“Barolo Boys” film review from Dr. Vino

Barolo in the spotlight: Barolo Boys and Barolo & Barbaresco

barolo_boys
Some of the protagonists of “Barolo Boys” (L to R): Elio Altare, Domenico Clerico, Chiara Boschis, Marco de Grazia.

In 1983, a chainsaw echoed across the hills of the Barolo region. No humans were harmed in this Barolo massacre: Elio Altare took a chainsaw into the cellar of his family’s winery and cut up the large botti, or large wooden casks, often leaky and fetid, that his father used. He brought in barriques, the small wooden barrels more frequently seen at that time in Burgundy or Bordeaux. His father subsequently disinherited him.

This dramatic rupture with the past is captured in the pages of Barolo and Barbaresco, the essential and timely new book by Kerin O’Keefe. The chainsaw-wielding is also depicted on-screen in the new Italian documentary about the region, Barolo Boys.

The movie, screened for the first time in New York City on Monday, portrays the events of Altare and others as they ushered in a “revolution” to Barolo’s winemaking. A “war” broke out between the “modernists” and the “traditionalists.” This young Turks threw out the old casks, brought in barriques, but also started green harvesting in the vineyard, the process of dropping bunches of grapes to concentrate flavor in the remaining ones. The resulting wines were darker and denser but also flashier, fruitier with more obvious polish and immediate appeal than pure charm of nebbiolo, which is notorious for needing decades in the cellar to coax out.

If wanting to make wines more hygienically was a big push–Altare’s daughter talks in the film about how farm animals and a leaky oil-furnace shared the cellars with the wines–these wines also needed the pull of a commercial outlet. And the film makes clear this was the United States, where critics and consumers lavished praise on the new style and opened their pocketbooks for the wines imported by Marco de Grazia, among others.

While the stylistic clash was heated for a while, it has largely been relegated to the compost pile of history: many of the “modernists” now use larger formats than just barriques, incorporating both new and used barrels, while some of the “traditionalists” do things such as green harvesting, even if they remain steadfast in their use of botti or other larger format vessels for aging. In a discussion after the screening, the protagonists present agreed that the conflict was good for getting increasing interest in the area’s wines.

Elio Altare cast the rift in a different way in comments after the screening, “There are two types of wine: good and bad.” There was an outburst of applause in the room. He continued, “It’s personal taste. I must find the people in the world who drink wine with my taste. I don’t make wine for everybody: I make wine for my taste!” This slightly defiant tone paled in comparison to Joe Bastianich, the film’s narrator, whose last words are “the fight goes on.” The director said he took some liberties with that line and was intended to reprise the “journey” that he invited viewers on in the film’s opening segment.

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Ancora una recensione di Barolo Boys

E con i primi caldi non spuntano certo i funghi, ma le recensioni di Barolo Boys / the movie quelle sì. Eccone una pubblicata da MiVini, che contiene un’interessante citazione di Angelo Gaja: “”Non è che i produttori del Piemonte siano chiusi all’innovazione, assai più che in altre regioni molti di loro avvertono la forte necessità di integrarla con la tradizione procedendo per prove, passo dopo passo, senza strappo, con prudenza; mentre altri che non sentono questa necessità continuano a produrre i vini che amano di più”. “

dal sito MiVini

Barolo Boys: storia di una rivoluzione 

Nel bel mezzo dei primi veri giorni d’estate ci siamo imbattuti in un interessante documentario del 2014 diretto da Paolo Casalis e Tiziano Gaia, che racconta la fantastica storia di un gruppo di giovani produttori che a cavallo fra gli anni ’80 e ’90, attraverso scelte ritenute rivoluzionarie e tanta voglia di emergere, contribuirono a fare grande il Barolo e le Langhe rendendo vino e territorio attraenti agli occhi del mondo intero.
È la storia di Elio Altare e altri amici produttori che intrapresero nuove strade per cercare una sorta di ribalta dopo le frustrazioni derivanti dalle condizioni economiche e dalle incomprensioni con i padri padroni.
La “revolution” dei Barolo Boys passa senza alcun dubbio da importanti innovazioni tecniche ed enologiche, ma anche da nuove strategie in campo di marketing e nel settore commerciale, queste ultime guidate con abilità e astuzia da Marco de Grazia, importatore americano che permise ai giovani produttori di affermarsi in maniera decisiva negli Stati Uniti, ottenendo grande considerazione e smisurato affetto.
Per questi giovani pionieri la barrique divenne quasi una religione, cosa che non tutti digerirono, soprattutto alcuni storici produttori fedeli da sempre alle antiche tradizione della Langa.
Da una parte Elio Altare con le posizioni dei Barolo Boys, dall’altra la fermezza di Bartolo Mascarello, icona del Barolo e fermo contestatore della barrique. Il primo importatore di metodologie studiate e recepite nel viaggio in Borgogna del 1976, il secondo legato ai valori della tradizione in chiave futura.
Ancora oggi la crescita delle Langhe in particolare del Barolo è una contesa ideologica tra modernisti e tradizionalisti che scalda gli animi di produttori, critica, importatori, wine lovers, ecc…
Uno sguardo attento su questo intricato scenario ci piace ritrovarlo nelle parole di Angelo Gaja riportate nel volume “Storie di vino e cucina” edito da Mondadori, nel quale parla così dei suoi corregionali: “Non è che i produttori del Piemonte siano chiusi all’innovazione, assai più che in altre regioni molti di loro avvertono la forte necessità di integrarla con la tradizione procedendo per prove, passo dopo passo, senza strappo, con prudenza; mentre altri che non sentono questa necessità continuano a produrre i vini che amano di più”.
Insomma un documentario consigliato a tutti i curiosi del mondo del vino, agli innamorati degli straordinari panorami delle Langhe e dei suoi principali prodotti.
Al termine della proiezione sarebbe stato il caso di bere un buona annata di Barolo firmato dai tradizionalisti ed una dai modernisti, anzi magari due per tipo. Ci sarà tempo e modo di farlo, sapremo rendervene conto, intanto auguriamo buon visione a chi sceglierà di gustarsi questa pellicola.
Info: è possibile vedere il film in streaming (http://www.baroloboysthemovie.com) o scaricarlo direttamnte da Itunes, come abbiamo fatto noi.

 

Cinema Paradiso: A selection of films from CineFesta Italia

BAROLO BOYS: THE STORY OF A REVOLUTION

Documentary, not rated, 64 minutes, in English and Italian with subtitles, 2 p.m. Saturday, June 4, Jean Cocteau Cinema, 3 chiles

What is identity? asks this 2014 film about one of the great wine success stories of the last century. Barolo wine took the international wine stage by storm in the 1980s and ’90s. This affectionately told story from directors Paolo Casalis and Tiziano Gaia focuses on the “Barolo boys,” a handful of Nebbiolo grape-growers who set off a wave of technical innovations in winemaking techniques starting in the 1970s. Filmed in the lush Langhe region, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and featuring intermittent visits by a brass band, which marches up and down the vineyards trumpeting the enormous pride of these winemakers, the film is irreverent and breezy in classic Italian fashion, with a somewhat meandering narrative that sometimes falters. Still, passion and dedication shine through in interviews with vintners like Elio Altare, an iconoclast who had the vision to deviate from established methods and thus kicked off a revolution in winemaking. As one subject in the film puts it, “We had the power to change things, which is the best thing you can have in life.” — M.B.

How a tiny Italian village revolutionised the world of wine

from DocSupper.com

Barolo is delightful little medieval hamlet in Piedmont’s beautiful Langhe wine region in the North West of Italy. It’s also the site of one of the most remarkable food revolutions of the 21st Century.

In the 1980s, Barolo wines weren’t recognized internationally. The wines were known to age beautifully, but couldn’t be enjoyed in their youth as the tannins were so strong. Wine makers lacked capital to buy tractors and other critical tools, and winemaking techniques weren’t up to modern standards of cleanliness as a result.

A group of local wine makers decided a revolution was needed.

This group became known as the ‘Barolo boys’, completely transforming the world of Barolo wine and winemaking more broadly. Their story is a story of the clash between tradition and modern innovation.

Elio Altare

Revolutions start when bellies are empty- Elio Altare (Wine and Revolution Maker)

The Barolo Boys

Barolo Boys the documentary explores this revolution, the positives and the negatives. It also tells the personal story behind the scenes – a tale of friendship and spirit of the people behind the transformation and the resulting success.

Join DOC:Supper on the 28th of April (from 7.30 pm) to watch Barolo Boys @ The Proud Archivist in Haggerston.

Get your ticket here and secure your seat.

Barolo boys or, simply, boys

from fabiodellamarta.com

I don’t wont to take part in this struggle because, you’ve to know, it’s a struggle between two sides. When I was a child, I was with the cow boys against Sioux, I was with Mickey Mouse against the Beagle Boys. Now that I’m older, just a little bit, probably I’ll have a chance to understand that borders are often smooth and made to be broken.

I don’t wont to take part in this struggle, I don’t really know if barolo history has been made by the “olds” with the big barrel or by the “youngs” with the barrique, by the fathers of the “big quantity” or by the “sons” who cut the grapes and leave them fall on the ground. Probably history, as history itself would be able to explain, take origin from a synthesis…and a synhtesis is always full of pain.

Neverthless I can’t stop to be fascinated, I can say this without any kind of fear, by Elio Altare’s words. I can’t stop to be fascinated by that age, that strain, that “affronto” as he defined it in the movie. And I don’t absolutely care if his barolo is better than his father’s one, or not. What is important for me is wine, that once more tells us about life, about times, about evolution. Our evolution.

So Barolo Boys simply were what we all were one time ago. What we were in that wonderful and painful moment when we had to decide to leave our house our nest and to fly, to live. When we had do decide what to do and what to be.

Because, as I often said to myself, to leave and to change, doesn’t not mean to abandon or to repudiate. And I think there are only two ways to die: not moving or moving without having inside what others before us teached to us.

So, probably, before “Barolo Boys” they were, simply, boys.

Barolo Boys/ Film review from Fabien Lainé (Vin Deling, France)

Barolo Boys – The Story of a Revolution

read original article: http://vindeling.com/2014/09/14/barolo-boys-story-revolution/

Barolo Boys is a documentary film telling the story of the Langhe region, the North Western region of Italy, and its famous “Boys”.

I had a great opportunity to watch in in Premiere during a special screening.

A great movie for wine enthusiasts to introduce people to the Barolo wines, history of a major part of Piedmonte and its winemaking.

A film by Paolo Casalis and Tiziano Gaia
64′ / ITA / ENG
Produced by Stuffilm Creativeye

The film tells the fascinating story of Barolo wine and how it exploded as a world phenomenon.

Now one of the most famous red wines in the world, 30 years ago Barolo was unknown even in its own production region, the beautiful Langhe (just nominated UNESCO World Heritage Site), in northwestern Italy.

Barolo’s current success is mainly due to the courage and initiative of a group of small-scale wine producers, the so-called Barolo Boys.

In the optimistic Eighties, these winemakers upset the quiet world of the Piedmontese countryside and brought about a revolution in Italian wine, igniting a fierce controversy between different generations and different ways of thinking.

After almost 30 years, what is left of that experience? As one of the film’s characters asks, what revolution has ever been successful?

Barolo Boys. The Story of a Revolution traces the short but intense trajectory of a group of producers who indelibly changed the world of wine.

For the first time Joe Bastianich, as narrator voice, is telling the story of a group of wine producers led by Elio Altare (including one girl), which in the 90’s set the agenda for the development of the modern Barolo. Among the people who appears and takes part in the film is Carlo Petrini, Oscar Farinetti, Joe Bastianich, Elio Altare, Chiara Boschis, Marc de Grazia, Giorgio Rivetti, Roberto Voerzio, Lorenzo Accomasso, Silvia Altare, Beppe Caviola, Alessandro and Bruno Ceretto, Giampiero Cereda, Giancarlo Gariglio, David Berry Green, Bartolo Mascarello, Marta and Beppe Rinaldi, Davide Rosso and Maggiore Vacchetto.

A movie where producers unveil themselves, becoming through the years much wiser and experienced, quoting so many good life lessons, but sometimes becoming as stubborn as their ancestors they were so critic about. Confined in their wellness zone.

Through the story of the Barolo Boys, a group of winemakers quite unknown in the 80s, were dreaming of change and shifted the way of producing Barolo wines. And with hard times, convictions brought Barolo wine to an undisputed star level in the 90s. They brought enormous changes to the Langhe. some define it as the Langhe “miracle”.

Between magnificent new shootage and videos archives. Like a time machine.

Many questions to be reflected in the movie from various view points, between history and respect.

Was that a revolution, a philosophy or a passing trend? Modernists Vs Traditionalists? And many more…

The Barolo Boys are doing a portrait of themselves but also their ancestors and Italian people. Because you realize, same as today in the  Italian wine world they are all divided, each consortium working separately very few  producers walk hand in hand. Thinking just because they make wine they will sell it. But today it does not work like that, so many people make good wine, in different range and quality. But what really makes your wines better than the ones from your neighbor? Yes you need to do proper marketing, find a niche, create your market and collaborate with the right people who can help you thrive and communicate for you efficiently, and you need to be willing to invest for it.

Elio Altare: “I think all revolutions started on empty bellies”.

Following the path of Elio Altare in 1983, describing the wines of the ancestors as tannic and harsh, that needed to wait 25 to 50 years before being drinkable. The poor living conditions and his father’s reluctance change things in the wine production. He remembers clearly when he took a chainsaw down into the cellar and destroyed large wine barrels. His father threw him Elio Altare out his home and taught he was crazy. Where he just came back in 1985 at his father’s death. Elio Altare was back from Burgundy for inspiration and experience. There he learned the importance of thinning the number of grape bunches and use small French barriques for storing wine in.

He still remembers when Barolo wines where not famous, not even known by the world, when Langhe wines where just consumed locally. Many questions were running around, “Why isn’t people drinking Barolo?” because it did not bring pleasure he says.

In 1969, people were still working with animals in the vineyards, he quotes “there was no tractions at that time, we were selling Barolo for 1500 lire / 0,7L so about 1$ a bottle, it was a frustration

Memories of the past, not often the most shiny ones.

When a great wine was produced it meant that nature had had better sense than the winemaker”.

Silvia Altare, one of the two Elio’s daughter, remembers and describe the winery in its past, “gasoline, chicken shit and wine making in the same area, that is why maybe it wasn’t so successful”.

Beppe Rinaldi remembers time when the wines were sold unbottled, except for Barolo. Quoting “I’m the fifth generation, a rot let’s say”. And qualify again the local people and producers state of mind, “ the local people never had a cooperative spirit, Langhetto sticks to his culture and history”.

Alessandro Bruno Ceretto, who was part of the beginning of the Barolo boys, portrays the Langhe people as difficult and gamblers, people who likes challenges. He says they love the risk.

Giampiero Cereda remembers a time when barrels were hidden with card boards from the ancients in the back of the winery, the eldest people just wanted old wood for their wines.

This “youth revolution” took hard work and time to settle, two months after the methanol scandal in 1986 shocked the wine world as a powerful hailstorm destroyed the best vineyards around Barolo and a tested industry was on its knees.

People was then at that time working as a team, to revamp and give rebirth to the Langhe, Barolo and its wines. They were trying different barrels, blends, they were experimenting, wanting to leave behind the poverty.

But with the incomprehension of the old people, Maggiore Vacchetto, an old vineyard worker says “I’m sorry to see these grapes on the ground, however they are in charge”

Giorgio Rivetti says “ We met as a group of friend every week”.

Chiara Boschis quotes “ There was this absurdity, that thinning out should be hidden from the others”.

Una bella escuerda.

Then in the 90’s, that they went to conquer the US like rock stars. It took much enthusiasm and courage. With Marco di Grazia, an American who grew up in Florence, Italian wine broker extraordinaire, has turned some of Italy’s finest winemakers into cult stars. He was part of the Barolo Boys adventure, and says “if you stay home, you could be the best winemaker in the world and nobody will know”.

Especially the American wine journalists became enthusiastic about the “modern” Barolo, which was much more concentrated in both color and taste than the traditional Barolo, more clean, more modern. Barolo became in terms of taste a fruit bomb with soft tannins.

They were like the “rebel boys”, the success that the young Barolo Boys achieved was not without a price. Although they overcame the crisis, the price has been high for many of them. Confronted to their families eldest and has a misunderstanding. Enhancing theInnovators VS Traditionalists, Rebelious VS Patriots

In 10 years more money came into the Langhe than in the whole previous century.

Economics mattered more and more so from low price, in the 90’s with 3 bicchieri you coulddoubled the price of your wine, it changed the economics of a winery.

Then 2000’s, came Parker and the 100 points awarding a few 100 point perfect scoring to some Piedmonte wines, maybe it went too far ?

Today, individual nature prevailed and so everyone tried to make their own path. Each got their own interpretations of Barolo identity. They all worked in their side. Time matters and maybe they became a bit what they were afraid, a bit like their ancestors maybe. This is the beginning of pressure

They are facing past, just as the “big traditionalists” overshadowed them, now they are overshadowing the young winemakers. Receiving some critics because they behave as their ancestors were.

So many things run around – A life lesson like movie, a bit of a roller coaster. A great journey, filled of confessions and reflexions.

“All generations have this incredible “will” when instead you have to go back to the origin of things. “

“Tradition is a successful innovation.”

“Being conceited about your own generation is a mistake.”

“You have to go slowly to change the world.”

“Without the talented Barolo Boys, the Langhe would have been just screwing around.”

“It seems a bit rash to claim that the history of Barolo was written by the modernists.”

“I believe that in life easy things are boring.”

“Great wines are always good not only after 20 years, as you get married and you want & will enjoy the marriage, you don’t have to wait 30 years.”

“In my opinion modern Barolo doesn’t exist.”

“The crucial element is the evolution of taste.”

Were they visionaries?

 To know and discover more you can order athttp://www.baroloboysthemovie.com/index_eng.html#book

vingardeniklagshamn@telia.com

INDIANI E COWBOYS

cowboys-and-indians

Scriveva Andrea Scanzi del mio precedente film Langhe Doc (2011)

Langhe Doc è un piccolo esempio – 52 minuti – di arte della sopravvivenza eretica. Maria Teresa Mascarello racconta di non voler essere soltanto la copia del padre, cosa che infatti non è, poi però parla come lui. Le stesse frasi, la stessa filosofia. Quella che, nei terribili anni Novanta, quando i cosiddetti Barolo Boys si convinsero che era possibile fare grandi rossi abusando di barrique e altri demoni, avevano colpevolmente relegato Bartolo Mascarello al ruolo di fossile. Residuato bellico di un mondo poco redditizio e superato. Il tempo era dalla sua parte, come nelle canzoni lontante di Bob Dylan, ma nel frattempo Bartolo non c’è più e la dialettica manichea tra tradizionalisti e modernisti resta stringente.
Casalis, come Nossiter, tifa per gli indiani e non certo per la grinta posticcia degli epigoni di John Wayne. Gli indiani nativi d’America vivono in riserva. Gli indiani nativi di Langa non paiono meno all’angolo, poco battuti dal turismo e svantaggiati da produzioni esigue, ma resistono. Alla loro maniera: quella dei padri, quella dei nonni…

Se la contrapposizione è questa, quella tra indiani e cowboys (e alcune recenti polemiche su Barolo Boys lo dimostrano bene) allora mi piace azzardare un paragone tra i miei due film sulle Langhe e il vino e opere di registi ben più famosi di me, capaci di raccontare la stessa storia da due punti di vista, diametralmente opposti.
Come l’Arthur Penn di film sui cowboys e di Piccolo Grande Uomo, o come il Clint Estwood di Letters form Iwo Jimae Flags of our Fathers, due film per raccontare la battaglia di Iwo Jima dal punto di vista degli americani e da quello dei giapponesi.
Due “schieramenti” contrapposti, due punti di vista diametralmenti opposti ma un’unica Storia, raccontata (è il mio augurio e la mia promessa) con onestà intellettuale, senza glorificazioni, revisionismi, falsi storici.
Ok? ;)
Paolo