Senso DiVino – Mangia e Bevi: interview to Luca Maroni.

Not only Luca Maroni does know grape’s delicious nectar, he explores it, he penetrates a charming and varied universe made of sensations, tastes and flavours. This is how he is able to ‘’file’’ it through a simple but severe method of analysis, deciphering tool for aromas and tones. Luca Maroni is an explorer of sensations, loyally in love with that red intense bottled nectar that we usually call wine.

Not only Luca is fascinated by wine, he has chosen indeed to better investigate and file it through a nearly mathematical method, a method whose result – always verified and verifiable- is obtained summing up all aromatic sensorial compounds. A simple method, sense-driven, it evaluates wine’s features grouping them in clusters of perfumes and sensors. Everything starts from grape.

Grape turns into wine, wine reveals itself world-wine waiting for understanding and decryption. ‘’ Wine moves my senses and proves itself in an ensemble of compounds that are either causes or agents”. Thus, ‘’SensofWine’’ comes to reality, lately transformed in the more immediately clear ‘’I Migliori Vini Italiani’’ (“Italy’s Best Wines”), which is a national itinerant exhibition devoted to Italian best wines and gastronomic goods, which talks about and breathe wine, goods within beauty.

“ I had the fortune to fall in love with something as marvellous as wine is – Luca says with a soft, confident and pleasant voice- I took the choice of making a profession out of it; back then there was no specific method, no specialist nor practicable tasting technique, and that is what I wanted to do, i wanted to find a method that could be used to evaluate wine. I invented my job. It was unimaginable that I could make a life of it, that I could work analysing sensations, tasting and evaluating, talking about wine”.

Where does Luca Maroni, as a professional, come from?

My interest in wine arose in '84, when it was still not a common interest; today’s enthusiasts are a lot, there is a lot of work to do in the field of communication in order to spread the idea that the wine is not alcohol, but a drink that has 15% of alcohol added to fragrances, aromas and the best of Italian grapes; values like these are ​​very significant, historical and cultural. ‘’ Wine moves my senses and proves itself in an ensemble of compounds that are either causes or agents”. Doing a job like mine, beautiful and challenging, I made sure to be always independent, from a wine’s evaluation to its producers, never allowed to advertise their products on my media, mainly focusing on general public and wine operators’ growing passion.

Who were your teachers and what did they teach you?

Veronelli was my master, he thought me how to be poetical when appreciating some item’s quality and how to communicate such appreciation. My job consists in transferring sensations in order to enhance people’s will to taste, therefore it is fundamental to be true and envisioning at the same time, it is necessary to enrich and describe in the most evocative way possible all those fine sensations that wine gives. The description should never overwhelm wine’s real value. Words should never overwhelm their meaning.

How is it possible to develop and enhance a nose as refined and honed as yours?

In order to develop the sense of smell it is necessary to train brain's ability to process the data that such sense carries. I remember how I could not read anything in my first inhalations, as if I was in a dark place; then little by little I started to familiarize with what my receptors transmitted, then concentration helped me to focalize, to think about those sensations.

What is your preferred wine-related sensation?

Talking about sight, I like red wine’s ‘’bluish’’ hue, shade between red and blue, conjoined to purple, then black; such a sight anticipate a certain perfume and a certain flavour. It is a chromatic feature that carries within the promise of a specific taste.

What is the sensorial analysis and which are its coordinates?

Eyes, nose and mouth. Sensory organs allow us to orient ourselves in this world. Sensorial analysis starts from this point, it is our brain’s ability to analyse what sensors receive and transmit. No one analyses sensations. Indeed, I do explore them. What matters the most is concentration and the capability to hold your mind still. Perfume comes and it brings it all, you only need to know how to decipher it: a taste, it is mathematic.

How does a wine’s “data-sheet” come to life?

It is a deductive concept; it is wine writing its history. The glass speaks, it speaks to me and my only task is to transliterate what I sense and evaluate it according a pleasantness index that is measured by weight, consistency, balance and integrity.

What are, in your opinion, Italian best vines?

Muscat, Traminer, Sauvignon Blanc among the white ones; among red wines: Primitivo, Sangiovese, Cabernet, Aglianico, Valpolicella; who has the will to find out more about it can consult my online portal or my ‘’Annuario’’, both offer useful informational tools, as well as detailed descriptions of tasting-related sensations: 33 pages filled with statistics and ranking lists, information and background history about wine producers, organoleptic data sheet and indications about those wineries that offer agriturism and/or direct sale.

What do you think are the winegrowing areas that should be better promoted?

Wine is beautiful for it is Italy’s face, expression of those regional features that manage our national treasure. Every single area, hence, reflects its own culture, as well as wine-related disclosure and communication.

How many wines you taste in a year?

The wines I taste throughout the year, for the strict purpose of tasting, are about 15.000. Than many others, if I include those wines I drink for personal pleasure.

You have created a business, a well structured company, much communication about wine and an itinerant long-awaited and greatly followed event: changing from "SenseofWine," it ha recently been named “I Migliori Vini Italiani” ("Italy’s Best Wines"). Why?

I believe that "Italy’s Best Wines" is better aligned with the essence of what I want to communicate, and I wanted it to be itinerant in order to reach those areas where there is interest, where there is public, always bearing in mind that any event’s development requires several different people’s satisfaction, counting among them wine producers, wine operators, and the general public, each of them carrying different expectations that shall never be disappointed.

What stages come next for the touring "I Migliori Vini Italiani"?

Milan, Florence, Düsseldorf, United States: our purpose is to celebrate what is good within what is beautiful, trying to promote and encourage a specific type of eno-gastronomic tourism that shall be loaded with well-rounded beauty and pleasantness.

Written by Mia Ricci, July 2014, ©Mangia e Bevi