Q&A: Winemaker Dario Faccin Talks Italian Wines, Younger Drinkers

Recently I attended a winetasting for Tenuta Carobbio, which cultivates 123 acres between Florence and Siena. Speaking on behalf of the Italian producer was its winemaker, Dario Faccin. We dined at Ci Siamo, a warm, bustling Mediterranean spot in Manhattan West.

The vertical lineup included Carobbio’s Chianti Classico 2017, Chianti Reserva 2016, Chianti Classico 1997, Chianti Classico Reserva 1991 and the Chianti Classico 1985, bottled before I was born.

Drinking through this chianti vertical showcased how well the dark red fruits in this series hold up in aging. As the years reached decades and beyond, tertiary notes of dark chocolate pushed to the front and evolved into subtler layers of milk chocolate and almonds. This was particularly present in the ’85. Fruits faded here, surrendering to nutty chocolate flavors that take over in time.

Aging wine (or any alcohol) is like riding a rollercoaster. Strap in, then begin your ascent up the lift hill. Similarly, flavor quality and complexity in wine can head higher with time. But be wary. Eventually you roll over the crest of that hill, and then plunge downwards. Alcohol gets better with time until it doesn’t. Bottles can break down in a hurry, with no turning back. Buy a case and drink through it gradually, over time. With the Carobbio chiantis, I would rank the lively ‘90s vintages above the noticeably fading ‘85.

As for winemaker Faccin, who arrived at Carobbio in 2013, I circled back later with questions. Below he talks about changing the makeup of the winery’s releases, along with his take on today’s pressing issue: How to get younger consumers into wine.

Beverage Dynamics: What led you to this winery?

Dario Faccin: What certainly guided me was the possibility of expressing my passion for this work, and knowing the potential of this fantastic area that Tenuta Carobbio is located.

BD: You said that you had infused Carobbio wines with your own personality? How so?

DF: The decision to vinify all the different wines in purity (previously the Classico was a blend). This idea starts from the desire to best express the peculiarities of the different vines, while respecting the final consumer.

Tenuta Carobbio.

BD: What did you hope to accomplish with the 2017 and 2016 vintages that we drank?

DF: The challenge with the Classico 2017 was to achieve the freshness, the pleasantness of the sip, and the olfactory intensity. In the Riserva 2016, the focus was the long persistence, the character, longevity and consolidated elegance. A great vintage comes from attention and patience that allow a wine to reveal the real character of Sangiovese.

BD: What did you enjoy most about those older-vintage wines?

DF: The acidity and freshness combined with a mineral evolution and olfactory complexity. Also, the great longevity.

BD: Why do wines from Carobbio age so well?

DF: We are in a unique territory for Sangiovese, that is called Conca d’oro, or ‘gold basin’, for a reason.

BD: How can we get younger consumers into wine?

DF: Simply by involving more wine lovers through social media. The ideal is to tell the stories that have made these places famous, to make our traditions known, making people understand the love and dedication behind a good glass of wine. In concrete terms, it would be nice if restaurants and wine bars had a wider selection of wines by the glass paired with pleasant dishes.

Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics. Reach him at kswartz@epgmediallc.com. Read his recent piece, What’s the Future of the Whisky Industry?


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