And here we are at last! The Giulio Gambelli Prize, promoted by IGP and ASET (the Associazione Stampa Enogastroagroalimentare Toscana) has been awarded today.
The prize was established to support young winemakers whose ideas reflect those of Giulio Gambelli: Respect and appreciation of the varietal, the terroir, vintage variations, perfect cleanliness, and perfect technique. Maximum respect for the raw materials, and wines that clearly express their varietals and terroirs.
This prize immediately became a powerful reflector to point towards a world that doesn’t always manage to emerge and find space. Indeed, young winemakers don’t always succeed in expressing their talents and find wineries willing to bet upon them.
What I can say, having spoken with many of the 19 young winemakers selected for the final tasting have ideas, strength, and creativity in spades. What we can say after having tasted their wines (74 in all, divided among sparkling wines, whites, rosés and reds) from much of the country (Piemonte, Lombardia, Trentino Alto Adige, Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Marche, Abruzzo, Puglia, Basilicata, Sardegna e Sicilia) is that most of thm understand the thoughts of the great Giulio Gambelli very well.
Indeed, the wines presented are perfectly in line with the requirements for the prize, and this made the tasting commission’s task quite difficult.
When the scores were all tallied, the winner of the first Giulio Gambelli prize was the Piemontese winemaker Fabrizio Torchio, who obtained his degree from the University of Torino, and is now the director of the Gruppo Ricerche Avanzate Per l’Enologia (Grape), which carries out advanced research on grapes and wine. His are the 1500 Euros of the prize, offered by wineries that have always supported Giulio Gambelli, and our complements.
In the moment of giving the award to Fabrizio we would also like to list those who “competed” with him down to the wire, presenting wines that excelled in terms of both quality interpretative flair. In random order: Claudia Galterio, Matteo Bertè, Mattia Filippi, Luca Faccenda, Erik Dogliotti, Fabio Rossi, Elena Fucci, Paula Cook,Sieghard Vaja, Rocco Vallorani, Arianna Occhipinti, Marta Rinaldi, Dino Dini Angelo Molisani, Francesco Bordini, Gabiele Gadenz, Davide Fasolini e Cristiano Garella.
All of them can if they want try again next year.
It’s important to underline that Fabrizio isn’t the heir of Giulio Gambelli’s thought. Giulio didn’t have an heir apparent when he was alive, and the idea that one might emerge more than a year after his death is doubtful. What we can say is that the seeds of his philosophy have taken root, and hope they will always be fruitful.
A last thought: It took a person like Giulio Gambelli, the grand old man of Tuscan winemaking to shine a light on young, good winemakers. And this makes perfect sense; Giulio always did believe in young winemakers, and much of the best of the current Italian winemaking panorama owes a great deal to this shy, timid genius, who was blessed with an astounding ability to understand the language of grapes and wine, and in particular of the Sangiovese he loved so much.