“The true ambassadors of Italian wine around the world are the Italian chefs; they’re the ones who, abroad, introduce you to its various realms, not the sommeliers.” Without a doubt, Gianni Gagliardo, the owner and spirit of the homonymous winery in La Morra, has become one of the world protagonists of Piedmont wine and, especially, of Barolo. The Gagliardo family, now dedicated to wine for five generations, has a strong focus on the cultivation of Nebbiolo red grapes, even if Gianni distinguished himself in the seventies for the valorization of a white variety, the Favorita of Roero. Gianni was among of the first associates of the GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs) Forum and in 2005 he was the generous host of one of the events of the General Meeting held in Piedmont. Many of the participants still remember the musical band that welcomed them at their arrival in La Morra and the fantastic tasting of Piedmont products that followed. Therefore, Gianni has decided to celebrate this year’s tenth anniversary of the founding of the Group in a truly special way. “All our production of double magnum of Barolo Serre of the 2006 harvest will be reserved and dedicated to the occasion and the associates of the GVCI,” explains Gianni and adds that; “it will carry a particular back label with personalised dedication and numeration.” 120 pieces are designated to the celebration, now and in the future, of the tenth anniversary of the group, a group that has no precedent in the history of Italian oenogastronomy and particularly in its history abroad. Gianni Gagliardo is also one of the partners of the Italian Cuisine World Summit where the 10th anniversary was celebrated. His wines (Barolo Preve Riserva 2004 and Barolo Chinato) were part of the gala dinner and were, among other things, presented at the Industry Workshop and the Late Night Wine Tasting held at H-One Restaurant.
For more info and to order the GVCI 10th anniversary celebrative Barolo Serre 2006 Gianni Gagliardo write to Gianni Gagliardo.
The history of Gianni’s proud membership in the itchefs-GVCI network and the philosophy behind his wines emerges from this interview by Rosario Scarpato.
Gianni, how did you come across the GVCI?
It was the second time that I was arriving in Asia, in Bangkok, at the beginning of this decade. My distributor took me to Gianni Favro’s restaurant (Gianni’s). We were talking when Gianni asked me if I’d like to eat a plate of pasta with scampi. I was drooling with desire and so I answered “yes,” but my distributor said that we should be getting along to other appointments. I made a glum face to Gianni to get my disappointment across to him. In fact, I went back to his restaurant, a bit under cover, and tried the scampi, they were delicious! Our friendship began and he introduced me to his friends and had me join the Group.
What effect had on you coming into contact with the reality of this Group?
I have become better acquainted with the world of Italian cuisine abroad, especially in Asia. I have become aware that the quality of the Italian restaurants in the countries of that continent, and that they have no equals, not even in countries such as Germany where historically and in term of quantity there is a much more noticeable presence of Italian cooking. Italian chefs and restaurants in Asia travel, they inform themselves, they’re prepared. I became so involved with the GVCI associates that I decide to have guest chefs of the group at my Asta del Barolo (Barolo Auction), which is still the most important event of its kind dedicated to a single Italian wine.
What’s the clearest sensation that you still have from these encounters?
Italian chefs abroad, I repeat, are the best ambassadors of Italian wine. In general, they love what they do, they’re competent and they know that they must fight to become successful. Maybe also because of this, because of their own particular personalities, they’re motivated to help and support the small wine producers such as me.
Well then, your wine; what’s the secret of the success of your winery?
Behind a good wine there’s always good land, a man and his family. I’m the one who’s responsible, but the wine we make is the fruit of my sons’ work, too. Stefano’s, who busies himself with the oenological part, Alberto’s, who tends to the vineyards, and soon it’ll be Paolo’s, who a few months ago started to get to know and become part of the commercial structure.
Your Barolo Serre 2006 is about to become one of the souvenirs of the tenth anniversary of GVCI; what are its characteristics?
It’s a wine that has a great advantage: it goes well with a wide range of food. Let’s say that with this wine we’ve attempted to get Barolo down from its pedestal. It can accompany red meat but also pasta, even a pizza. That’s why it’s particularly appreciated on the Asian markets. His versatility does not mean at all that it’s not a great wine. In the international classifications of the last ten years, it’s received between 89 and 91 points on average.
Will we be able to uncork the Double Magnum Serre 2006 on the 20th anniversary of the GVCI?
Without a problem, because its large format facilitates its conservation.
Gianni Gagliardo, with the grapes of his thirteen vineyards, located in the Roero and in the area of Barolo, produces two other Baroli, always with an assemblage of grapes: Cannubi (production limited to 1200 bottles) and Preve Riserva (with grapes prevalently from Serralunga and a small amount from La Morra). In recent weeks, the Gagliardo family opened a winebar restaurant inside its winery: La Vineria del Barolo – Star bene a tavola.