Achille Boroli, Between the Mountains and the Sea, L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui: 449, Jun. 2022.
SZ: During the tasting, you describe the way sunlight impacts the grape on one side of the hill or another, the process of fermentation and malolactic fermentation, aging in casks and in a bottle, and when you open the wine, how the taste changes over 10 or 20 minutes. These are phenomenological things that have to do with how we experience taste and the world around us.
We have to think about the wine as life. Wine starts to be a baby when it is in the barrel, and then you put it in the bottle, age the bottle, and try to bring it up to when it is ready to drink. Sometimes you say, it is too young.
Wine has an influence on where you are, how you feel, if are tired, if you are happy. It’s something that is very personal. I had a 2005 bottle of Barolo for a tasting. When I opened the bottle, a client said it was a bit closed, we need time. I said, this bottle is 17 years old. For 15 years, it has been closed in the bottle, and we want it to be ready in five seconds. Think about when you stay closed in a room, open the door, and light comes in. You need a moment to breathe again. And the wine is the same.
Wine needs oxygen. It’s not a dead object. It’s not immaterial. It’s an object that has a life; it’s made of a material, it’s a fruit, it’s coming from fermentation. You have a million living parts that have a function. We have to understand the best expression of the grape to have the best experience of the wine. It’s a complexity of many details to have the best expression of a bottle of wine, especially the Nebbiolo.
SZ: When I talk to people working in agriculture, there’s a real clash of culture between cosmopolitan people and folks who live in the countryside. But when you’re working in agriculture, your closeness to nature gives you a concern shared with city folks: care for the well-being of the planet that supports humanity, plants, and animals.
Of course, there is a difference between people who live in the city and people who live in the vineyard. We work every day under the sky, so we perfectly understand all of the terrible consequences of global warming, the dangers of bad weather and pollution. I was looking at the soil today and saw that there was absolutely no humidity in the fields, and this is a big problem for me. For a guy who works in an office in the city, they cannot realize that.
That can change your mind, looking at nature, because for me it’s a necessary part of my life. I survive selling wine that is a top level. When you have this in mind, you respect more and more the nature where you live. When you go in the mountains, when you go on the seaside, when you go see a garden, you respect all. I am very proud that I live with my feet in the grass in the vineyard. If I didn’t make wine and lived in the city, maybe I would have less respect for nature than others.