07 June 2012

Biological wine. New European legislation.

Recently entered into force the new European Legislation, which should regulate the production of organic wines in the Member States. But if on the one hand it has filled a legislative loophole which existed for too long in our system, on the other hand, reading it carefully, I can not help but be bitter about having lost a unique opportunity to shed light on this important issue and the time same as controversial and debated.
What should be the meaning enclosed within a bottle of organic wine? Has sense a legislation that to satisfy some all fail to deliver any substantial change, if not for just some mild restrictions, compared to the European legislation regarding the so-called conventional wines? But above all, it makes sense to talk about organic, biodynamic or natural without taking into account its real sustainability?
Personally, and I'm not the only one who thinking it, I consider the focus should be directed not only to the impact that the enological and viticultural techniques have respect the product and the man, but also to the environment in its entirety. This is true both for wines organic and for the biodynamic and natural wines.
Welcomes are the lowering of the permitted maximum level of the sulfur content (in my view still too high) or the abolition of certain  techniques or substances aimed to promote a style of wine rather than enhance the characteristics of the terroir.
Commendable even those producers who by virtue of a deep belief, renounce entirely at what the law, with the newborn regulation, would allow to use while "foreign" to the grapes and that fight battles definitely constructive in this regard. However, in both cases, we can not absolutely thinking that is enough that to promote our natural wine or bio-something.
What sense does it talk about the environment and the protection of the terroir if then we are the first to ruin it, by simply thinking that it is a place-independent from the rest of the planet and maybe we do not care, for example,  from wich sources came from  the electricity used for our cellars or wasting the water necessary for their cleaning? It would not make sense to know how much oil is used to produce a kg of grapes, or perhaps this is not within the canons of the naturalness of a product?
There are Countries like New Zealand, who have taken important measures to contain the CO2 produced by the food industry, penalizing the companies less virtuous and helping those that are most deserving. The European legislation, however, considered "bio-logical" thinking that all this was unnecessary in the regulations that govern the production of organic products. But we must not think that is only  the wine sector  be hitted by this myopic regulation.
Not long ago, I went to see my old (so to speak) fruiterer. A man in his seventies, in love with his work, that would be able to keep you glued to the  vegetables desk for hours speaking only about beetroot. After few conventional compliments,  he came in running  in his store-room, and from there to little came out , holding in his hands a plastic bag containing organic salad ready: throws on the desk and in a Treviso dialect mutters: "anca a plastega xea bio ndes? E po', a me ocupa meta' magasin e ghe ne quatro foie ndentro" (translation: even the plastic is biologic? And then these envelopes  occupy half stock and contain only a few leaves of product).  Inevitably, my thoughts went to the night before when, for accompany the meager supper that my refrigerator was offering, I opened a bottle of wine of an amazing  friend producer, that someone would call "a naturalist to the bone" for his integrity of thought and action.
The wine was magnificent: as always unmistakable aroma, the palate enveloping, dynamic and very elegant, anything but seated ... in short, just like I like. Pity that the immense thickness of that wine was equal to the glass thickness of the heavy bottle that contained it. Just to stay on the subject, we could defined it as a striking example of bio-wastage that does not help neither the environment nor to the wine.
Taking into account these and other considerations, I am increasingly convinced that the producers of Organic and natural wines should seriously consider the real sustainability of their actions in the long run.
A good producer or a good oenologist is someone who knows how to valorise what is good and what is different by nature, without the use of artifices which tend to enclose the wine within prefixed models, rather than expressing it in its entirety, but this can happen only  in a view of full respect: talk about naturalness means, first of all, recognize that there is a balanced relationship, made of taking and giving between the  man and the surrounding environment, a mutual enrichment, without which, it will be only demagogic define our wine Bio. 

Federico Giotto