Bloggers democratizing the wine biz – the EWBC

The web and social media has transformed the way we think about writing and journalism. And this has had a profound effect on not only traditional news journalism but also the way we report and write about wine.

And it is not just about blogging or writing. It is not just about sharing and telling stories. The European Wine Bloggers Conference that was held for the fourth time in Brescia in Italy in mid october this year has developed into a gathering for journalists, bloggers, promotors, wine businesses and social media nerds alike. And one thing is for certain – these people are democratizing the way we are reporting, educating and sharing our opinions and views on wine.

Ericsson Uncorked visited the EWBC in Brescia to meet some of these people. With one foot in the old media and one in the new it was an opportunity for me to get some inspiration from the next wave of wine writers and wine educators. This is our short documentation of the event!


Stunning Franciacorta Pinot Noir – Berlucchi’s Brolo Vineyard

Back from a short and hectic trip to Italy and the fantastic European Wine Bloggers Conference in Brescia. Yesterday I went to Stockholm for a tasting of some 150 sparkling wines. But alas there were not one single Franciacorta wine among the featured wines. There are only a handfull in the so called “beställningssortimentet” – bottles that aren’t stocked in the monopoly’s shops and that you need to pre-order.

And what a pity it is – because the best Franciacorta sparklers are such stunning wines. Some of us at the conference got to experience that first hand when we visited the historic Guido Berlucchi estate this last sunday. It was here in the village of Corte Franca just south of lake Iseo that it all started back in 1961 when the Berlucchi and Zilliani families decided to make good metodo classico wines. Six years later they got the DOC-denomination but it was not until 1977 that other producers came along.

The Berlucchi operation is almost mindblowingly huge. They produce around 5 million bottles a year and got some state of the art technology. All their wines are made using gyropallettes (and they are quiet open with this – which you’ve got to admire) – even the prestige bottlings. And the wines are really good. Once again a proof for the motto that all good wines really are made in the vineyard!

We met with Cristina Ziliani and Arturo Ziliani (both fantastic hosts) and got to sample 24 of the estates different basewines from different terroirs and different pressings that make up their final cuvées. I also got a chance to talk to both the agronomist and oenologist of the estate and they explained some of the intricacies of working with base wines.

More on that subject later here in Ericsson Uncorked (and it’s swedish counterpart Uppkorkat).

Best of the wines is probably the amazing 100 percent Pinot Noir Palazzo Lana Extrême 2005 from the Brolo vineyards just outside the estate. This is a wine that spends some amazing 48 months on it’s lees before disgorging and it is only done in tiny quantities (around 5000 bottles). I sampled the base wine and it was nothing like what I had expected. It was quite round and mellow and had loads of red berries, some notes of fudge and minerals. And the end-product was spectacular.

On the nose I got those complex aromas of red berries, yeasts, minerals, cocoa powder and flowers. On the palate it was quite powerful with intense fruity flavours, fresh acidity, hints of chocolate/cocoa powder and minerals. I’m usually a blanc de blancs kinda guy but I must say that this wine impressed me. It would be so interesting to taste it along some of the best blanc de noirs from Champagne. My guess is that it will do very well in such a line up!

A nebbiolo confession – Nino Negri Sfursat 5 Stelle

By now both you and I know that I am a sucker for nebbiolo! And I confess – it it most def one of my vices and it is a vice that I am proud to have – because it is such a stunning grape and i gives some of the most interesting wines in the world!

The combination of an almost painful acidity and tannic structure (pop there goes one of my teeths again) and those unique slightly perfumed aromas of roses, tar, leather, tobacco, violets, cherries and dried fruits are such a fantastic thing that I totally surrender. My only problem is that good nebbiolo is quite expensive – and that is something I/we just have to live with.

Nino Negris Sfursat 5 Stelle (around €47) is one of my all time favourite nebbiolos. Not from Piedmont but Valtellina in Lombardy a bit further north to the swiss border. It is made only in good years and with the best nebbiolo (chiavennasca) grapes in Valtellina Superiore (the vineyards are located in the Inferno, Grumello and Fracia crus). After the harverst the grapes are left to dry under a period of three months before pressing and vinification.

Then follows a traditional (in its modern shape) winemaking process with a 12 day maceration and fermentation in stainless steel, elevage for 16 months in new french barriques and a further 3 months on bottle before it is released.

The drying/appassimento part migth lead you to expect an Amarone-like experience but apart from the drying part – there is really not that great a resemblence between the two.

The Nino Negri Sfursat 5 Stelle 2007 are orange-red in colour with complex aromas of cherries, coffee, herbs, cocoa powder and oak/chocolate. On the palate it is massive with super concentrated tastes of red and dark berries, herbs, oak, coffee, tobacco and leather. It got layer upon layer of fruits and spices with hints of vanilla and a super long, tannic and slightly alcoholoc finish. It’s a fantastic wine with (one of Italys best if you ask me!). And it can last for decades!