Veronelli, Luigi

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Veronelli, Luigi (1926–2004), Italy’s most influential food and wine critic from 1956, when he founded the magazine Il Gastronomo and began to collaborate with Italy’s major daily newspapers, news weeklies, and the national television network RAI-TV, until his death. Born into an affluent cosmopolitan Milanese family, Veronelli was an unabashed Francophile and a frank admirer of the French appellation contrôlée system, in particular of its designated crus, a classification which he attempted to apply to Italian vineyards and their products in his many books on his country’s wines. Polemical in character and a romantic anarchist in his political convictions, Veronelli long championed the cause of the small peasant proprietor and was a particularly bitter opponent of Italy’s doc systems, which he considered rigged in favour of the country’s large commercial wineries. His campaigns against the DOC system earned him a period of banishment from Italian television in the 1970s and 1980s. A trip to California in the early 1980s turned him into a promulgator of the barrique, then almost unknown in Italy, and his writing was extremely influential in spreading the use of small oak barrels in Italy.