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Sommelier Association (AIS). It covered the sensorial part of wine
studies (tasting, culture, communications and food pairings),
and even the technical part of winemaking, but a winemaker
is so different from a sommelier. The first makes and analyses
(chemically) the wine, the second is focused on communications,
sensorial analysis, pairings and presentation.
HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK FOR RICCADONNA?
I was working for Campari Group on some events in the Asti area
a few years ago, when I met the brand manager and we started
cooperating specifically on Riccadonna. I was trained in Milan and in
the winery, in Canale d’Alba, working together with the winemakers,
the marketing staff and, of course, with the producers.
YOU ARE NOW AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE BRAND, WHAT
DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I have a passion and a responsibility, because behind the final
product there are so many meanings and values! From the
territory to the producer, from the group to the single label, from
the history to the marketing, from the vineyard to the sensorial
path you have to lead through your guests.
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING TO CHANGE THE PUBLIC’S
MINDS ABOUT RICCADONNA AS MERELY A CHEAP OPTION,
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PLAN OF ATTACK?
Nice question, that’s the core of it all! I started telling the big but
hidden truth, in terms of who produces the wine, how they work, the
fact that a big part is done manually and the vineyard owners are all
families, they do hand harvest, hand cut, hand selection of the grapes
and so on. I talked a lot about the DOC and DOCG quality labels, about
the process of winemaking in our winery and about the people. I
showed the landscape and the territory, the ideal soil characteristics
and I tried to stimulate curiosity about all the production in order to
highlight the real quality. Often the product perception comes without
any real knowledge behind it, what I did was just to explain, as clear
as possible, the real work behind Riccadonna.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT TASTING METHOD FOR SPARKLING,
HOW DO YOU JUDGE THE QUALITY IN THE GLASS?
The clarity and the effervescence are the best way to evaluate a
sparkling, together with the nose sensations.
WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT OCCASION FOR DRINKING RICCADONNA?
Every occasion is a good one, if you’re passionate you will always
find a nice moment to enjoy a nice wine! Sometimes by yourself,
at home cooking or reading a book, sometimes with friends,
sometimes when you’re going out for an aperitivo or to a friend’s
home for dinner...every moment can be the right one!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE OF THE THREE
Hard to say, Prosecco is a nice companion for going out and
making Aperol Spritz, so for me is the more festive and easy, but
Asti is part of my roots, so I love it. It probably depends on the
mood of the moment.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH OTHER COUNTRIES’ USE OF THE
It’s nice trying to explain the differences there are among
different prosecco. Basically the most important one is
the Italian origin of the grape (glera), but it’s important to
explain how the grape interacts with different territories (and
winemakers, of course!). Don’t forget that wine is alive, because
it comes from living microorganisms and soil. Italy, especially
the Veneto area where Prosecco comes from, is indissolubly
connected to the grape. Everything outside of there gives a very
FOR WINE AND
PROSECCO BEST PAIRINGS:
Salmon on black bread, oysters (fresh), all
seafood and shellfish, vegetables, tramezzino
sandwiches, eggs and olives (Kalamata)
Why: Prosecco is a dry white sparkling wine,
it’s aroma is delicate and its taste is naturally
fruity and fragrant. Should be served at
a temperature of 6 – 8 degrees, it is the
perfect apertif with light meals and with
Somehow seafood, especially oysters,
has got a green, fresh and fruity (yes,
fruity!) flavour profile. The elegance
and delicacy of Prosecco help us to
highlight this characteristic.
ASTI BEST PAIRINGS:
Salame or soppressata (fresh, not
smoked, mild), aged cheese (aged
cheddar, pecorino, parmigiano) on
light crackers (yes seeds, pepper,
herbs but no butter or too much
oil, nor mayonnaise), soft pastries
(panettone, light cream pastries, dry
pastries, but not chocolate or heavy
Why: Asti is full of flavours but
delicate, it needs floral, fruity,
happy, intense but not too heavy
food. Probably savoury and aromatic,
but not too creamy. Fruits, especially peaches, are perfect,
fresh or cooked. It should be not a slap, but a soft touch,
to be appreciated. From our farmers it’s called “the pearl”,
because of its celestial aroma. It’s festive, of course, but I
prefer to have it in a more easy going way, to enjoy it fully.
Mario Soldati, a famous Italian writer, was crazy about
moscato and fresh salami. That was the ancient farmers’
way to have it, working in the fields, having a rest and pairing
it with what they had, like beautiful aged cheese or salami.
A simple meal, or pre-meal, because at that time they didn’t
have yet the aperitivo custom, that came many years after.
RUBY BEST PAIRINGS:
Prosciutto crudo (San Daniele or Parma type) on melon
slices, fresh fruits (peaches salad, ruby poured on and a leaf
of mint or sage) and berry pastries (raspberry, strawberry,
blueberry and soft, light cream into shorcrust pastry)
Why: The reasons are more or less the same as the Asti
pairings, but with different aromas and pairing needed.
We need food that can compensate, or highlight wine
characteristics, without overwhelming it. Ruby is fruity,
vibrantly fruity. A perfect aperitif, especially in summertime.
In wintertime we can even take the liberty of pairing it with
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