Italian ‘Gamay’ wine appeals to ‘bold’ wine drinkers
Crumbling brick apartment buildings housing impoverished artists showed bursts of creativity illustrated on their dilapidated structures by provocative graffiti. During the 1980s, New York’s East Village was filled with burgeoning writers, musicians, filmmakers, and painters who each followed the path less traveled when it came to their creative expression. It was therefore the epicenter of punk music and the hotbed of neo-expressionist graffiti art, the latter being led by New Yorker Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was living in the East Village when he left. is made known for the first time. It was both magically electric and disturbing, but it still attracted celebrities, corporate people and the wealthy who risked having their throats slit by heroin addicts desperate for their next fix, because there was an irresistible attraction for the explosion of emotions and raw materials. talents that have arisen spontaneously on a daily basis.
The neo-expressionist graffiti art of Jean-Michel Basquiat gave a voice to many who had none, such as highlighting injustices toward black Americans and marginalized working-class individuals such as cooks and janitors who were part of everyday life for the general population but were often invisible. Some art critics called Basquiat a “talentless hustler,” but nearly 30 years after his untimely death, one of his paintings, which sold for $110.5 million, fetched “the highest sum ever. paid at auction for a work of art produced in the United States”. Remarkable given that Basquiat was black, poor, and had no formal art education, although he was considered brilliant and an avid learner in his day-to-day life, so he lacked the typical pedigree to become an iconic artist. However, he carved out a place for himself in history and opened the door for many more.
Italian winemaker Madrevite, nestled near Italy’s Tuscany-Umbria border, surrounded by hills and lakes, has crafted a label inspired by Basquiat’s work. The wine is made from the local red Gamay del Trasimeno grape, and “it’s a wine for the people,” as noted by owner Nicola Chiucchiurlotto who oversees his grandfather’s vineyards. The name of its best selection, Gamay del Trasimeno wine, “C’osa”, refers to a saying in the local dialect that questions “who is bold?”
Wine for the daring
Just as Basquiat’s oft-characterized “noisy” art appealed to people who wanted to be challenged, Nicola says his Madrevite “C’osa” is made for a strong personality. The wine does not fit into any type of box with regard to the association with a known wine region or a famous Italian grape variety but also the grapes for the “C’osa” bottling are harvested last, the bottling 2019 was picked 25 days later than the other Gamay del Trasimeno wines he makes and is therefore a bold wine that is made for a bold person.
It might seem quite odd that a third-generation winemaker in Trasimeno would feel such a strong bond with a graffiti artist from New York, as their worlds and experiences seem seemingly opposite. Trasimeno has the title of “Italy’s Green Heart” as the lakes and hills create a protected area with a temperate climate and there are many sun-exposed sites conducive to forests, olive groves and all flourishing vineyards; in a way, a kind of green paradise. Conversely, Basquiat lived in a dangerous and dark concrete jungle. Yet in some way they are both alienated from the larger world of wine and art as each has taken an unconventional path to fame.
Nicola already has an uphill battle with its Madrevite wines, which feature three different bottlings of the Gamay del Trasimeno red grape, when it comes to reaching wine drinkers in the United States. But his battle is even more complicated because the grape variety is actually part of the Garnacha (aka Grenache) family which is said to have traveled from Spain to Trasimeno in the 17th century. His grandfather, and many other past generations, have always called him Gamay del Trasimeno and although this makes the history of the sale of his wines much more convoluted, it is important for him to respect the past while bringing a playful and modern approach to express the spirit of these wines.
Basquiat dared the people of high society to look at the injustices of the marginalized people who struggled around them and he challenged stereotypes by showing the nobility of these individuals who were generally belittled. But the way he expressed his observations and comments on such injustices made him special, as the vivid colors and overall raw quality of his work evoked visceral feelings while creating a playful feeling that prevented the viewer from being alienated by the jugement. David Bowie has spoken of the value of such paintings as the ones Basquiat created when he was in a 1996 film about Basquiat.
And Nicola wants those who are bold enough, who dare, to open up to the experience of his Madrevite “C’osa” wine, although the wine does not resemble the traditional Italian red wine one would expect. But if Basquiat knew how to open the hearts of the elite of the art world to the nobility that surrounded them on a daily basis among the invisible ones who served them, Nicola could show the world that his wines have as much Italian nobility as those who are highlighted. on the fine wine lists of some of the best Italian restaurants in New York…but never forgetting to keep it fun, keep it playful, and always make it a wine for the people.
Madrevite is an organic producer that uses indigenous yeasts in its ferments:
2020 Madrevite “‘Elvè”, Trasimeno DOC, Umbria, Italy: 100% Grechetto which is placed in cryomaceration for 24 hours as it protects the color, aromas and fruit. It is a “classic” white wine for the elderly of Umbria, as Nicola describes it, because Grechetto has long been considered one of the most important white grape varieties of the region. A subtle nose with nectarine and peach flavors on the palate and lively acidity.
2020 Madrevite “Il Reminore”, Umbria Bianco IGT, Umbria, Italy: 100% Trebbiano Spoletino which also uses cryomaceration for 36-48 hours. Nicola says this white grape has become very popular with young locals over the past decade because it contains more aromatics than Grechetto. Floral nose with a fun salinity for this wine and a more textured component with intense minerality on the finish.
The following wines are three different expressions of Gamay del Trasimeno:
2021 Madrevite “La Bisbetica” Rosé, Umbria Rosato IGT, Umbria, Italy: 100% Gamay del Trasimeno (Grenache). Orange color with pink highlights that has a nose of fresh raspberry and cherries with the quality of crisp fruit on the palate with hints of lilac intermixed.
2020 Madrevite “Opra”, Trasimeno DOC, Umbria, Italy: 100% Gamay del Trasimeno (Grenache). On the nose, dry herbs like rosemary with layers of plum tart and blueberry jam with a touch of dusty earthiness that has good structure that enhances the richness of the wine.
2019 Madrevite “C’osa”, Gamay del Trasimeno Riserva, Trasimeno DOC, Umbria, Italy: 100% Gamay del Trasimeno (Grenache) which was picked 25 days later than “Opra” and you would think it would be fruitier but This was not the case. t because there was just more of a sense of concentrated elegance. Rose petal, immaculate red fruits, black pepper, fierce minerality on the nose, fine tannins on the palate and an overall balance of intense concentration of complex flavors with finesse. A surprisingly elegant wine, especially considering it’s for those who dare – but perhaps, in this case, it’s for those who dare to have their preconceptions challenged.