Using the competitive advantage of its excellence to promote itself in the world. This is what Umbria should do, by joining forces and networking: one ambassador is certainly Sagrantino di Montefalco, among the protagonists on Tuesday evening of an evening event organised by the Arnaldo Caprai Winery on the occasion of the presentation of the Italian edition of the book The wine guru (Ampelos Edizioni) by Michel Rolland, the internationally renowned oenologist unanimously recognised as the maître à penser of world wine. "Rolland is the man who best interprets the taste of consumers around the world and that is why, five years ago, I wanted him as our consultant," explains Marco Caprai of Azienda agricola Arnaldo Caprai. "With him we can really think of making that further leap in quality with the aim of making important numbers in terms of tourism as well. Caprai knows something about this, who in the 1980s realised the potential of a forgotten grape variety such as Sagrantino and, together with the University of Milan, worked tirelessly to relaunch it, at the same time managing to build a rebirth of the entire area.
Between one dish and another from the menu cooked by Gianfranco Vissani, Rolland rattled off anecdotes and points of view on the world of wine. His vision, for example, for the Italian wine sector is that of the need to develop the domestic market, as well as to look to Asia, a market where, according to the oenologist, Italian products can grow well. Marketing, according to Rolland, is the watchword for wine businesses, as well as the strengthening of brand value and the continuous quest to raise the quality of wines. Rolland, who is the king ofassemblage (i.e., of wines made from grapes of different varieties), in Umbria, however, is being tested with monovarietals: Sagrantino in primis, but also Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon and Chardonnay. "Sagrantino,' Rolland emphasises, 'is a vine that has a marked personality, but it is possible to educate and direct it. In the world of wine, one is successful when one is able to propose something original, and Sagrantino has the ability to be unique. I must say, however, that the Merlot Belcompare that we are making in Montefalco is also giving great results'. Not to be outdone is the Pinot Noir Malcompare, which is already getting good feedback from critics. Rolland is no stranger to such successes, his palma res in his 45-year career is impressive, but in his book he tells his personal story above all, that of a winegrower's son destined to take over the family estate, but he wanted more: with a bit of luck, a lot of determination and a good dose of courage, this boy from Libournais has become the most sought-after and media-savvy oenologist on the planet. A character profile that emerges, page after page, and which outlines a man who says that 'at seventy years of age, you don't have many more dreams to fulfil', but his gaze betrays his words and gives a glimpse of new projects on the horizon. This is also confirmed by what he says in the preface to his book: 'I started with oenology when everything had yet to be invented and tested. I initiated, as well as accompanied, the greatest changes in viticulture and winemaking. I travelled to the ends of the earth, to all latitudes, to undermine the beliefs of the doubters. I have assembled different grape varieties that were thought to be irreconcilable. I have discovered lands that were thought to be ungrateful and on which proud vine stocks now sprout. I have met singular men who had at heart the idea of producing unique wines, with great character, in countries with an unlikely viticultural destiny. Enthusiasm is what gives light to life. I often say it: nothing can be undertaken if you do not have a strong desire and if you do not look beyond the present time'. Wine? 'It's all about passion, love and curiosity,' concludes Rolland. Three fundamental ingredients for both the French oenologist and Marco Caprai, and which form the basis of a collaboration with high added value from which the whole of Umbria can benefit.
ARNALDO CAPRAI FARM AT A GLANCE
Few other wineries in Italy and around the world are immediately identified just by mentioning the name of the denomination to which they belong, like Arnaldo Caprai, itself a symbol of Sagrantino di Montefalco. A unique reality, synonymous with Italian excellence, capable of creating wines that are out of the ordinary in terms of depth, elegance and longevity: not only reds, but also whites. The credit for this adventure that began in the late 1970s goes to Marco Caprai, Arnaldo's son. It was he, in fact, more than anyone else who believed in the richness of Sagrantino, reinterpreting it in a modern key, through the most innovative production and business management methods, which have enabled him to win the favour of the public and critics all over the world. Not to be outdone by the whites: Arnaldo Caprai's Grecante, 100% Grechetto, managed to conquer Wine Spectator's Top100.
A great company, Arnaldo Caprai, that guards a green soul, considering issues concerning sustainability, protection and safeguarding the environment as fundamental. The point of observation always remains the same: trying to behave in harmony with natural evolution cycles, preserving and enhancing the territory in which it operates. This is why the company decided to create an Environmental Management System that complies with international regulations, developing a voluntary territorial protocol of environmental, economic and social sustainability of the production process.
It is in this unparalleled context that wines of unforgettable substance are born, complex and elegant, capable of narrating the best of an entire region, Umbria.