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ORNELLAIA VENDEMMIA D’ARTISTA: ONLINE AUCTION OF SPECIAL BOTTLES DESIGNED BY SHIRIN NESHAT

 

From 29 August to 13 September, 11 valuable lots of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2016 “La Tensione” will go under the auctioneer’s hammer online, with the profits donated to expand the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s “Mind’s Eye” programme.

 

The online auction of the valuable bottles of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2016 designed by renowned artist Shirin Neshat, begins today.

 

To mark the eleventh edition of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista, the American artist of Iranian origin, Shirin Neshat, has interpreted the vintage character of Ornellaia 2016 – “La Tensione.” With her destabilising and poetic visual language, the photographer, video artist, and director alludes to the strength and dynamism of this vintage using the verses of the illustrious 11th century Persian poet, Omar Khayyām. These works of art will be auctioned off online at Sotheby’s from 29 August to 13 September. Collectors from all over the world can vie to take home a work of art and a wine of exceptional value, while displaying a gesture of outstanding generosity. The profits from the auction will be donated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to support the innovative “Mind’s Eye” programme.

 

“Over the past ten years,” explains Ornellaia’s CEO, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaia, “Ornellaia has donated over two million dollars to different institutions in the art world: from the Whitney Museum in New York to the Neue National Galerie in Berlin, from the Fondation Beyeler in Basel to the Royal Opera House in London and the H2 Foundation in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Beginning in 2019, we wanted to contribute to the development of artistic perception for the blind or low-vision persons, and therefore we decided to become a supporter of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s Mind’s Eye programme.”

 

This sponsorship and the end of the auction will be celebrated with an exclusive gala event taking place at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the spectacular Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice.

 

The international auction is open to the public; anyone can place a bid by simply registering at http://www.sothebys.com/ornellaia. The profits from the online auction will be announced at 8 p.m. on 13 September at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

“Sotheby’s Wine is proud to participate in the eleventh edition of Ornellaia’s superb Vendemmia d’Artista art program. We have enjoyed incredibly special events in New York (2010 & 2017), Hong Kong (2012), London (2013 & 2018), Toronto (2014), Basel (2015) and Los Angeles (2016), each of which was wholly unique and exciting, in the same way that every vintage has its own distinct character. These unique large-format bottles will find homes in new cellars and will always remind their new owners of the joys of bringing wine, food, art and friendship together.” Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head, Sotheby’s Wine

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The “Mind’s Eye” programme created by the Guggenheim education department, helps blind and low vision persons experience art by using all the senses. This encourages the development of creative expressions, emotional connections and memories, the perception of which lasts over time. As in art, the appreciation of great wines also requires the involvement of all the senses. It is precisely this idea that prompted Ornellaia to support the growth of this particular programme.

The donations collected through Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista will allow the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to further develop the activities of the “Mind’s Eye” programme with the aim of extending the model to other art institutions, ensuring its excellence in favour of blind and low vision people all over the world.

ORNELLAIA, THE 2019 HARVEST HAS BEGUN

The harvest began at the Bolgheri estate with the youngest Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. A late year, but it promises to be high quality.

 

The 34th harvest of Ornellaia began last Monday and, as usual, the first grapes to be picked were the youngest Sauvignon Blanc vineyards, while for the reds we will have to wait until the beginning of September.

The Estate Director Axel Heinz commented: “Up to today, the weather of the 2019 growing year has been a ‘roller coaster’. After a particularly cool spring, the start of growth was delayed for over a week, and this delay continued until the flowering, in the first days of June. Immediately afterwards came a very hot June and July, among the warmest and driest in recent history, with substantial rains at the end of the month that interrupted the long period of drought. Veraison has since completed in all the vineyards and harvest has begun“.

He continued: “It is still early to make a prognosis on the vintage’s quality level, and the weather conditions of the second half of August and the month of September will certainly have an effect. Meanwhile, we can confirm that this harvest is a late one; we started with the younger Sauvignon Blanc vineyards that go into production this year, while for the other whites we will begin harvesting between the last week of August and the first of September. We will wait until the beginning of September to harvest the reds, between the first and second week, but everything bodes wonderfully”.

 

At Ornellaia, enthusiasm for the harvest is quite visible, once picking started with the Sauvignon Blanc, an important variety for the winery and part of Ornellaia Bianco and Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia, the two white wines produced by the estate with the same attention to quality as the well-known red wines.

 

We realized more and more that there’s space for intriguing whites if you are selective and choose the right sites,” confirmed Heinz.

In 2002, production of the single-variety Sauvignon Blanc “Poggio alle Gazze” ceased altogether. However, Axel Heinz’s intuition upon arrival in 2005 led to a change of heart with respect to the estate’s white wines, and the first vintage of the new “Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia” was released in 2010 (2008 vintage). Several years of continuous research and development led to the launch of Ornellaia Bianco (2013 vintage).

Africa-Europe cookbook: the ultimate diplomatic tool to bring two continents to the table

The Delegation of the European Union to the African Union launches a book with 70 recipes from African and European countries, cooked up by AU and EU Commissioners and EU Member State Ambassadors.

What do Hungarian goulash, Spanish gazpacho and Congolese Saka Saka have in common? As typical recipes from their countries, they are unique expressions of diverse cultural identities, but there is something else: all of them share the magical power of food to create social bonds around a table. From Finish Lapland to South African Cape Agulhas, Europeans and Africans alike share the passion for good food. Then, why not use this “delicious” diplomatic tool to strengthen friendship and understanding between these two continents? That is exactly the intention of the Delegation of the European Union to the African Union: they have just published an Africa-Europe Cookbook with a selection of recipes from the two continents prepared by AU and EU Commissioners, AU and EU Member State Ambassadors and other diplomats based across Africa.

“Those who are engaged daily in the relationship between Africa and Europe see diversity as an attraction, not a challenge”, says Ranieri Sabatucci, the EU Ambassador to the African Union, who prepared himself a Lasagne al Forno to represent Italian cuisine in the cookbook. “Culture in general and food in particular are essential elements of this diversity. But food also has a unique ability to connect people, to make them feel closer. Complex negotiations and business deals always include a meal. It is on these occasions that trust, friendship and understanding are established”.

Food memories: a tasty way to get to know people

The cookbook is a collection of recipes from 70 African and European countries. The colour and flavour of each dish tells us a story, and it is not only about their places of origin, but also about the people who prepared it and their emotional attachments to food. For instance, those reading the book will find out that Commissioner Ansip cannot imagine summer in Estonia without picking wild chanterelle mushrooms, the same ones he used to cook a typical Kukeseenekaste (Chanterelle sauce). “Every family has their own secret places where to pick fresh chanterelle mushrooms – these places are guarded sacredly and information is not shared with just anybody”, he reveals.

For Commissioner Crețu, traditional Romanian Sarmale (cabbage rolls with pork and rice) works exactly as Proust’s famous madeleines did: “the smell of Sarmale emanating from a kitchen brings me back to my childhood years”, she says about a dish that her family used to cook for Christmas, weddings or birthday parties when she was a child.

EU Delegation to AU@EUtoAU

We’re thrilled to see all your positive reactions to our Africa-Europe Cookbook! Have you already tried our Ambassador @SabatucciEU ’s lasagne recipe? Buonissimo! bit.ly/2LVNBgd @eu_eeas

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Some delegations invited renowned chefs or other local personalities to cook the recipes together. Frédéric Bontems, Ambassador of France to Ethiopia, teamed up with Ethiopian chef Yohanis to prepare an orange-nigella religieuse, a French dessert fused with traditional Ethiopian ingredients. The cooking session took place at the global Goût de France / Good France culinary event, and was featured on Chef Yohanis’ cooking show on Ethiopian TV.

EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen, took the chance to invite Senator Binta Masi Garba, the only female senator from the 19 states of Northern Nigeria. They cooked Green Gazpacho, a cold soup prepared with local vegetables and herbs invented by Karlsen, and a pumpkin-less version of Miyan Taush, a Nigerian traditional soup.

These are just a few of the stories behind a book that will surely encourage Africans and Europeans to get to know each other better and realize that, beyond our cultural differences, we are all human beings who share a common passion no matter where we live: having a good meal!

 Passopisciaro, Mount Etna Passorosso and Passobianco 2017

 

“The 2017 growing season was exceptionally hot, even on Mount Etna,” commented Andrea Franchetti, the oenologist who was one of just a handful of pioneers to recognise the winemaking potential of the volcano’s utterly unique soils and climate. His research led him to select 26 hectares of terraced vineyards that today constitute the Passopisciaro wine estate. “Nonetheless,” he continued, ”that intense heat, which continued unabated into September, with diurnal temperature fluctuations less marked than usual, had no negative impact at all on wine quality; rather, the marriage of the site’s unique conditions of sunlight, elevation and volcanic soils retained its determining influence and yielded wines of powerful character.”      

 

Passorosso 2017

Passorosso 2017, 100% Nerello Mascalese, is an eloquent interpretation of its Etna home, and in particular of the villages of Malpasso, Guardiola, Santo Spirito, Favazza, and Arcuria, lying at elevations of 500 to 1100 feet. Soils in the highest zones are composed of large-size gravel, while those lower down are deeper and finer-grained, derived from ancient lava flows. In 2017, ripening in the vineyards was slow and gradual, and harvest arrived slightly early, between 20 and 29 October. Following fermentation in steel, Passorosso concluded malolactic in large oak ovals, where it matured over some 18 months. The wine boasts an ultra-crisp acidity and earthy minerality, impressive structure and body, and restrained alcohol.   

 

 

Passobianco 2017

The all-Chardonnay Passobianco 2017 is grown in four hectares at an elevation of 850-1000 metres, where the steep terraces in the Guardiola district offer loose, deep soils of lava derivation with high mineral content. During the 2017 season, the Chardonnay vines required spray irrigation at night to ward off heat stress, and harvest came early, between 13 and 30 August, bringing yields that were lower than normal but with concentrated fruit. The must fermented 20 days at around 23°C in steel, then Passobianco matured for 10 months in both concrete vats and large oak ovals. Today, it is crisp and zesty, with its prominent tropical fruit promising significant longevity.       

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When Andrea Franchetti met Mount Etna, the offspring of the encounter was Passopisciaro. In 2000, Franchetti began to reconstitute the terraced vineyards of Nerello Mascalese, successively planting new vineyards at densities of 12,000 vines per hectare and then restructuring a building, at 800 metres’ elevation, that would eventually become the Passopisciaro winecellar. Thus began Etna’s winemaking renaissance. Andrea Franchetti was likewise the proponent of the concept of the “vini di Contrada,” or wines reflecting the various individual districts, which today is celebrated by the international-level event “Le Contrade dell’Etna” that focuses on the Nerello grape.

Today, the Passopisciaro estate relies on 26 hectares of vineyards distributed over the north flank of Etna; most are planted to Nerello Mascalese, often un-grafted vines 80-100 years old, but there are Petit Verdot, Cesanese di Affile, and Chardonnay as well. Eight wines are produced. In addition to Passorosso and Passobianco, the portfolio boasts five crus: the contrade of Chiappemacine, Porcaria, Guardiola, Sciaranuova, and Rampante, plus the prestigious Franchetti, a marriage of Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile. Andrea Franchetti is the owner of Tenuta di Trinoro as well, located at Sarteano (Val D’Orcia) in Tuscany, famous for its Bordeaux blend wine of the same name.

Début of Tenuta di Trinoro vintage 2017, flanked by a new Bianco

2017 was a challenging growing year. Even a unique environmental niche such as the Val d’Orcia had to confront, like the rest of Italy, three months of intense summer heat, made more severe by a lack of groundwater reserves, the result of the previous relatively dry winter. But the Tenuta di Trinoro team was successful in meeting the challenge, demonstrating determined, expert vineyard management that put into practice every tenet of the production philosophy of Andrea Franchetti, winery founder and creator of wines unique for their concentration, depth, and complexity.   

 

Thanks to the lengthy, hot season, there was certainly no lack of concentration in the fruit. At harvest, begun 27 September and concluded 13 October, the berries were small, with thick skins and little juice, and their wines emerged near-opaque, black, and concentrated. It required waiting some months before they could be evaluated properly and a final blend assembled, which privileged Cabernet Franc, at 69%, assisted by 23% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon.   

Tenuta di Trinoro 2017 is full-bodied with fine depth, “and dense-packed, silky tannins; the palate showcases well-ripened plum and blueberry, with wild herb and iron-like impressions,” explained Franchetti. Some years of bottle-ageing will allow it to achieve full expression and “to lose those slight vegetal notes that, of course, are classic to the two Cabernets.”    

2017 also marks the debut—at least to the markets – of the Tenuta’s Bianco, a one-of-a-kind, 100% Semillon that grows in a tiny, sandy-soil parcel at an elevation of 630 metres and with a very tight, 1 x 1 metre layout. The pronounced aromatic qualities classic to the variety are nicely balanced in the grapes by a forward crispness and acidity, producing a wine that is concentrated yet taut, displaying great depth and promising significant cellarability.  

 

Tenuta di Trinoro. Located near Sarteano, at the entrance to the Val d’Orcia, in southeast Tuscany, the estate boasts 16 vineyard parcels, totaling some 25 hectares, planted at elevations of 450-650 metres. Tenuta di Trinoro is a Bordeaux-style cuvée that has always been the estate’s keystone wine. Its portfolio also includes Le Cupole, a younger and more accessible wine from the estate vineyards; I Campi, from three parcels of Cabernet Franc; the all-Merlot Palazzi; and, debuting with the 2017 vintage, Bianco di Trinoro.      

Veneroso Terre di Pisa from Tenuta di Ghizzano

The “Tenuta di Ghizzano” (Ghizzano Estate) is one of the oldest farms in the area and also one of the most innovative. Today it is made up of about 350 hectares of which 20 dedicated to vines, 20 to olives, 150 hectares of cereal and the remaining 150 is made up of woods and poplar groves.

The family settled in Ghizzano towards the end of the 14th century. The winery and oli mill are both situated right next to the tower built in 1370 by Venerosi Pesciolini ancestors. Grapes and Olives, and the production of wine and oil, have been at the heart of family’s activities and have encompassed the whole of the Estate as it is today. Ghizzano is a small hilltop village, about 200m above sea level, not far from the Tuscan coast.. The landscape is gentle and the climate mild, thanks to the sea breeze, and without extreme temperatures or great risk of springtime frosts. The land has an interesting makeup.

We tasted: Veneroso doc Terre di Pisa 2015

Il Veneroso, the historical and most representative wine of the estate, was named after Veneroso Venerosi who was the first to dedicate his passion to the land and wine-making. The intuition and courage that Pierfrancesco showed in his ambitions for the Estate have been fully repaid over time.  This wine is produced by 70% Sangiovese e 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.

This wine has a ruby red, lively and bright color. We found notes of cherry and blackberry jam, mint, chocolate and tobacco blend on slightly spicy, mineral and smoked traces. It has rare complexity, excellent acidity and dense and very fine tannins. In the mouth has long persistence of ripe fruit, it is a full-bodied wine of great softness and elegance with a well supported shoulder.

Food pairing: It is a red wine that is enhanced with particularly seasoned meats, but also with a mushroom sauce and seasoned cheese.

 

MASSETINO A ‘SECOND VIN’ BORN AFTER THE SELECTION MADE FOR MASSETO

 

Massetino 2017 the ‘second vin’ of Masseto will make its début in October 2019 and will be available to selected accounts in Italy and the US during its first vintage release.

 

“Massetino comes from a strict selection from the estate vineyards made during blending” says Axel Heinz, Estate Director.

 

The 2017 vintage was hot and dry, requiring a very accurate selection. Less Masseto was produced, so it was considered the right moment to bottle Massetino. 

 

Giovanni Geddes, CEO Masseto comments: ‘It seems to be a natural development for the Masseto Estate to produce a ‘second vin’ and the 2017 vintage proved to be the right time to do it.  It is an exciting moment for the Masseto Estate and the new winery provides us with the right environment to pursue this new project’.

 

2017 will be remembered as one of the hottest and driest vintages in recent history. Due to an unusually mild winter with temperatures 3°C above average, budbreak occurred two weeks earlier than usual. Apart from a brief period of cold weather towards the end of April, the entire growing season was dominated by warm and dry weather, leading to a reduced development of the canopy.

As a result, Massetino 2017 represents the characteristics of this vintage: dark in colour with rich and ripe aromatics, dominated by ripe plums and blackberries. The palate is broad and rich, with a remarkable freshness and firmness of structure. 

 

Only a very limited number of bottles have been produced in this first vintage and distribution has therefore been concentrated to selected accounts in Italy and in the US.

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