveling around the world, it is easy to find fellow countrymen who take care of the wine service in the most important clubs of Oslo, London, Toronto… or champions like Paolo Basso who won the title of best sommelier in the world ASI in 2013 competing for Switzerland. But the point is, why do our sommeliers only spread their wings and fly high when they go abroad? The case of Matteo Montone is exemplary, he was born in Milan and became sommelier in Italy in 2012 but the following year he left for Great Britain. In 2015 he finished seventh in the race for best Italian sommelier.
Commenting on the competition for the best young sommelier in the world The drinks Business notes that in the last 10 years the wine service professionals operating in the UK have always won first or second place. This year the second was Jonathan Eichholz from the USA followed by the Australian Andres Aragon in third place.
QUALITY OF OLIO EVO: 50% FROM MICROCLIMATE, 25% FROM VARIETY AND 25% FROM HARVESTING AND PROCESSING
The microclimate of the olive grove is very important and accounts for 50% of the quality of the oil, another 25% depends on the cultivar that is the variety of the plants. Trequanda is an area renowned for centuries for its excellent oil Fattoria del Colle still preserves more than 20 jars of terracotta, some of which over two hundred years old, that testify to the tradition and the great care with which has always been produced the extra virgin.
The remaining 25% of the oil quality depends on how the olives are harvested and processed. We harvest the olives, in October and November, starting shortly after the harvest, when they are still green. The harvest is manual with the only help of small electric rakes. Every day the olives are brought to Casteluzio in the small Sant’Angelo olive mill managed by a competent and passionate young man, Paolo Bindi. Thanks to a slow process that does not heat the olives Pieralisi plant by Paolo preserves all the fragrance of the fruits. After the pressing, to preserve the perfumes and health virtues of the extra virgin, we at Fattoria del Colle store it at 15°C in nitrogen-saturated steel drums and then bottle it without filtering it.
Almost everything is sold at the farm in the mono-varietal correggiolo (frantoio), moraiolo and in the blend of the two varieties. It is packaged in bottles and small metal cans.
fettunta-bruschetta-con olio evo
TO TASTE THE EVO CORREGGIOLO OIL: FETTUNTA AND PAN LAVATO
The correggiolo typology, with its scent of cutted grass and artichoke, its almost spicy taste transforms into a royal dish even a simple tray of cooked vegetables. It is ideal for the toasted homemade bread slice, on which to pass the garlic, sprinkle with salt black pepper and pour the oil just made. The secret is to eat it hot.
As well as the Pan Lavato (washed bread), recipe that in the various localities of Siena takes different names: cabbage with slices, or slices. The cauliflower is boiled in salted water. The slices of homemade bread are toasted dipped in the cooking water of cabbage and then covered with vegetables, then seasoned with salt pepper, oil exravergine and a few drops of vinegar.
TO TASTE THE EVO MORAIOLO OIL: SEASONED POTATOES
The extra virgin olive oil obtained from the Moraiolo variety has a more distinctive aroma of olive and a full-bodied taste. Also in this case the recipe to taste it is very simple: seasoned potatoes. Potatoes with the peel are boiled in salted water, then peeled and divided into pieces. Meanwhile the garlic and the chopped parsley go to season the oil at a moderate temperature. The oil is removed from the fire before it fries and used to season the potatoes served cold.
WHY ITALIAN SOMMELIER THAT DON’T LEAVE ITALY DON’T EMERGE INTERNATIONALLY?
It is therefore not a competition between the British but a competition with international horizons where, however, those who work in the top clubs on British soil have an advantage due to the large number of bottles of the highest level and all over the world, which they can taste during the year.
Is this the limit of the Italian sommeliers who remain in Italy? Or is there something deeper: provincialism seen as a strength rather than a weakness?
This question brings with it another one which concerns not only the sommeliers but also the producers: to know wines from all over the world and evaluate Italian wines from a more international point of view is it a necessity or puts at risk the distinctive identity of our wines?
I know a lot of producers who almost always only drink their wine. Even without wanting it, this creates a taste addiction that makes them seem their own wine excellent and other less good. Precisely because of the habit of drinking mainly Italian wines the tasters of our country are not bothered by the aggressiveness of tannins that, instead, in markets like China, are a mortal sin.
Confronting wines from all over the world, understanding their strengths and their weaknesses is useful, does not jeopardize the identity of our denominations but helps to make them expressions of the culture of our time. Exactly as architects, fashion designers, film directors do, they study the work of their colleagues and especially the best ones. A process that globalizes those who have a gregarious personality and changes according to fashions and enriches those who have a real personality and tries to express it at ever higher levels.
GABRIELE GORELLI CLOSE TO BECOME THE FIRST ITALIAN MASTER OF WINE
I conclude with an appeal to the Italian sommeliers to avoid the repetition of embarrassments like those of the Castle of Chambord putting together a team able to arrive on the podium of the world championship team. At the same time I would like to reassure the weekly publication Trebicchieri del Gambero rosso who commented with regret on the news, noting that no Italian has yet become Master of Wine but we are very close to this prestigious goal.
Gabriele Gorelli from Montalcino has passed all the tasting exams and must only (it is the major obstacle ) write the thesis to get the initial MW behind his name. Certainly it is a great change of mentality and a different approach to the market, because Masters of Wine are able to evaluate wines in can without blinkers. Italian sommeliers would not do it with the same ease and perhaps this is the limit to be crossed.