Francesco Versio is the winner of the 3rd edition of the Gambelli Award

His name is Francesco Versio, he will turn thirty in August, and he lives in Neive, in the province of Cuneo, where he has worked since 2011 as an oenologist for a prestigious winery, the Cantina Bruno Giacosa. Curiously enough, he combines the profession of oenologist (which he exercises after having obtained his Bachelor’s degree with thesis on the “Chromatic Profile of the Major White Wines from Langhe and Roero” and his Master’s degree with thesis on the “Development of a Method for Monitoring Mannoprotein Yields in Wines Aged Sur Lies”) with his passion for music: he also has a Diploma in Music Theory and Solfeggio obtained from the Conservatoire Ghedini of Cuneo, and another in Complementary Piano from the Public Conservatoire of Alessandria.
Another name from Piedmont, and the third one out of three subsequent editions, following Fabrizio Torchio from Asti and Gian Luca Colombo from Turin, listed in the roll of honour of the Giulio Gambelli Award, organized by Aset (Associazione Stampa Enogastroagroalimentare Toscana, or Tuscan Food-and-Wine Press Association) and Igp (I Giovani Promettenti, or Promising Youth blog network) to honour the memory of a great “master of wine”. This year the Award is hosted by the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino, a wine and a territory that – like Chianti Classico and Nobile di Montepulciano – retain strong memories of Giulio Gambelli and his achievements.
The jury selected the winner from 16 oenologists, all strictly under 35, as per award regulations, who reached the finals out of 46 competitors recommended by a panel of 35 food-and-wine journalists. A total of forty-six wines were evaluated by a jury composed of ten judges, gathered at the headquarters of the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino. All forty-six were the expression of the typicality of the wine regions that encompass the entire territory of Italy, from Trentino to Sicily, from Piedmont to Basilicata. The judges prepared a results list showing very slight differences in a narrow range, a sure indication of the excellent work performed by the young oenologists.
“This proves – says Stefano Tesi, Chairman of Aset – that young oenologists are working to recover an authentic style. And “gambellinism” is a style, a spirit, so it cannot be precisely defined. Everyone perceives it in a different way, and that’s the beauty of the Award. It helps to understand how “gambellinism” comes across and to discuss the concept. For this reason, the prize is awarded to the work performed by the oenologists, and not to the wines, which are only a tool of judgment”.
“I was pleasantly surprised – comments the winner, Francesco Versio – when I was informed of the award. And I am deeply honoured to be here to collect it and to celebrate the memory of a man who made the history of wine in Tuscany”.

Therese Peters: Brunello 2010 thumbs up!

In Terese Peters (The Wine House in Los Angeles) opinion “the 2010  vintage is perfect balance between complexity and accessibility between ripeness and the early accessibility but long aging ability. This vintage already is one of the greatest vintages in the last 20 years,  thumbs up! The Brunello’s tend to have the perfect marriage between old world wines and new world. They are nice, approachable, ready to drink, capable of long aging,  for the American palate they are pleasing but not too astir… On demand in us is changing? Demand in the us is increasing because the us market now is the largest market in terms of pro capite drinking of wine and it is only getting larger every year. The typical consumer that buys Brunello is someone that enjoys American wines, California wines but wants to learn more about the old world wines but are not ready yet to drink a Barolo or a complex Burgundy or Bordeaux. Brunellos are also more affordable than a lot of the high end Bordeaux so that is something that ca be purchased aged and stored and does not empty your wallet.

Antony Dias Blue: Brunello is great with every kind of food

Anthony Dias Blue, direttore The Tasting Panel: “the 2010 vintage of Brunello are absolutely the finest Brunello I have ever tasted. On the expectations for this vintage? What is wonderful about it is that it is great now, it is drinkable now and it will age for many many many years… decades. On US market? I believe it will continue being so. American have a  good  palate and they appreciate good wine and this is great wine. On the changing  consumers’ taste. Looking at trends, I think Americans are very much interested into a wider variety of wines. Years ago it was just chardonnay  and cabernet, now it’s more awhole range and sprectrum of wines from around the world. On what kind of consumer buys Brunello. I think they (American consumers) are knowledgeable, they have money to spend, they appreciate and love Italian food together with it, but Brunello is not just for Italian food, it is great with every kind of food.

Romano Chieti: Americans are expecting good wines

Romano Chieti, born in Montalcino, speaks about the 2010 vintage: “The 2010 vintage is a very special vintage not only because it is 5 stars but it has the potential of becoming a unique vintage. We are luck we have so many producers here today. Americans are expecting good wines, the market right now  requires good wines and Brunello with the Barolo and the Amarone is right far ahead.  My business is important on Italian wines , we have about 600 accounts  but already at Vinitaly  you will see, because I think it is going to be a very good wine”.

How is the consumer changing

The consumer is changing in better wine. Today Italian wines have an important spot in the wine list. Before in restaurants we had 80 % French wine, 10% from California and the rest was Italian. Not it is the other way. Hard to find a French wine in Italian restaurants because our politics is to bring not politicians but good wines in the wine list!  And they listen to us

What kind of consumers drink brunello

It used to be the upper class, now middle class. Brunello is becoming important even by the glass.  People don’t have to invest a lot of money, they have a glass and then they buy the bottle when they have other guests.

Patricia Shapiro: Brunello 2010 is a very special vintage

Patricia Shapiro, Ceo of Wine & More: 2010 is a very special vintage. “I tried 2009  and other vintages. But this is spectacular, powerful. It has great potential in aging.  It is a wine you can enjoy today it now but both big producers and small producers  all are good. I cannot find one producer that I can say I did find what I expected. This is spectacular and I think everybody will really love it even for the new beginners to whom you can introduce Italian wine , they will also love it, even the ones that  don’t have a strong palate.

Actions the Consorzio should carry out to consolidate the us market

What the consorzio is doing to have meetings with very good producers, that is really important for us because we are the people that transmit the information outside. Through websites, blogs, private tastings. Collectors don’t come here and they want to know our opinion, collectors don’t come here.  If the Consorzio does these presentations… In one place I can really have more info if I travel to Italy, and I love Italy, but this makes my work simple!

Changing of consumer’s taste

The US consumer is very open for new.  The US also produce wine but they like new things. And it depends on how you present it. Also 2009 is very good, different price, don’t need to be crazy expenses, you can put it in a party, in a dinner and you surprise your friends with that.

US market

The US market is very open , curious. That is what I find through my blog and my website. What people write to me. They want to learn more, even if they don’t know it. some  markets, some countries are more closed, usa are very open and really want to know more. I suggest Italian producers should be more present and they will be very welcome.

What distinguishes Brunello from other wines

Family talks about the wine. When I bring Brunello it is mainly what is behind it. What the owner has been doing and what he transmits. And you can feel it. Brunello and I know lots of producers ad they care so much like a baby!  It is their baby. I love French wine but it’s different.  I am so close to Brunello and Italian wines because that is family to me, that is what you feel ….