IDTT Wine 482: Lorenzo Accomasso and Barolo from the War Until Now
Lorenzo Accomasso is a vintner in the La Morra area of Italy's Piemonte region. He has been releasing Barolo and other wines under the Accomasso label for several decades.
Lorenzo discusses the increased interest in Barolo and in the wines of the Piemonte that has occurred over the last couple of decades, as well as the increased planting of vineyards in La Morra. Lorenzo talks about helping his parents at the winery in the post-World War II years. He contrasts the current situation for the wines with the period of the 1960s, when people were leaving the countryside to find jobs in factories. He also recalls the difficult growing conditions of the 1970s, and the changes in attitude towards topics like green harvesting and fruit sorting that have occurred over time.
Lorenzo is clear about his winemaking stance as a Traditional producer, and touches on some of the techniques that separate his winemaking from those who operate in a Modern style. He talks about the changes in popularity for Modern and Traditional wines from the Piemonte, and how those categories have been perceived in the market over time. He also touches on the difficulty of changing one's winemaking style once it has been set. Vineyard work is discussed, and Lorenzo makes a distinction between his different Barolo vineyards (Rocche, Rocchette, and Le Mie Vigne). He contrasts the different attributes of those vineyard sites.
Vintage evaluations are given for many years, stretching back to the 1970s. Lorenzo gives his frank opinions of many vintages, and at times gives his thoughts on ageability as well. Then he discusses some of the difficulties he has experienced when making wines from the Dolcetto grape variety, in contrast to Nebbiolo.
This is a rare opportunity to hear from a Piemonte vintner who lived through World War II, and with that in mind, this episode begins with a history of Italy and of the Piemonte in the later years of that war and after. That was a time when fighting between Fascists and Partisans took a huge human toll, with many deaths. The capsule history then transitions into a discussion of the changes the Piemonte experienced in the second half of the 20th century, as emigration and industrialization changed the environment for wine production. Italian cultural commentators Mario Soldati and Luigi Veronelli are also talked about, as are the changes in winemaking that increasingly began to take hold in the late 1970s and into the 2000s. Those changes gave rise to different winemaking camps in the Piemonte, which are discussed. Eventually the market for the Piemonte wines begins to change, and at the same time there arrives a belated realization that climate change has altered the realities for vine growing in the Piemonte.
This episode also features commentary from:
Martina Barosio, formerly of Scarpa
Nicoletta Bocca, San Fereolo
Beppe Colla (translated by Federica Colla), the ex-owner of Prunotto
Luca Currado, Vietti
Umberto Fracassi Ratti Mentone, Umberto Fracassi
Angelo Gaja, Gaja
Gaia Gaja, Gaja
Maria Teresa Mascarello, Cantina Bartolo Mascarello
Danilo Nada, Nada Fiorenzo
Giacomo Oddero (translated by Isabella Oddero), Poderi Oddero
Federico Scarzello, Scarzello
Aldo Vaira (translated by Giuseppe Vaira), G.D. Vajra
Aldo Vacca, Produttori del Barbaresco
Michael Garner, co-author of Barolo: Tar and Roses
Victor Hazan, author of Italian Wine
Thank You to...
Robert Lateiner and Gregory Dal Piaz for the use of the recording of Lorenzo Accomasso
Carlotta Rinaldi and Giuseppe Vaira for their translation work
Chris Thile for voiceover
Bodhisattwa for the whistling of "Bella Ciao"