06 October 2010

WIMU - WINE MUSEUM AT BAROLO CASTLE. “What there wasn’t there is now”

“What there wasn’t there is now”

On the numerous plasma screens on the walls of WI-MU rooms, beautiful images about wine theme alternated, showing both culture and style. This glass in which intense ruby red wine is poured, says:
"Eyes for seeing, a nose for sniffing, a tongue for pleasant tastes, a mouth for speaking and breathing. These are our knowledge’s resources" – Ippocrates.

In the tasting room, all the best vintages of the 200 wineries which produce Barolo in Barolo are exposed

The Wine Museum, called “Wi-Mu” has officially opened its doors to Barolo, with budgets and spread advertisement, great sponsorship and remarkable expectations of significant returns. On sunday the 12th of September 2010, the invitation was: “Get in the wine” !Finally
what was promised has happened, with popular and generous celebrations around the Castle’s walls, with shops and stalls full of local products, eating houses and restaurants stormed and a public coming from any part of Europe to partecipate, emotionally at least, to the event that had been far-back waited: “What there wasn’t there is now”.

Barolo Castle, seen from the small square beneath

Acrobats and dancers, small orchestras and jugglers, while in the inside the presentations - precluded to the public on the first day- were starting, made everything possible so that people in the narrow streets could rejoice at the beginning of a new era, in that edge of land which aspired to become a small paradise, for remarking how waited and festive the occasion was, for the starting of an event that had been rooted in history for ages and still expected a lot for the future, given the extraordinary qualities of its land and culture’s product, so exalted and appreciated all over the world, whose name is Barolo, excellent wine between the italian ones! Of course it is one of the best in the world, but it’s also really inimitable, because of the complicated essence of its origin, due to the wisdom of the ones who know its deepest secrets, and have rooted its knowledge in the ages and exalted it on the noblest tables which have welcomed and valorized it; but it is also due to the unique aspects and characteristics of the place, those hills in Langhe area so rich in sun and minerals, in clayey ground so wisely tilled, hard to be turned over but so mild to be ministered, whose particular climate closes in a single circle any other possible truth you would want to tell.

When we got intobarolo Castle, with our dossiers ready to be verified in every detail, we wereinformed of the fact that in those rooms anything possible had been done tosurround the Great Product with scenographies worth its name; in fact, they hadcalled one of the greatest names that today circulate in the world for talentand style, the swiss architect Francois Confino, who had already given a proofof his abilities in the Mole Antonelliana in Torino, with extraordinary and unusual preparations of the Cinema Museum, certainly very special even in interpreting the architectural masterpiece that Antonelli’s Mole is, created for being an israelitic temple.

The Silvio Pellico room, in the castel

But also in this Castle you could start breathing a richness of history and stories in a new way, and being between those walls, in those colours, in the delicacy of those few but wise touc
hes of style, immediately gave us the sensation that the event was being successful, that the goal was about to be reached, that the elegance and sobriety that reign over there were the real signature of the organization; it weren’t anymore the noisy and popular sides of the town festival to dominate, but a more intimate ritual, a more contained ceremony of inner concentration.

Although there were many people crowding its rooms, you could guess that the Museum’s arrangement had been thought for focusing the attention on the narrated theme, seen from the different perspectives that have made him such, following a totally sensorial and completely personal approach, an intimate way of foretasting its symbolic value, more than its banal reality of beeing a food, although a regal one.

Everything of thearrangements converged on it, like the historical efforts of cultivation(documented by beautiful historical pictures), the always more refinedproduction systems, the physical characteristics of the tradition’s places and tools, the cultural environment of its valorization, the su btle but univocal discrimination that has determined it as an excellence, the markets that have made it famous all over the world.

The noble Floor of the Castle still keeps and represents Faletti Family of
Barolo’s furnishing. The figures of Marquis Carlo Tancredi Faletti and his wife Juliette Colbert are represented and set to highlight the fundamental role that they’ve had in the creation of Barolo wine. But you can also see the figures of Silvio Pellico and Count Camillo Benso of Cavour, protagonists of italian Risorgimento, whose steps have rung out in these rooms, like the ones of Carlo Alberto and Vittorio Emanuele II, while the wine was already being produced all around, very wisely.
“These presences are fundamental in here because the birth of Barolo wine is a chapter of the same story, populated by those same protagonists”. That’s what you can read from some captions in those rooms.

The genealogich tree of the Faletti family, that owns the castle of Barolo

The entrance room to the Museum is crowded by life-size silhouettes of the people whom the pictu
res found in the Castle retracted. Each of them speaks with the voices of rural people, and tells the stories that knows… for example that “at the castle” they were preparing a big banquet for illustrious guests, and Barolo wine was poured out.

An english acrobat amused the public in the small square of Barolo, on the 12th of September 2010

And so here we are in front of the table really laid for that big banquet, with old crockery, and a stylish set up. Here are the guests of honour, who were, besides Count Camillo of Cavour, general Francesco Staglieno and the french oenologist Louis Oudart, Juliette Colbert and the many personages of Carlo Alberto’s court, illustrious guests at Racconigi castle, to whom Juliette had donated the famous "carrà" of Barolo wine, 325 barrels sent by Barolo Marquise (one for each day of the year, except for the fourty days of Lent, drawn by oxen to the court of Turin, in the general atonishment of citizens).

A glimpse of vineyards between the houses of an alley in Barolo

During the tour of the Museum, the period in which the Castle became site of Barolo College is narrated. The visitor is invited to take a seat, between the original furnishings, to attend the lesson of a “virtual” master, who teaches us old secrets and explains everything that we didn’t know about that wine.

The eventual tastings, in the cellars, let us come closer to that wine, not only virtually but sensorially, testing its aromas, odours and colours ourselves, and entirely savouring its fragrance.

A partial view from some windows in the big representation room on the noble floor of the castle. The repairs have conserved the beautiful brick vaults and have inserted a floor of staves made out of oak.

The fair approach to Carretta Estate of Piobesi of Alba and to Bruno Giacosa of Neive donated us really high pleasures of tasting. We also tried a “Barolo chinato”, which we had never tasted before.
It’s been a pity that we were alone, in this party, because a similar occasion imposed to be well-accompanied, for making it really joyful and complete.

One more destination, from today on, for the tourists coming from the area of great
Italian North-West lakes, and from the places in Piedmonte and on the mountains, between whom you can often find the desire of wine, of the intense approach to its hills full of historical and natural vigours, but most of all ready to give to the ways of taste the best accent, which marks more that anything else, the sense you must give to life.
And here is the long-awaited moment! “Prosit” !
Barolo, September 12th 2010
Enrico Mercatali
(Translation from italian by Penelope Mirotti - Pictures by Enrico Mercatali)

Published in Italian by Taccuini Internazionali

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