Among the things that have been denied me by two years of the pandemic are certain dinners that I used to organize with friends in my tavern. Each had a butcher paper placemat. Mine always ended up filled with notes and drawings. I like to draw and write adjectives while drinking and chatting about wine. If then in the drawings and texts there were some logical didactic vein, I could even live up to that wonderful little book that Marisa Finetti has just published – she’s a very good wine writer from Las Vegas (but a globetrotter, like all American writers of wine), a signature of Decanter and Wine Enthusiast. No, impossible, I would never reach those levels. Rarely I have encountered so much synthesis ability disguised by simplicity. Simplicity presupposes deep and complex thought. Only if you know a topic thoroughly can you give an effective synthesis. I remember when I collaborated with the newspaper L’Arena, in Verona, and I had Stefano Lorenzetto as head of service, who would later become deputy editor of the Giornale newspaper with Vittorio Feltri. It happened that he called me that the page was almost closing and he needed a piece on a specific question. He asked me how much I knew. If I knew little, he asked me to write three thousand characters, if I knew a lot, the characters were only a thousand. “If you don’t know a topic, you need more space, because you have to explain it to yourself before explaining it to others” he taught me. He’s absolutely right.
The book is titled Marisa’s Wine Doodles. It contains a series of tables dedicated to some denominations of origin around the world. There is a lot of Italy: Franciacorta, Arneis, Moscato d’Asti, Verdicchio, Vermentino, Chiaretto, Amarone, Barbera, Barolo, Carema, Etna, Lambrusco, Nebbiolo, Ruchè, Sangiovese. Each table is made up of a series of figurines and their respective very short texts: the picture that emerges is, at the same time, amusing, light-hearted and very informative, a kind of miraculous, playful balance. Because fun games are made seriously. For example, taking the table of “my” Bardolinese Chiaretto. It begins, top left, with a glass of rose wine that says “I’m an Italian dry rosé”. Next to it, there is the silhouette of Lake Garda, which says: “I was shaped by glaciers!”, I was shaped by glaciers, and there is a “find me here!” who explains that you can find the Chiaretto there, on the lake. Next to it, a comic that reads: “My name comes from the word ‘chiaro’ (light in colour)”, and this illustrates the origin and meaning of the name. Under still more information, including the aromas of the wine. Very easy to understand and learn.
It all started, explains Marisa Finetti in her introduction, one day when she was at the table with her son Christopher, who said to her: “Draw something!”. She thought of converting into drawings and various notes that she had taken during her travels in the wine territories. It was 2017, wine doodles were born this way. I love them. Anyone who wants the booklet that contains them can buy it in Marisa Finetti’s online shop. It’s a nice little object and you learn a lot about the wines of the world, without getting a headache trying to decipher those difficult concepts that are often found in specialized texts (obviously, this is in English, the only obstacle can be the language, but the pictures still help even those who don’t speak it). You have already prepared the contents for us. Those who know things can summarize them. Marisa knows them. I kinda envy her, because she can draw them better than me.