Giacomo Tachis named Decanter Man of the Year 2011

  • Monday 28 February 2011

Modern wine producers should take off their designer ties and get back into the vineyard, Decanter's Man of the Year 2011, Giacomo Tachis, says in the latest issue of Decanter magazine.

Giacomo Tachis
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The 'father of Italian wine', who has been named Decanter Man of the Year2011, is recognised as the guiding light behind the renaissance of Italian wine in the 1970s and 80s.

Tachis, now 77, ‘belongs to that small, select group who changed the course of Italian wine,’ writes Richard Baudains in the April issue of Decanter magazine.

Tachis joined Antinori’s San Casciano winery in Tuscany in 1961 as a junior oenologist, rose to technical director, and in 1968, in a move which was to cement his reputation as an innovator, he lent his services to the Bolgheri estate of San Guido to help in the creation of a new wine – Sassicaia.

In five decades at the forefront of Italian winemaking, the Piedmont-born Tachis has been instrumental in the introduction of practices that are now standard at the top end of Italian wine production: clonal selection, high-density, low-yielding vineyards, and refinements in malolactic fermention and oak ageing.

But it is for the introduction of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals in the original ‘SuperTuscans’, Sassicaia, Tignanello and Solaia, that Tachis is most renowned.

‘It was a period that marked a new epoch,’ Baudains writes, recalling the moment when Sassicaia came top in a Decanter Cabernet tasting in 1978.

‘His place in wine history is first and foremost for realising the Tuscan dream of superlative wines,’ Hugh Johnson says in a tribute.

Tachis cites the great Bordeaux oenologist Emile Peynaud as one of his heroes, Baudains makes clear his ‘sense of identity is firmly and fundamentally Italian’.

And despite his retirement, he retains a deep interest in the future of wine. He speaks out, for example, against the modern obsession with high prices.

‘The wine producer has to take off his Hermès tie and drive a car suited to vineyards rather than motorways,’ he says.

‘Consumers are becoming more and more aware that high prices don’t necessarily mean high quality.’

Giacomo Tachis is interviewed in the April issue of Decanter magazine, out now.

Decanter Men (and Women) of the Year 1984-2010

2010 Aubert de Villaine - Burgundy

2009 Nicolas Catena - Mendoza, Argentina

2008 Christian Moueix - Pomerol

2007 Anthony Barton - Bordeaux

2006 Marcel Guigal - Rhône

2005 Ernst Loosen - Mosel

2004 Brian Croser - Adelaide Hills

2003 Jean-Michel Cazes - Bordeaux

2002 Miguel Torres - Penedès

2001 Jean-Claude Rouzaud - Champagne

2000 Paul Draper - California

1999 Jancis Robinson MW - London

1998 Angelo Gaja - Piedmont

1997 Len Evans, OBE AO-Australia

1996 Georg Riedel - Austria

1995 Hugh Johnson - London

1994 May-Eliane de Lencquesaing - Bordeaux

1993 Michael Broadbent - London

1992 André Tchelistcheff - California

1991José Ignacio Domecq - Jerez

1990 Prof Emile Peynaud - Bordeaux

1989 Robert Mondavi - California

1988 Max Schubert - Australia

1987 Alexis Lichine - Bordeaux

1986 Marchese Piero Antinori - Florence

1985 Laura and Corinne Mentzelopoulos - Bordeaux

1984 Serge Hochar - Lebanon

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