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Gambero Rosso 2001 on Mario Pesce: “For Mario, a great wine never drinks well when young.”

Especially when you talk to people who have worked in Italian wine for 20+ years and you ask them about Scarpa, the first thing they’ll tell you — invariably — is that the winery’s northern star Mario Pesce was an extraordinary winemaker, a visionary of his times, and an exacting gourmet and epicure.

Pesce wasn’t the winery’s founder. But he was the man who elevated the estate to greatness, especially in the 1960s and 1970s when few could rival the esteem and admiration he admired among his peers (including top Piedmontese winemakers at the time).

He died in 2004 but his legacy still shapes the winery today.

I recently dug through some old copies of the Gambero Rosso Guide to the Wines of Italy trying to find out more about Pesce and how he was perceived by his peers. I found these three salient quotes. They all come from editions of the guide when Carlo Petrini, the acclaimed essayist, authentic and sustainable foodways advocate, and founder of the Slow Food movement, was still the guide’s co-editor.

Each of the quotes below is remarkable on its own. And I plan to devote a post to each one. But to get this series started, I’m presenting them to you here. I’ll address each one starting later this week (unless something pressing comes up).

In the meantime, food for thought…

Wine fads, fashions and even sea changes have never altered Mario Pesce’s philosophy. For Mario, a great wine never drinks well when young.

(Gambero Rosso Guide to the Wines of Italy 2001)

Mario Pesce is a man of another age — and this is not just idle rhetoric; we can see it in his consideration for his colleagues, and in his professional rigor; he shares the credit for Scarpa’s success with his nephew, Carlo Castino.

(Gambero Rosso Guide to the Wines of Italy 1999)

Mario Pesce’s guiding principles are a rigid respect for tradition, an exclusive dedication to making wines that reflect the characteristics of their vineyards of origin, and a decision to concentrate exclusively on quality. 

(Gambero Rosso Guide to the Wines of Italy 1998)

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