Diary of a wine writer 7: greetings

2019 turns into 2020

First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all who kindly responded to my announcement about The Wines of Piemonte.  I have been really encouraged by all who took the trouble to respond to my news. It is such an exciting project for me … and I hope for followers of this project. 

The dead days between Christmas and New Year are a good opportunity to reflect on the last three months and look briefly to the future.  After the excitement of securing the book contract, I have taken the first, somewhat uncertain steps. These have been partly organisational, setting up a project board using Trello software and deciding to use OneNote for note taking.  These are not the most gripping decisions, but being organised is going to be important. After all, I am researching and writing this book around a full-time job with the WSET.  Unlike most writers of wine books, I am not freelance.  As a result, I have an income but relatively little time.  

Much more fun has been buying a library of wines to get me started.  In effect, the money I used to spend on study wines as an MW student is now going into this collection.  A quick search on CellarTracker tells me I have bought 92 wines from the region since September.  These should be a good start!  Mercifully, I am covering Piemonte as a whole as 92 bottles of Barolo might lead towards rapid bankruptcy.  

Nebbiolo and Barbera 2016

Finally, I have spent a few weeks in the wonderful world of phenols, the large group of molecules that account for the colour and the tannin level of wines.  It is surprising that two of Piemonte’s most important red grape varieties are so dramatically different in this aspect. Nebbiolo is pale and quickly tends to garnet in colour, while it is magnificently tannic.  By contrast, Barbera is intensely ruby with a purple tint, but moderate tannins.  Both wines in the picture above are from the 2016 vintage and both were aged in neutral, large containers. The colour difference is simply due to the grape variety. To celebrate this difference, I have used this picture on my updated business card.   

Now for the future.  There is plenty of straightforward desk research to do before my first visit to Piemonte for my new project.  The new vintages of the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco are shown to buyers and journalists in the last week of January over two days in Alba.  Janet and I will go to that event (the anteprima) and then stay on for the rest of the week to visit wineries and the producers’ consortium.  Much more about that, nearer the time.  

It’s time to sign off now and to wish you all a very happy New Year when it comes.  
Thanks for your interest and support.  

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