Donatella Cinelli Colombini interviews the wine maker Valerie Lavigne
For Valerie Lavigne wine maker of Donatella Cinelli Colombini the autochtonous grape varieties will be the protagonists of the future italian wine
What do the words DIVERSITY, IDENTITY, TIPICALITY? In an era of globalization these seem to have become more important but can they merge with the research for high quality?
1) Donatella Cinelli Colombini
Valerie Lavigne Identity and typicality define the personality of the wine. It is through them that wine is recognizable by its taste, taste that is the specific expression of one or more grape varieties grown in a given region. Without authenticity, there can be no diversity. Therefore the search for quality in my opinion is inextricably linked from the notions of authenticity, identity and therefore diversity.
2) Donatella Cinelli Colombin autochthonous varieties like Sangiovese, Foglia Tonda and Sagrantino. What have they to offer more or less of compared to the international varieties like Cabernet or Merlot
VLV Autochtonous grape varieties, when combined with the image of a great wine produced in this region, Brunello Sangiovese for example, are always cultivated at their northern limit, ie where there is always a little more difficult than elsewhere to get a full maturity. It is in these conditions that the grape expression is the most original and most inimitable either.
The international varieties like merlot, cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay, when grown in Bordeaux and Burgundy are at their northern limit. The aromas of these varieties, in these circumstances are very unique and identifiable. Grown in warmer or drier climates wines produced can be good but not very great wines. Their aromatic expression loses its unique character. It is the privilege of autochtonous grape varieties to generate wines whose flavor can’t be replicated.
3) DCC The choice of preferring barrels for Brunello is firstly for wine making reasons and then for cultural reasons? In other words does it show a desire to make a wine with more identity or only to make a better wine?
VLV As I said, the wines are recognizable by a particular expression, typical of one or more grape varieties grown in a given region. The wood must not disturb this authenticity, it must remain a support, an element of complexity.
Less wood for wine most authentic and therefore greatest wines
4) DCC All of us must collaborate to reduce the environmental impact. What is the future of the eco-compatible vineyard? Many think of going biological others of being biodynamic…..how does one make great wines and still preserve nature?
VLV There is no choice. The vineyard must be both eco-compatible and produce great wines, expressing local inimitable taste.
The objectives of eco-compatibility are varied: no residues of pesticides not only in wines but also in soil, water and air, unspoilt and adorned countryside, enriched territory both economically, socially and culturally.
The distinction between biological and biodynamic is purely semantic. We must make every effort to achieve environmental objectives; If certain practices of biodynamic have a measurable beneficial effect, they are justified. Otherwise they have no interest.
5) DCC Today the Supertuscans, based on Sangiovese and international varieties, are no longer fashionable. Is this the beginning of an era that sees favourably blends based on autochthonous varieties? What do you think about Sagrantino plus Sangiovese?
VLV I think a return to blend of autochtonous varieties is in the air of time, always with the same idea, produce wines typical of a place, with a recognizable and inimitable taste.
Why not imagine the effect of combining the colorful, powerful, low acid and very tannic Sagrantino with the more delicate, most acidic and less colorful Sangiovese? It is the tannin quality of each that will guide the blend. But there are probably other ways to explore or deepen in all cases. What about Colorino for example?