Category Archives: HOT NEWS

Bolgheri: the harvest begins at Ornellaia

Wine lovers can expect a characterful and stylish vintage.

Just one game that’s played once a year, the strength of a team that loves their land and deeply cares about every single detail to achieve the epitome of elegance… these are the requirements to begin the “2021 Harvest”.

Midsummer has passed, the holidays are over and nature is already calling growers back to the vines. In 2021, the growth of the vineyards was delayed by a rather cool spring, which slowed the budbreak before a summer that proved hot and very dry.

The lack of rainfall right up to the harvest is reminiscent of classic Bolgheri vintages such as 2016 and 2015, which both involved long, dry spells of drought. The unique, local soil composition, profound with high percentages of limestone and clay, enables the roots of the vines to delve into the deepest layers in search of water, with the aim of withstanding extended periods of drought.

“The sunny and dry spell helped the white grapes to ripen in the earlier vineyards,” comments Estate Director, Axel Heinz. “Over the next few days, much-welcome lower temperatures are expected, which will create the perfect conditions to conclude the ripening and to harvest the Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, which is likely to take place during the week of 23 August.”

In the meantime, the 2021 harvest began at Ornellaia on 18 August with the harvest of the first few bunches of the estate’s Sauvignon Blanc. A little more patience is required for the red grapes: another two weeks are needed before the harvest can commence.

’20 anni’ Passopisciaro celebrates two decades on Etna with a one-of-a-kind wine

This year, Passopisciaro, the Mount Etna producer that launched that area’s wine renaissance, is celebrating the 20th year since its first harvest with a special-edition magnum of Nerello Mascalese, for collectors and connoisseurs of rare, one-of-a-kind wines.

Falling under the fascination of these black, volcanic-sand soils and intuiting, as early as the start of the millennium, their superb potential, Andrea Franchetti bottled his first Passorosso (then called Passopisciaro) in 2001, a blend of lots from a number of parcels of old vines.

Franchetti won appreciation for first understanding—and introducing—the so-called Contradas, districts on the mountain, as true crus, then solidified his role as a benchmark by producing five of these exquisitely terroir wines. The value of that initiative was underscored and broadened by his creation in 2007 of the “Contrade dell’Etna” annual wine appointment. Etna’s vocation for high-quality viticulture soon became recognised throughout the world, as did its powerfully magnetic attraction.

Today, Etna no longer needs an introduction. Its contradas offer fascinating readings of the volcano’s historic eruptions and imprint their individual wines with strong personalities. To celebrate this intriguing land, an integral part of one of the world’s most active volcanos, Passopisciaro has bottled a magisterial cuvée of the finest lots from all the estate vineyards, a shimmering red quintessence produced in only 1,550 magnums. The label is spare and minimal, bearing the name “20 anni” (20 years), the winery logo, and the personal signature Franchetti on a white background. 20 anni is additionally unique in that it was produced solely in 2019.

20 anni crowns two decades of achievements on Mt. Etna, the distillation of intuitions, passion, expertise, and experience. Says Andrea Franchetti, “I wanted to create a cuvée of Nerello Mascalese from all the contradas of Passopisciaro as an homage to this magnificent earth, to the years that have passed, and to the future that awaits us.”

The 2019 growing season was ushered in by a capricious spring, which brought light freezes that set back vine growth and resulted in looser than normal clusters. By harvest, though, the grapes

had achieved perfect balance between phenolic and physical ripeness, which yielded “wines with supple fruit and superb linearity” and well-calibrated alcohols. 

20 anni brings together the seductive spiciness of Sciaranuova, the firm structure of Guardiola, the delicate florality of Rampante, the succulent red berryfruit of Porcaria, and the pungent vegetal notes of Chiappemacine, crafting an exquisite embodiment of the Passopisciaro terroir.

Franchetti goes back in his mind to his initial encounter with Etna: “My first impressions when I arrived, in winter, were bleak. It seemed as though the volcano had been abandoned. Wineries were scattered loosely and in disorder over its slopes, amidst untended brush and dry-stone walls that disappeared up the mountain. The idea of restoring those exposed vineyards so high up there seemed absurd. And at that very moment, Etna erupted at the summit. On the other hand, being up there so high attracted me.”

Today, those slopes vaunt a geometrical garden of vineyards, and their vines are major protagonists in a history with many pages yet to be written. 

The Estate. Passopisciaro practices a precision viticulture obsessively respectful of nature, relying 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. In addition to Passorosso, Passobianco and the contrada crus, Passopisciaro’s portfolio boasts the prestigious Franchetti cuvée, composed of Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile.

Andrea Franchetti also owns Tenuta di Trinoro, in Sarteano in Tuscany’s magnificent Val d’Orcia, famous for its legendary Bordeaux blend named after the estate.

DURELLA SPARKLING, LIKE A GOOD MUSIC

The Durella, an ancient vineyard, is said to date back to 1200.

It belongs to the Veronese Prealps and is best expressed and enhanced by the classic method. A thick skin, an important acidity at times almost angular.

With its wild and vigorous, exuberant and dynamic nature, does it make us think of something?

More than the description of a wine it would seem that of a music!

Music and wine. Wine and music, an ancient combination, an ancestral link.

“Let’s free in the happy glasses”, from Giuseppe Verdi’s Traviata, “But how beautiful wine is ….” by Piero Ciampi.

A powerful bond, a perfect match, even if risky, helps us to enter into what the wine wants to tell us!

Each person has their own music, each wine has its own song and this can influence their perception, taste, memory, mood.

And if Durella were music, what song would it be?

A symphony n.41 by Mozart? With harmonious and balanced proportions in perfect Mozartian style and contrasts between slow movements and sequences of timbral oppositions.

What’s love go to do with it by Tina Turner? Iconic, physical, logical! Sparkling and wild, Make my pulse react!

Bandiera Bianca, by Franco Battiato? Political, revealing, who aims at spiritual development, with a solid rhythm and a decisive and energetic attitude.

Stop and listen, three music and three different shades, tasting Durello Lessini sparkling classic method, because Durella is like good music!

Sanna Sebastiano

Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2019

All the elegance of the Mediterranean

Upbeat and generous is how Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2019 makes an appearance after a year in the cellar divided between wood, concrete and steel and 12 months bottle ageing. Predominantly Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Vermentino and Verdicchio, this Ornellaia white wine is an elegant expression of the care and style maintained by the estate. The grapes grow in small parcels along the Tuscan coast surrounded by Mediterranean shrub, gravel lanes and maritime pines.

“Poggio alle Gazze 2019 is the result of a late harvest,” winemaker Olga Fusari comments. “The extended harvest times proved favourable to the aromatic expression of the wine, which we find in the intense notes of citrus and exotic fruit accompanied by scent of freshly mowed grass and asparagus. The palate is vibrant and refreshing with a lingering mineral finish.”

2019 was characterised by highly variable conditions, which alternated periods of cold and rain with bouts of drought and heat, resulting in a ten-day delay in the budbreak. Growth resumed in June after long, sunny days. The weather remained fine for the rest of the summer, with the exception of two days of rain in late July, which restored the temperatures to the seasonal average and provided perfect conditions for the gradual and full ripening of the bunches. The Sauvignon Blanc harvest began on 19th of August and continued until the first days of September, while the Vermentino and Verdicchio, as later ripening varieties, reached peak maturity in mid-September.

The care taken with the grapes and their growth in the vineyard before cellaring reflect a deep respect for the ecosystem aimed at maintaining its stability, nurturing the integrity of the soil and the self-regulation of the vines. Everything at Ornellaia is done with attention and awareness centred on sustainability, which includes vineyard management at nature’s pace and the wellbeing of the winery’s employees.

Combined with the coastal microclimate, these elements result in the uniquely personable wines produced at Ornellaia: a chorus of multiple voices that convey the beauty, influence of the sea and light. The winemaking processes pay the utmost respect to the grapes and the result is always beguiling. “Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia owes its elegant Mediterranean style to the unique microclimate that we have here at Ornellaia,” Estate Director Axel Heinz explains. “This authentic gift of nature enables us to craft a wine that vaunts a sumptuous body with ripe, fruity notes in a style of great finesse, which is the hallmark of Ornellaia.”

After this long journey from vineyard to bottle, the 2019 vintage will occupy centre stage in a new project in the finest restaurants along the Italian coast. For “Ambasciatori di Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia” (Ambassadors of Poggio alle Gazze), 10 chefs will devise a special dish to showcase the personality of the wine. The restaurants will include a vertical tasting of four vintages of Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia on the wine list and an especially paired recipe on the menu.

Vinchio Vaglio: the Nest of Barbera

The story of the Vinchio and Vaglio winery is a love story where the inhabitants of these two villages transformed a difficult and poor, inarable land with slopes so steep that some local sayings proved true: “S’ot dròca la colassion, it la treuvi pì!” (if you drop your breakfast, you won’t find it again!) or “S’ot dròca ël bertin, ot toca curije drera fin ant la val” (if your hat blows off in the wind, you’ll need to run down to the end of the valley to get it”). The name results from both Vinchio and Vaglio Serra villages where 19 vine growers used to live and founded the cooperative in 1959. The winery is located in Piedmont, Monferrato, core zone of UNESCO World Heritage Patrimony, right at the foot of the Alps. This area with its steep slopes and overhanging vineyards at the edge of the woods has been tended and “tamed” to dramatic effort, where every single drop of the “Ruby of Vinchio” (Barbera wine) equates to thousands of drops (and certainly not an exaggeration!) of farmers’ sweat. However, the vineyards have never failed to reward their hard work. These vine rows, in fact, repay the industrious farmers with grapes of rare and exceptional quality. Nowadays the cooperative represents 192 family vine growers who take daily care of 450 hectares mostly planted in Barbera grapes (60% of our production) and all other indigenous grapes from Piedmont such as Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Ruché, Albarossa, Grignolino, Arneis, Cortese, Moscato and Brachetto. The territory is characterized by a distinctive terroir of calcareous soils and sandy soils in Vinchio and mostly clay soils in Vaglio Serra what makes the Barbera of Vinchio Vaglio unique for the structure (white soils), elegance (sandy soils) and aromas (clay soils). The sun usually shines all day on these hills, there is seldom hoarfrost or fog and no shadow. Great wines grow on these hills.

Tenute Silvio Nardi ‘s Brunello 2016, A natural cycle of elegance

2016 has already won recognition as a stellar vintage for Brunello, with superbly balanced wines. For Tenute Silvio Nardi, this vintage displays the hallmarks of a particularly felicitous conjunction of factors.

Emilia Nardi, head of the family operation, explains: “Over the last 30 years, we have gradually replanted all our vineyards, following a massive zonation project, and in addition, we launched a significant programme of clonal selection. The results are that today, our vineyards are magnificently expressive.”

Brunello Tenute Silvio Nardi is a cuvée of grapes grown in a full 54 individual parcels on the two properties that compose the wine estate. Casale del Bosco, in the north-east quadrant of Montalcino, where the historic winery is located, is wooded and still wild, while Manachiara lies in the sunny, gently-rolling hills in the southeast. The voices of these vineyards’ “chorus” are even further tuned by precision viticulture and separate vinifications. After individual maturations, the lots find their common expression in the assembly of the cuvée, composed with the assistance of the exceptionally sensitive palate of consulting winemaker Eric Boissenot.

Zonation, soils, clones, elevation, aspect, and, obviously, the hand of man are critical for producing a great wine, but a favourable climate is just as important, and weather conditions in 2016 have been just perfect. Following spring rains that lasted into mid-June, sun and cool breezes got the upper hand. Heat in July, which averaged over 30oC, providentially alternated with sporadic rains in August, which brought temperatures down as low as 12oC, ushering in the cool conditions necessary for a high-quality crop, and a slow, gradual ripening allowed tannins and aroma precursors all the time they needed to develop. The first picking started in mid-September and concluded in October.  

“After years of intense work on our vineyards, and with the fortunate kiss of 2016, I am pleased to state that the elegance achieved by our Brunello 2016 represents a great milestone for us, but the starting point as well for striving further,” concluded Emilia.

The wine exhibits an impressive balance of red berries and purple fruit, with a near-endless progression infused with mineral and vegetal aromatic impressions, all supported by a lively acidity and firm tannins that promise an enviable development over 10 years or more.    

Monterosola, award-winning wines from ancient land

Situated on a plateau at 430 meters altitude, above two ancient, wooded valleys with far-reaching views to the coast. Monterosola “hill of poppies” is one of Tuscany’s finest contemporary wineries.

Resting on a hillside overlooking the medieval city of Volterra, the Monterosola estate combines traditional winemaking techniques with state-of-the art technology. Just 50km from the coastal region of Bolgheri and 30km from the world-famous hills of Chianti, Monterosola sits amidst some of the best wine growing locations in the world.

Monterosola has its own complex microclimate which provides vines with the optimum growing conditions. Here, a regular breeze promotes the natural health and energy of the vines, which, in turn, produce the very best grapes.

With 25 hectares of vineyards producing both white and red wines, the estate also has olive groves, woodlands, gardens, lakes and pastures.

A destination winery

The estate has been producing excellent wines since 2003 yet it entered an exciting era in 2013 when the land was purchased by the Thomaeus family who recognised the true potential of the terroir. In 2015 the family embarked on an impressive project, to design and build a grand-scale cantina with purpose-built facilities for wine tastings and events.

At Monterosola the wine production methods are supervised by Alberto Antonini who has previously worked with some of Italy’s most prestigious cantinas including Antinori and Frescobaldi.  

 

MASTIO

A beautiful rich ruby in colour with elements of ripe fruits on the nose with a hint of red cherry, strawberries almonds and green herbs. A well-balanced combination of elegance and intensity on the palate with soft tannins and a generous aftertaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 CRESCENDO

Deep garnet colour with flavours of rich cherries, dried herbs, sweet oak, spices, black tea and toasted almonds. Both intense and complex on the palate it is powerful yet refined with a lengthy finish. Crescendo has great aging potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 CASSERO

A sophisticated single variety Vermentino, straw yellow coloured with youthful green highlights. Enjoys an elegant and consistent aroma with hints of white flowers, grapefruit, pear, white peach and a pleasing minerality. Fresh and well balanced on the palate with a lingering light finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PRIMO PASSO

A warm light golden colour. Intense and elegant aromas come to the fore, ripe apricot, peach, citrus zest and minerality evolve into a hint of sweet spice. A generous, silky and balanced wine with an authentic personality. Remarkable aftertaste.

http://www.monterosola.com

Ornellaia & Masseto CEO Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja announces a new Sales and Marketing Director

Today, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of both the Ornellaia and Masseto estates, announced a change in the management team for the two wineries. Vianney Gravereaux will join the team as Sales and Marketing Director alongside Axel Heinz, Estate Director, as of 1 April 2021. Tim Banks, who has held the position to date, will return to France, where he will continue to work in the wine world.

After nine years of close collaboration, Tim Banks receives a warm farewell: “I thank Tim personally for his professional contribution to the company’s success as well as his personal contribution in forming a team and relations, for which he will not be forgotten easily,” confirms Giovanni Geddes. “At the same time, I am delighted to continue this journey with Vianney. I’m certain that we will achieve new goals together.”

Vianney Gravereaux, French by birth but multilingual by vocation, has vast international experience in the fine wine world, which he honed while working for globally renowned brands such as Philipponnat, Salon and Peugeot Saveurs. Formerly International Sales Manager for Masseto, Gravereaux was asked to take on the new role, an offer which he has enthusiastically embraced: “When I visited Ornellaia a few years ago, I was astounded by the exceptional quality of the wines and the place where they are made. I never thought that I would become part of the impressive Masseto team in 2020 and that, only a year later, I would have been offered the role of Sales and Marketing Director for both estates. Continuing the work carried out by Tim Banks will be an exciting challenge, which I cannot wait to begin.”

Ornellaia’s current team consists of winemaker Olga Fusari and Brand Manager Greta Roscioni; Eleonora Marconi and Susanne Weber hold these positions respectively at Masseto. Elena Oprea is the Communications Manager across both brands.

Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019

 

Vibrant and expressive, released on 1st March

Many components define the style of Ornellaia, the renowned Bolgheri estate, but the underlying philosophy is reflected in all the wines produced on the estate. Le Volte dell’Ornellaia is no exception. A predominantly Merlot-based cuvée, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019 is “a vibrant, expressive and well-balanced wine, the perfect introduction to Ornellaia for every wine lover”,according to estate director,Axel Heinz.

2019 was characterized by a highly variable climate, which alternated cold and wet spells with long bouts of drought and heat. After a normal winter, budbreak took place in the first week of April. The rainy conditions throughout April and May slightly delayed flowering compared to usual, but plant development recovered in June due to bright days. All summer long, the weather remained hot and sunny, except for two days of rain in late July, which readjusted the temperature to the seasonal norm with ideal conditions for the gradual and complete ripening of the grapes.

The harvest began with the Merlot on 5th September and the last of the Cabernet reached the cellar on 4th October. As usual, in the last week of September, falling temperatures preserved the vintage’s finesse and aromatic freshness. The different grapes were fermented separately in small steel tanks in order to maintain their varietal characteristics. The wine was then aged for 10 months, partly in barriques used previously for Ornellaia and partly in concrete tanks.

Versatile and immediate, “Le Volte dell’Ornellaia combines a Mediterranean expression of generosity with structure and complexity,” winemaker Olga Fusari comments. “With its bright ruby red, intense scents of red berries and rose petals are clearly distinguishable on the nose, while on the palate the taste is full-bodied and enveloping, characterized by dense tannins and a vibrant acidity which make this a pleasing and enjoyable wine”. Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019 will be available on all markets, ready to bring joy to wine lovers on these early sun-filled days.

Etna: Pure excitement

While the spectacular eruption transfixes the world, Passopisciaro remembers its first vintage 20 years ago

 

The last two weeks put the spotlight on the world’s most active volcano: Etna. 

The pyrotechnics included erupting fountains of lava that surged to 1,000 metres above the upper crater and incandescent flows that held the world media spellbound. 

In this unique, always-restless environment, continuously providing intense excitement, grow some of Italy’s most prized vineyards. Passopisciaro, Etna’s iconic wine estate on its north slope, has for 20 years served as a benchmark for the area’s wine production. For it was here, exactly two decades ago, that the first harvest of the all-Nerello Mascalese Passorosso (than called Passopisciaro) arrived in the cellar and launched the local winemaking renaissance—thanks to Andrea Franchetti, the visionary who firmly believed in the quality of this volcanic earth and promoted the concept of Contrade wines, cru wines whose world-class quality he clearly foresaw.  

Today, Passopisciaro produces five red Contrada wines: Rampante, Chiappemacine, Porcaria, Guardiola, and Sciaranuova, all ready to be released with the new 2019 vintage in June, while Passorosso, whose 2019 is scheduled for September, is a blend of all five, the quintessence of Franchetti’s style and a subtly-woven tapestry of these vineyards lying at up to 1,000 metres. The Chardonnay-based whites are Passobianco and the knife-edged Contrada PC, introduced two years ago, grown in a small sand-rich parcel at the highest part of the estate.

The Estate. Passopisciaro practices a precision viticulture obsessively respectful of nature, relying 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. In addition to Passorosso, Passobianco and the contrada crus, Passopisciaro’s portfolio boasts the prestigious Franchetti cuvée, composed of Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile.

Andrea Franchetti also owns Tenuta di Trinoro, in Sarteano in Tuscany’s magnificent Val d’Orcia, famous for its legendary Bordeaux blend named after the estate.

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