Who is Enzo Bartoli?
Enzo Bartoli was born in 1897 in Nizza di Monferrato and have his life to the soil, wine and people from the town at the foot of the mountain. He was a simple and honorable man who devoted his life to find and cultivate the perfect soil to produce the finest fruit from the vineyards and handcraft wines that reflect the majesty of the Piedmont.
Now, the question remains the same: Who is, or was, Enzo Bartoli?
And the answer? Enzo never existed. He was made up by the company that produces the Enzo Bartoli wines. And how do I know this? Well, I did some research.
Digging a little deeper
Research showed that the import company Independent Wine Company previously spun a tale about who Enzo Bartoli was on their website. Back in 2018 you could find this statement (in Swedish) on the website:
“Enzo föddes 1897 i Nizza di Monferrato och vigde sitt liv till jorden, vinet och människorna i landet vid bergens fot. Han var en enkel och värdig man som i sin tysta strävan sökte efter jordens genuina uttryck. Idag lever hans arv vidare genom dessa viner som vi i sann Enzo anda har förädlat. Kort sagt – Enzo Bartoli är Piemonte personifierat.”
This statement was later changed, and the Enzo who was born in 1987 in Nizza Monferrato was all of a sudden referred to as a myth. And now, any mention of Enzo, myth or otherwise, has been removed completely from the website.
If you dig deep into the Enzo Bartoli Instagram, you’ll find traces of this story. The back label used to say: This wine is dedicated to Enzo. Enzo, the most humble man from the Monferrato area. Enzo, who devoted his life to find and cultivate the perfect soil to produce the finest fruit from the vineyards at the foot of the mountain and handcraft wines that reflect the majesty of the Piedmont. Drink with respect to the elder at room temperature.” But if you look at the Enzo Bartoli website today, there is no mention of Enzo at all.
Turns out I am not the only one…
As it turns out, I am not the first to question the wines of Enzo Bartoli. During my research I came across this article from 2018 on Eftersmak.se, where the myth of Enzo Bartoli was debunked. Along with multiple screen shots, pictures of the bottles and multiple quoted conversations with customer service at Systembolaget seems to prove that Enzo Bartoli was indeed made up.
After the good work of the people at Eftersmak.se, The Independent Wine Company issued a statement in 2018 where they apologized for the miscommunication around Enzo Bartoli, and confirmed that he was never a real person, but a myth. You’ll find the screenshot of the Facebook statement
What is Enzo Bartoli?
I think the more pressing question is: What is Enzo Bartoli? Because calling it wine would be a disservice to the other winemakers in Piemonte.
On the Enzo Bartoli website it states that “all Enzo Bartoli Wines are made my Mondo del Vino. However, on the website of Mondo Del Vino, Enzo Bartoli is not listed in their portfolio. The headquarters of MGM Mondo Del Vino is in Forli and the only other address is in Priocca. In other words, not really anywhere close to Barolo. So how come a Barolo is associated with these companies? And where is the wine made? Because in order for it to be called Barolo, the wine should be produced within the borders of Barolo.
Anyone have any idea where to find this winery? Or factory? No one seems to be able to answer this question… I have reached out to Mondo Del Vino via their contact form online, but have not heard back. I’ve also spoken to a man (presumably one of the Norwegian importers) at a wine fair in Norway, and he was unable to answer any of my questions.
What does all this mean? I know the world is changing, but since when has it become ok to pass off mass produced juice as quality wine? How can someone create a fictional character and pass him off as real in order to sell wine? How insulting is that to winemakers like Elio Altare or Maria Teresa Mascarello, or any of the other legends or hardworking winemakers from Piemonte?
Nebbiolo for Peace
It’s important to speak up when something isn’t right, but it’s also important to focus on all the good things. The main reason why I love wine is the people. The hardworking, passionate, hardcore men and women who dedicate their lives to winemaking. Let’s come together and celebrate these wonderful people.
I’m certainly dedicating my life to tell the world about these amazing farmers. My life is definitely richer because of them. I frequently laugh when I think about Nicola from Trediberri comparing the 2018 Barolo to Miley Cyrus. And I’m in awe of Elio who went against his family in order to follow his heart. And I look up to Chiara Boschis, one of the few female winemakers during a time when it was a “man’s world”.
So le’ts celebrate the wonderful winemkars of Piemonte. And drink lots of Nebbiolo.