In my work, I am constantly surrounded by people working in the wine industry. Whether it be sales representatives, winemakers or journalists. So it makes sense that some of my closest friends are individuals who work in the wine industry. Sometimes, you will have an instant connection with a person and understand on all levels exactly what they are thinking and the direction they want to take. It doesn’t have to be about wine. It might be about politics, life or sport. You just understand each other.
For me, Honesty and simplicity are two traits I think are pretty hard to go past in life and most of my closest friends have this in spades. I am not a pretender: what you see is what you get. I am like that in life as well as in business. If you can’t be yourself, then what is the point of it all?
That is why I think Massimo and myself have become good friends.
Massimo is quiet and shy. When he talks, he talks for a reason. The same goes with the wines he makes. They are a reflection of Massimo and his Langhe Nebbiolo, Bricco Ravera Barbera and Monforte Barolo all share his stamp. They are not tricked up. They are not smothered in oak. They speak of Monforte, they speak of Massimo and importantly they speak of the vintage. They are not trying to be something they are not.
Massimo’s wines are becoming harder and harder to buy. With international demand for his wines growing every vintage (and whilst we still manage to get a great allocation for Australia) it means that demand far exceeds supply on all his wines. In the USA, he has been picked up by legendary wine importer Kermit Lynch which is great for Massimo and I have no doubt it will reach a stage where the wines of Piero Benevelli will become as scarce as hens teach.
The 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo from Massimo is a great illustration of what he is capable. The word that instantly springs to mind is unforced. It is unforced in that it is not trying to be something it is not. Nebbiolo stripped back in it’s purest form. In this form this grape variety has fantastic fragrance, well defined tannins and a depth of palate which will enable it to age for many years. The 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo is Nebbiolo stripped bare and presented in it’s purest form.