Who Daniel Thomases is...
Born in Stratford, Connecticut USA
Graduated in Arts at Hardvard University
Assistant to Luigi Veronelli from1985 to 2004
Curator of the Italian wine guide, I Vini di Veronelli (1993-2009), by Veronelli Editore
Corrispondent in Italy for the Wine Spectator (1990-1996), the Internazional Wine Cellar (1999-2001), and the Wine Advocate (2003-2006)
In charge of the Italian words for the Oxford Companion to Wine (Oxford University Press, 1994)
Curator of the chapter on Italian wines for the Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book (2001-2008)
Collaborator of Il Sole 24 Ore (2004-2009)
Curator of the guides Italy’s Finest Wines, Wines & Hospitality and Wines of Tuscany for Tusca Edizioni
About the history of Italian wine and the best wines of Italy, Daniel Thomases wrote:
To write the chronicle of events which occurred on a peninsula-wide basis, which involved a very large number of men and women living from the Alps to islands, properties ranging from the minuscule to estates which sprawled across hundreds of acres, thousands of the most disparate situations and circumstances, is no easy task. But the major lines of development are now clear and deserve a brief delineation, even if a description of this brevity can obviously not do justice to the richness of the phenomenon.
The history of italian wine has gone through various revolutions.
The first, from which everything came into being was in the 70's, could be defined as a quiet revolution in the beginning and one which began almost stealthily, without clamor, and with only a few discerning witnesses to note what was occurring. But, as the proverb goes, still waters run deep, and, by a steady process of accumulation, the number of significant wines began to grow, began to distinguish first entire zones, then entire regions. And, at that point, the new quality level, of both the red and white wines, the sheer number of interesting, characterful, and important wines became an open secret, and the world's wine press, which had previously devoted only cursory time and attention to Italy, began to devote lavish spreads to Italian wine and began - with increasing frequency - to compare them to the most distinguished and famous bottles of the other major wine-producing zones of the world. In the space of less than a generation, in short, a Copernican revolution in the perception of Italian wine has been accomplished.
Quality has called for corageous decisions, in every region: a return to the basic principles of serious viticulture and oenology, the understanding that fine wine needs to be created step by step, with complete commitment during every phase of operations. Yields in the vineyard were cut, the harvest itself became selective, with unripe and unhealthy bunches discarded and a further selection then took place in the cellar. These initial phases of experimentation and improvement were directed, to the largest extent, towards the country's red wines. But a similar revolution in the style and technique of Italian white wines was also launched in the 1970's. The old practice of fermenting white grapes on their skins, an attempt to add character which unfortunately led to wines of a certain heaviness and easy oxidability, was discarded. Musts began to be settled in order to ferment only the finest, cleanest part of their juice, fermenting temperatures began to be controlled in order to maintain freshness and aroma, and the wines themselves acquired a cleanness, precision, and varietal impact which were entirely new.
The 1990's have consolidated this advance and improved upon it: no longer satisfied with mere freshness, the wines have put on weight and length, have become richer and ampler, and continue to maintain their specific personality and character even with the frequent - if not universal - practice of aging in oak.
The other revolution arrived with the new technologies which have helped and continue to do so, in the creative process of the winemakers, who thanks to them experiment, improve, and refine every phase of the production process.
By now it seems that virtually no part of Italy has not been touched by the new quality revolution, by an improvement in standards and results which have led many to term the current scene a Renaissance of Italian wine. But I remain convinced of one thing: Italy's future success will increasingly depend on its ability to characterize to the maximum extent its own precious patrimony, the Italian grapes which give such a distinctive and unmistakeable personality and identity to its wines. And, just has Italian cooking, in the form of Mediterranean cuisine and diet, have now conquered the world, Italian wine has become increasingly known to those seeking the best.