When we think about wine, whether as a consumer, producer, sommelier, portfolio manager, buyer, or simply as a wine enthusiast, many of us think of white wines, red wines, sparkling wines, rosés… and, finally, maybe we would also add a small box or give a little space to “special” wines, which would include sweet wines, rancio wines, fortified wines, etc.
During the last 40 years, there have been several revolutions in the world of wine industry, one after another with a speed which is hard to “tolerate” in an industry where decisions are mostly made taking our children’s profits into account. The arrival of fruit wines, grape juice concentrates, new types of wood, international varieties, vine training in the vineyards, high technology, etc., displaced a more refined, softener, with less fruit concentration and less lush type of wine. In short, it seemed that the great classic wines, even from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rioja, Jerez and Oporto, had been forgotten by a large number of consumers. Immediacy and sort-term impact had prevailed. In recent years, with the return to local varieties, traditional pruning systems, balanced wines and more respectful ageing processes, there has also been a demand for local products, regional combinations and local products consumption. Now, we embrace white wines macerated with the grape skins. These wines have even brought a new colour to wine lists. We are not surprised by aged rosés and disgorged sparkling wines, and what was considered a mistake and/or an imperfection by a lot of people, nowadays we see it rather as a virtue and a unique quality.
Is exactly in time, mistakes and imperfections variables where “oxidative” wines feel comfortable, whether they are made with the skins, aged sweet wines, dry rancio wines, wines exposed to day and night (sol i serena), or a mix of different vintages. White wines, red wines and rosés with endless ageing, complex and animal bouquets, high volatile compounds, etc., but which require patience when cooking, eating, and especially long table talks in order to explain us their whole story in every drop, in every sip. However, above all, they require tolerance, acceptance, and to be open-minded in order to get rid of the idea of imperfections and mistakes, and open ourselves to the rich heritage left by history and local traditions over time.
We need to find in our daily life that moment to think, read, talk with other people, observe, and accompany it with a glass of this rich heritage left by all the vine-growers and wine producers around this region. But, above all, I would like to stand up for all the Mediterranean oxidative wines. I think, not knowing if it is right or wrong, that is exactly in this great area with its special light where these wines can tell us about tradition, about time, about history, and specially about passion. Because… who said oxidation is an imperfection?