The year 2020 will always be connected to the COVID-19 virus appearance all over the world and, in particular for us, in Italy. Our lives – daily and family activities – either stopped altogether or slowed to a trickle. Mother Nature’s activity in the countryside did not stop and indeed showed us all its beautiful vigorous energy!
After a dry winter season characterized by a low rainfall, vines began to sprout in late March, during very cold days. These low and freezing temperatures, even below zero, caused moderate damage in our vineyards located at the bottom of the valley, and consequently a 15-20 per cent reduction in grape production.
Spring season gave us warm and sunny days, with temperatures above the seasonal average. We worked our vineyards following the vine’s vegetative cycle. We tied the shoots to the support wires, we removed secondary buds formed on the vine stock, and as needed, we made phytosanitary organic treatments to support the growth phase and ensure our vineyards’ good health.
The blooming period was delayed to the second half of May. This brought an excellent result favored by a good climatic trend, with warm, dry and slightly windy days. Th fruit set was excellent and produced optimum new young clusters.
Despite a fresh and rainy June, the Summer season started, bringing very high temperatures, especially in August, when we had extremely limited excursions between night and day temperatures.
This climatic trend caused water stress in the grapes, which we promptly solved by practicing drip irrigation during the hottest days and nights, according to the rules laid down by the production regulation.
Fortunately, such a dry season led an excellent ripening of our grapes: perfectly healthy, sound and very concentrated in fruity aromas.
Traditionally September would symbolize the beginning of Fall, but instead, as has happened in the past few years, this 2020 vintage has seen an extension of the Summer.
The first two weeks were very balanced, with sunny weather and mild daily temperatures, and our 2020 Harvesting Season began on September 14th with the Merlot grapes in our small vineyards; followed, in the third week, by the harvesting of Sangiovese. Late September brought fresh temperatures and some rainfalls, that allowed our Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab. Franc and Syrah grapes to reach an optimum ripening to be harvested in first ten days of October.
Thanks to the optimal climate trend that improved week by week, we can say that we had a quality 2020 Harvest: delivering very promising grapes, especially for medium to long aging red wines.
With great optimism, we welcome the gifts of nature and, contrary to the negative world economic situation, we have a renewed enthusiasm as we now are patiently working the musts, which begin to take shape, telling us a new stimulating story: the story of our new wine.
Cantina Tollo, the well-known proactive brand from Abruzzo, has released on the market its latest project. The new line, which is made from indigenous grapes and with a sustainable packaging, features five wines certified both organic and vegan. The wines pay homage to the surrounding natural environment which stretches from the Adriatic Sea to the towering Maiella mountain reaching above 2.790 metres asl and boosts an incredible flora and fauna biodiversity. The five wines include Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Dop, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Dop, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Dop, Terre di Chieti Pecorino Igp and Terre di Chieti Passerina Igp.
Each wine is identified by a handmade pencil drawing featuring five bioindicators. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo dop, made from the eponymous juicy and tannic red grape, Montepulciano, is identified with the ladybug, which is an indicator of unpolluted environments. The dragonfly, which inhabits clean water spaces, stands on the label of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Dop from refreshing white Trebbiano variety. Butterflies which reveals huge information about climate change have been chosed to represent a traditional product such as Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, the local dry rosé with a deep salmon hue, cherries aromas and a mineral palate. The stag beetle, living in the fierce old woods of Maiella mountain, stands out on the label of white Terre di Chieti Pecorino Igp whereas the bee is the symbol of the light Terre di Chieti Passerina Igp exuding aromas of citrus and wild flowers.
The whole packaging aims at respecting nature. The capsule is PVC-free, the label is made from recycled paper and cotton fibers, and the box too is made of recycled cardoboard.
The line is aimed at consumers looking for wines with a sense of place, speaking of the land they come from and playing an active role in preserving the environment, from a social and a natural point of view. “Cantina Tollo has always been safeguarding and preserving nature” states Tonino Verna, chairman at Cantina Tollo. “With this new line we want to cast a light on insects which are the daily companions of our grape growers and are the minuscule keepers of our vineyards, helping preserving the natural balance. Today, more than ever before, we have to carefully observe the signals of the environment, understand it, respect the Earth and produce in a sustainable and conscious way”.
Passopisciaro again a pioneer, with a new Chardonnay
Passochianche, the name of the latest Contrada, or distinctive growing district, recognised by Passopisciaro and dedicated to Chardonnay, is an ancient terraced piece of land on the slopes of Mount Etna, lying between 870 and 950 metres’ elevation.
Andrea Franchetti had already intuited, back in 2000, that this tiny plot of ultra-fine black sand would be an intriguing habitat for Chardonnay, so he planted a high-density vineyard to that grape. From vintage 2018 the winery has decided to bottle it as Contrada PC, shorthand for Passochianche.
“This wine embodies the experience and knowledge that we have gained over the years with our parcels of Chardonnay,” explained Andrea Franchetti, who was a winegrowing pioneer on Etna and creator of the whole concept of Etna wine contrade. “Over the years, during the growing season and, in particular, with the ageing of the vines, many individual terroirs began to impose their own distinctive personality and quality on the fruit. So, year after year, as we applied precision viticultural practices to the various soils, experimenting with different ripeness regimes, we started separating out the various lots of grapes during harvest and vinification. The result is Contrada PC, which is a superb demonstration of how Etna, with the same grape variety, can yield expressions and wine personalities that are so distinct and different from spot to spot.”
The first vintage of Contrada PC, produced in an extremely limited edition, will be shortly released to the market.
Inspired by history and the incomparable beauty of the landscape born the brand Poema to take the family legacy further, respecting the past and always looking into the future.
Every year a limited and numbered edition of Poema in Albariño cradle in Portugal is produced. We are in a magical place on the bank of Minho River, where the family lived peacefully in communion with nature since the seventeenth century.
Like their ancestors, the family work the land with the Alvarinho grape variety.
In 2000 was made a restructuring of vineyards undertaken by their predecessors Hermínio and Maria de Fátima – awarded by the French Ministry of Agriculture in 2003, with the medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole and invaluable source of strength and knowledge.
Located in the northern most part of Portugal, the beauty of the countryside scenery.
Quinta do Louridal is located in Monção-Melgaço region considered the birthplace of the Alvarinho grape variety in Portugal. Vineyards in amphitheatre shape are protected by the mountains, sheltered by the granite soils and spoilt by long sun exposure topped by a soft breeze from the Minho River.
This region, in the Minho River Valley, has a microclimate marked by the transition from an Atlantic to a Continental climate. Hot, dry summers with cool nights and cold humid winters.
We tasted: Poema Reserva 2015
This wine produced from Alvarinho grape variety, is very fresh with a stray yellow color and delicaate sparkling. In the mouth is very mineral wih orange and pineapple aromas. The taste is persistent and balanced, result of the prolonged stage in fine lees.
Ideal with fish, seafood, white meats, ham and soft cheeses.
This wine can be stored for several years to drink with pleasure in good company.
Travelling along the Viale dei Cipressi, one first catches sight of Bolgheri’s roofline and the Tyrrhenian Sea behind it. Then, just a few more minutes and the gates of Ornellaia greet its visitors on their adventure to discover the famous Bolgheri Superiore DOC. Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, it is in fact the ideal time to plan a trip along the Tuscan coast, exploring its villages, and above all to understand where and how one of the Italy’s true treasures emerge: Ornellaia, a wine that has succeeded in positioning itself at the top of international wine charts in only 30 years.
The wine experience starts in the vineyards, on a discovery tour of the different micro-zones, the soil composition of the vineyards, and how the vines are trained. Following the path of the grapes, the journey continues into the cellar, where visitors can see where the wines “take shape” and also admire the art installations that from 2009 to today, one each year, have enriched the Ornellaia collection, thanks to the Vendemmia d’Artista art project.
Even before entering the cellar, visitors can gaze upon some artworks out in the open air: “Happily Ever After” by Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, “Splash” by John Armleder, and Yutaka Sone’s interpretation of L’Eleganza. Once visitors enter the cellar they are struck by the explosion of colours of Luigi Ontani’s installation, followed by those of Zhang Huan, Rebecca Horn, Michelangelo Pistoletto and others along the way. Descending into the heart of the cellar is increasingly exciting: the oak barrels are imposing, and in the air – in a perfect silence – you can almost smell the wine.
At the end of the tour, finally, a tasting of the entire range of the current vintage. Wines include Le Volte dell’Ornellaia, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, and Ornellaia. But there’s more. Ornellaia has saved a truly exclusive surprise for its guests: a tasting of “Variazioni in Rosso dell’Ornellaia”, a cuvée that can only be tasted and bought at the estate. With this limited-production Tuscan IGT, Ornellaia expresses the individuality of each vintage through a particularly distinctive grape variety that the winemaker highlights in the blend. An inimitable tasting experience.
The “Tour & Tasting by Ornellaia” is available with advance booking. For info and prices: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pinot Nero and Sauvignon Blanc are the main grape varieties that in recent years have allowed Pfitscher to be so appreciated in the wine scene. In autumn a new wine will be presented, unique and in limited quantities: the Sauvignon Blanc “Mathias” 2016.
Named after the founder of the Pfitscher Estate, Mathias reflects a grand cru according to the Burgundian model: an authentic “terroir wine”. Land rich in life and minerality, optimal microclimate, old vines and a work in the meticulous vineyard, carried out with strictly natural techniques: all fundamental factors that, in synergy, give life to Mathias.
We find these ideal conditions in the Cru “Katrhreinerfelder” in Fiè allo Sciliar, at 900 m of altitude. In good years this vineyard produces between 1,500 and 2,000 bottles of an excellent wine. Sauvignon Blanc “Mathias” made its debut during the most important trade fairs in Europe and was premiered to a small circle of journalists, thus confirming its extraordinary characteristics of quality and exclusivity.
The Pfitscher family has worked hard to create a great wine, able to seduce by structure, minerality and elegance, like the most famous wines in the world. The “Mathias” 2016 Sauvignon Blanc wine is available in a limited edition of only 1,850 bottles at specialized dealers starting in October.
Masseto takes a leading role in the Christie’s Auction in Hong Kong with Rare Library Releases and an exceptional ‘preview’ of Masseto 2015 in Hong Kong
The ‘Premier Preview Masseto 2015’ lots achieve an equivalent price of € 1,036 per 750ml bottle
Masseto, Italy’s most collectable estate, is proud to announce the results of the unique lots made available directly from the winery which were auctioned during Christie’s Fine and Rare Wine auction held in Hong Kong on May 26, 2018.
Considered one of the world’s greatest investment wines as rated by the Liv-Ex auction index, nineteen rare Masseto library release lots were offered to collectors directly from the Estate and achieved a grand total of €109,791 in sales, marking yet another crowning achievement for the storied wine.
Featuring rare bottlings (6 x 750ml) of Masseto from vintages 1995-2009, and large formats (Magnum, never-before-released Double Magnums, and extremely limited release Imperial bottles dating back to 1995), bidding was very animated, with collectors eager to secure these exceptional wines of provenance.
In addition, a notable highlight of the Christie’s auction was the world-exclusive ‘Premier Preview Masseto 2015’ section, offering collectors and ‘afficionados’ the opportunity to purchase the highly anticipated release of the 2015 vintage Masseto prior to its official release in Fall 2018. This vintage, considered to be among the most coveted wines ever produced by the Estate since its inaugural vintage in 1987, was offered in eight separate lots which included all bottle sizes produced (750ml, magnum, double magnum, and the extremely rare numbered Imperial bottle (5/80) and Nebuchadnezzar bottle (1/10). These lots achieved a grand total of €63,177, which translates into €1,036 per bottle equivalent.
Each lot of Masseto 2015 was offered in original wooden cases with metal plates bearing the text ‘Premier Preview Masseto 2015 – Christie’s Hong Kong – May 2018’ and included a special certificate of origin unique to the lot.
Axel Heinz, Masseto Estate Director and Winemaker remembers, “Vintage 2015 will go down in Masseto’s history as one of the great vintages. The almost textbook-like growing conditions produced a wine with a perfect balance between a mature, yet complex, aromatic expression of great freshness and a rare quality of ample, silky and smooth tannins. The dark and intense color is followed by a rich aroma with hints of fully ripe red fruit and spicy, balsamic and cocoa notes. In the mouth, it becomes sensual and rich, with great density and an ample and perfectly smooth tannin. The fruity notes are balanced by the spicy flavour of wood; its fresh and vivid final taste comes to a close with a hint of cocoa. Given the greatness of the vintage this is a wine which will go on developing over decades to come.”
As with regular bottlings of Masseto, each library release wine sold at the Christie’s Fine & Rare Wine auction on May 26, came equipped with the innovative Prooftag™ technology on the neck of each bottle, guaranteeing authenticity and provenance.
‘‘Christie’s are delighted with the strong results for the lots direct from Masseto with 100% of the lots offered selling and particularly the “Premier Preview Masseto 2015” allowing the lucky buyers to secure this fantastic vintage before general release for sale in the autumn. 6 bottles of Masseto 2015 were sold for HK$ 49,000 and a rare Nebuchadnezzar for HK$ 196,000. We sincerely thank the team at Masseto for the partnership for this special auction”.
Tim Triptree, Director and Senior Specialist, Christie’s
Benefit auction of Ornellaia Wines at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London brings total of £ 123.000 (€ 140.000)
On the event of the tenth edition of the Vendemmia d’Artista project, Ornellaia has raised above of 2 Million euros to benefit art foundations and museums across the globe through the project to date.
Ornellaia was in the spotlight at a benefit auction of 9 lots comprising special bottles created by William Kentridge for the Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma – Vendemmia d’Artista. Stephen Mould, Head of Sotheby’s Wine, Europe, presided at a gala dinner and auction which raised funds to benefit the host sponsoring the event, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, directed by Tristram Hunt.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Vendemmia d’Artista project, Ornellaia has invited South African artist William Kentridge to interpret the character of “Il Carisma” (Charisma). Kentridge is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, sculptures, animations and performances, which he uses to transmute sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories.
The artist William Kentridge created a site-specific masterpiece for the estate, customising a limited series of 111 large-format bottles and designing special edition labels, including a special edition label for a unique Salmanazar bottle (9 litres) using circular anamorphic digital print. In addition – to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Vendemmia d’Artista project – the special edition label will be reproduced on all Magnums and on the lids of their wooden cases. The drawings on the labels were executed on the pages of old Italian cash books found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.
The centrepiece of the project is the wine: Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma. Now in its 30th vintage, the Carisma lives up to its name. The fruit of a particularly well-balanced harvest season, 2015 is without doubt one of the great Ornellaia vintages. The characteristic deep colour announces a wine of great texture and intensity, followed by a fruit-rich nose that is ripe and fresh at the same time, emphasized by classic balsamic and spicy hints. It is rich, dense and full-bodied on the palate, with an exceptional tannic texture. Dense, velvety and refined, this texture extends throughout the palate. The lengthy finish concludes with an impression of firmness and delicate hints of spice.
“Like people of great ‘Carisma’ (Charisma), wines of great vintages know how to impose themselves naturally, without force, their balance allowing them to shine without having to flaunt themselves.”
Axel Heinz, Winemaker and Estate Director.
According to the artist, “The images on the Ornellaia labels are essentially about the work of making wine, and mainly of the vendemmia, the grape harvest. The secateurs come from a memory of the one occasion I took part in a Tuscan vendemmia, when I spent six months in San Casciano outside Florence with my family. This made me understand the human labour involved in making the wine; though what I remember most strongly is the pleasure of the lunch prepared in the vineyards by the local farmer’s wife. A depth of flavour made by the combination of work and terroir. The aspects of wine-making that combine both manual craft and mechanical processes suggested the transformation of people into machines and machines into workers. This is part of an ongoing series of drawings and other work about human labour. The drawings are done on pages from various old Italian cash books found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.”
“South African artist William Kentridge is a true Renaissance Man, a modern-day da Vinci who can lend his hand to drawing, printmaking, animation, sculpture, set design, opera, performance – the list goes on! The designs he has produced for Ornellaia combine so many elements of his work, including his repurposing of old Italian cash books and ongoing exploration of human labour and mechanics, which lend themselves so well to the tradition of winemaking, and to the history and impeccable standards of the Ornellaia estate in particular. The labels he has designed for Ornellaia draw on his Shadow Procession series, as seen in the public mural ‘Triumphs and Laments’ on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, and his latest performance work ‘The Head and the Load’, which premiers in London this summer. One lucky bidder will even get to take home an anamorphic digital print, which only assumes its proper form only when reflected in a mirrored cylinder, in this case making clever use of the form of the Salmanazar wine bottle itself. I think it is no underestimation to say Kentridge is one of the most exciting and versatile artists in the world today, as evidenced in this very special project.”
Hannah O’Leary, Sotheby’s Head of Modern and Contemporary African Art.
“The V&A is thrilled to host Ornellaia, Sotheby’s, and the renowned artist William Kentridge, as they present the 10th edition of Vendemmia d’Artista. We are honoured that Ornellaia have chosen the V&A for this spectacular event and we are hugely grateful for its generous support.”
Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, Victoria & Albert Museum.
“Sotheby’s Wine is proud to participate in our tenth collaboration with Ornellaia’s superb Vendemmia d’Artista art program. We have enjoyed incredibly special events in New York (2010 & 2017), Hong Kong (2012), London (2013), 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. The evening combines great wines and great works of art, culminating in a live benefit auction, where we will raise funds for the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). 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. This is a time for fun, celebration and generosity.”
Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine.
“Sotheby’s is honoured to support the 10th anniversary edition of Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d’Artista, a wonderful project which stimulates the senses with its unique fusion of art and wine. The marriage of one of Italy’s greatest wines with a leading contemporary artist for an excellent cause is a celebratory event, and this year’s special edition scales the heights in bringing together an exceptional vintage, the renowned artist William Kentridge, and a world-famous and beloved museum.”
Stephen Mould, Senior Director, Head of Sotheby’s Wine, Europe.
“Today, as the Vendemmia d’Artista marks its 10th year, it continues to attract funds for the restoration of artworks belonging to our universal heritage. In this ten editions we have succeeded in donating more two million euros across the globe, just a small drop perhaps, but there is much more to come”.
Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO Ornellaia.
Wine buyers and market influencers came from around the world to discover the 2016 vintage and to meet growers and négociants. Some 57% of attendees were foreign visitors, representing 50 countries. The five leading nationalities were American, Italian, Belgian, Chinese and German. The remaining 43% of visitors were French.
Concerning professional activities, the event attracted importers (30%), specialist wine store representatives (21%), restaurateurs and sales agents (9%), and sommeliers (7%). Journalists accounted for 7% of visitors.
Visitors and exhibitors agreed on the quality of this edition: “Everything is done to enable visitors to discover the unique character of the Bourgogne region and its many terroirs.”
We look forward to seeing you in March 2020 for the 15th edition of the Grands Jours de Bourgogne!