To All Italian Wine Producers,
My name is Gino Ferraro an ambassador of Italian wine and owner of Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar in Las Vegas for over 30 years. My food is simple as great Italian food should be with fresh ingredients and not over powered with garlic or other spices. We let our food express the tradition of old family recipes of house made pasta and sauces. My son Mimmo, the head chef, prepares real Italian food to pair with my award winning wine list featuring over 1,200 labels which 85% of are Italian.
I’m writing this letter because of my concern for Italian wine production and where it’s headed. My concern is the overuse of FRENCH OAK. I really dislike what French oak does to our Italian wines! Over the last 20 years or so I had the pleasure to travel to Italy and visited hundreds of producers, and many of these producers have dined in my restaurant. During my visits I have come to the conclusion that the Italian soil produces amazing wine! Wine like Barolo from Bartolo Mascarello, Bruno Giacosa, Giacomo Conterno, Brunello from Biondi Santi, Motepulciano d’Abruzzo from Emidio Pepe, Amarone from Bertani or Quintarelli and many more that I truly enjoy and recommend highly in my restaurant with wine sales close to two million dollars annually.
The history of Italian wine making has 1000’s of years of experience, featuring non-flavor imparting vessels like clay, neutral oak and glass containers, why change it to something that the French or Californians use where you can’t tell what you’re drinking, where all the wines have the same characteristics and are boring, do not pair well with food and so on. Over the last 5-10 years it seems to me that most of the Italian producers all they do is add French oak to produce juicy, fruity, oaky, heavy and boring uninteresting wine similar to the California grape juice instead of aging wine in vessels that are less potent as a path for the wines to age naturally without being altered by flavoring from French oak.
As you can tell I’m very passionate for traditional Italian wines and truly hate French oak!
To all Italian wine producers, I beg of you to reduce or terminate the usage of French oak and don’t let the influence of wine critics such as James Suckling and Robert Parker influence the art and technique of Italian wine making to the point where you can’t distinguish what varietal you’re drinking due to the overuse of french oak. I blame the American wine critics for the Italian wine scandal a few years ago in Italy where the juicier and heavier the wine, the greater the score. Don’t let the American palate destroy what our great soil, sun and tradition provide.
I haven’t Americanized my food and have been in business for 30 years while getting stronger and better each year. Do and create what you believe in! THANK YOU to every Italian producer that creates wine in a traditional, land yielding, minimal or no hand of man intervention.
I say let Nebbiolo be Nebbiolo let Sangiovese be Sangiovese and so on. Let Italian wine express the grape, the soil and the history of la nostra bella italia !!