Three bottles: Antonio Galloni

Big fish landed.  That so many people are prepared to share their experiences says a lot about the wine trade and the people that work in it.  It’s a good place, as it should be.

As one critic in particular slowly steps back from the stage, the other players become more important.  Are they all looking for the lead role?  Or – and this is what I think is going to happen – are we going to have a team of tasters, a spread of opinion?  If the former then Antonio Galloni is a definite short-odds contender for the role; if the latter then one of the first names on the list.

There are a number of factors, or skills, needed to be a good wine critic.  The first is seemingly obvious: you need to be able to taste.  But just as important is the ability to engage the audience, to be understood.  To be positive.  And there is one gift that the very best have: humility.

Because what wine is all about is pleasure: it’s a good thing.  And it’s about sharing that pleasure.  It’s about positivity, it’s about enjoying life.  It’s positive.  Antonio’s notes make you want to drink a wine (if it’s good).  And this isn’t just commercial: it’s about engaging and wanting to share the pleasure with the audience.  It’s enthusiasm.  It’s not throwing big scores around to make a splash, nor is it putting every glass under the microscope.  Pleasure: not enough of it.  When you find it you want to share it.

I thank Mr Galloni for his answers.  For positive, accurate and engaging writing – and more – look at

What was the first wine/bottle that got you into the whole wine thing?

I wish I could regale you with a story of an impossibly rare wine, perhaps an iconic Burgundy from a famous grower, or a fine, aged First Growth, but my introduction to wine was far humbler than that. As a child I spent quite a bit of time visiting my paternal grandparents in Sicily. At every meal, my grandfather had a mug of white wine – purchased in bulk, as he had a deep distrust of wines in bottle(!) – with a peach in it. I learned two important lessons that have stayed with me to this day; 1) wine is first and foremost a food and not a luxury and 2) wine is an essential part of everyday life.

What was the first wine/bottle that took you closer to your maker?

Bartolo Mascarello’s 1982 Barolo, ordered off the list at a small restaurant in Mantova years ago. Back then some of the best cellars were to be found in restaurants in Italy’s mid-sized provincial cities. Mantova is a great food town, but boasts equally compelling art, history and culture. That 1982 Barolo was fabulous. Shortly thereafter, I visited with Bartolo Mascarello, the first Barolo producer I met in Barolo.

What was the best wine/bottle you have had this year? – OK, the past twelve months.

Well, I have been on a serious Champagne kick of late, so it could very well be the 1962 Dom Perignon Rosé, but I am also absolutely enamored with Chappellet’s 1969 Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the greatest wines made anywhere in the last fifty years.

Antonio: thank you again.