Category Archives: Italian wines

2020: the year that changed the world? The story of an extraordinary vintage in the words of Axel Henz

 

2020 will remain in the history books for many reasons, first and foremost for all the emergencies caused by Covid-19, which put the whole world on standby for several weeks. Also from a winemaking point of view, there will be plenty to remember: a dynamic year, full of climate-related twists that maintained an incredible level of suspense until the final days of the harvest. In a few years’ time, 2020 will undoubtedly be remembered as another fine vintage for Bolgheri wines.

Axel Heinz, Estate Director, reports the vintage in his own words:

FIRST, QUIET, THEN THE COVID “STORM”

Nothing in the winter foretold a vintage so different than usual, except for the repeated mild and rainy climate, with temperatures rarely close to 0°C. Nevertheless, at the beginning of March, we just managed to finish the winter vineyard work and to bottle Le Volte dell’Ornellaia before the national lockdown was enforced. Fortunately, the buds took their time and broke in the last week of the month, giving the Ornellaia team time to prepare and organize our work in utmost safety.

A MAGNIFICENT SPRING, TIME OF SERENITY

In April, Mother Nature seemed to want to compensate for the difficulties of the lockdown, gifting the vineyards with textbook conditions until the end of May, with hot, mostly dry days. The vines grew regularly, allowing the leaves to be pruned without too much haste. The flowering and fruit set occurred in perfect conditions during the last week of May. June, on the other hand, proved very wet, accelerating the growth of the vines and upping the pressure for plant treatments. The bunches grew substantially at this time and considerable vineyard management was required to keep the foliage under control.

JULY AND AUGUST: THE LEGEND OF THE BOLGHERI SUMMER IS A FACT

July was hot and dry, essential for initiating the veraison, which developed slowly and punctually towards the end of the month. In August, the temperatures increased further, totalling 47 days above 30°C for the entire season, with frequent highs of 36-37°C, making this summer comparable with 2015.

As we could have expected, the first samples of Sauvignon Blanc at the beginning of August already showed a high sugar concentration, which gave rise to predictions of an early harvest. Fortunately, the high daytime temperatures also dipped under 20°C at night, allowing the grapes to develop their aromatic potential and maintain good acidity.

Meanwhile, the red grapes continued to ripen slowly, creating an interesting phenolic potential. At the end of August, rain arrived in time to alleviate the excessive water stress and lower the temperatures. During the Merlot harvest, the temperatures dipped to 14-15°C at night, perfect for gathering these grapes at the height of their perfume and energy.

HARVEST: ONLY THE RAIN CAN STOP US

The first bunches of Sauvignon Blanc were harvested on 13 August, finishing with the final berries on 25 August. The Viognier harvest saw similar times, from 14 to 28 August, showing moderate sugar levels and excellent acidity. For the reds, the harvest commenced on 3 September with the youngest Merlot vines.

In mid-September, a sudden change occurred: a heatwave shortly before the Merlot and Vermentino harvest had been completed. The sugar levels increased and the berries started to become concentrated, accelerating the ripening. In many vineyards, the harvest had to be carried out in two stages: separating the healthy fruit from the grapes burnt by the sun. The Cabernet was harvested immediately after the Merlot, a rare event for Ornellaia, as too was the simultaneous harvesting of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

A second wave of rain, this time longer, granted a moment of rest for the team during the harvest, which resumed at the end of September, ending earlier than usual, on 3 October. The late harvest of the Petit Manseng noble grapes, used to make the estate’s dessert wine, took place a week later, concluding on 9 October.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE WINES: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

I can certainly say that 2020 will be a successful vintage for all Ornellaia wines,” Axel Heinz concludes his vintage report. 

Given the particularly hot summer, the white grapes were harvested early to preserve their aromas and freshness. The Sauvignon Blanc is very balanced, with moderate alcohol, fresh and juicy acidity, and magnificent expressions of ripe tropical fruit. The Vermentino and Viognier are rich and floral, also showing good energy, while the Petit Manseng achieved concentration levels rarely seen before.

The reds are very promising, with a rich and structured style. The Merlot has a smooth texture and great intensity of fully ripened red fruit, without being heavy. The Cabernet Sauvignon, in some cases, is still fermenting, but early samples reveal wines with a regal poise, darkly hued, with classic notes of plants and blackcurrants, and dense and solid tannins.

It’s no longer a secret that Bolgheri is one of the best places to grow Cabernet Franc, but the level reached with the 2020 vintage remains astounding. Rich and dense, with refined tannins, it literally explodes into notes of blackcurrants, violets and delicate plant aromas.

Tenuta Luce The Luce harvest 2020 Grapes with perfect maturation

 

The yield 2020 is in the cellar. Unique like all the previous vintages, with grapes of high quality.
“Winter was largely dry and mild, conditions that ushered in an early but even budbreak, beginning in the second week of March for Sangiovese and the third week for Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A sunny spring, with some rainfall in May, set the stage for a slightly early but excellent flowering around 25 May, followed by a rapid fruit-set. Summer proved hot and sunny, with almost no rainfall, but sporadic rain in the first three weeks in June had the beneficial effect of preparing the vines to cope well with heat, and the result was a welcome gradual ripening.  In the final week of August, two spells of rain gave relief to the vines and lowered temperatures, allowing the vines to fully complete the ripening process. The harvesting of the first Merlot parcels for Lucente began on 3 September, followed on 10 September with the Merlot for Luce. The grapes were sound and healthy, with ideal ripeness levels; they also showed significant aromatic qualities, thanks to wide day-night temperature differentials over the final weeks of the harvest. We stated picking the Sangiovese on 16 September, and continued through the last week in September. On 30 September, illuminated by a brilliant sun, picking of the Cabernet Sauvignon dedicated to Lux Vitis brought the harvest to a triumphant close.” – Lamberto Frescobaldi
Passion, in a particular year like this, is a modality used all days at Tenuta Luce, in each activity in vineyard and cellar.
Tenuta Luce, founded at the beginning of the 1990s, is an 88 hectares estate of well-tended vineyards located in Montalcino. Thanks to the farsightedness of the owners, the Frescobaldi family, Tenuta Luce brings to life unique wines, bearing the extraordinary qualities of its territory combined with its strong personality. In a short period of time it has risen to be ranked among the most renowned wineries in Tuscany.Its portfolio consists of the standard-bearer Luce, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary with vintage 2017; the second vin Lucente; the Luce Brunello as tribute to Montalcino’s oenological tradition, and few precious bottles of Lux Vitis, a Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Sangiovese.

2020 Harvest underway. How are Italy’s most representative varieties faring?

24 September 2020.  Italy’s harvest is at the halfway point, and we asked, “How are they doing?” about the Country’s most classic grapes.

Vermentino. This grape variety is the very symbol of seaside and vacation, but Italian viticulture offers some quite sophisticated interpretations of it. In Sardinia, where it is one of the principal varieties, Siddùra (37 hectares of vineyard) offers outstanding testimony, with three different Vermentino expressions in rising complexity, Spèra, Maìa, and Bèru. “We picked most of our Vermentino in the first two weeks of September,” reports Director Massimo Ruggero. “Then the temperatures dropped, and we had a couple of brief spells of rain, so we waited a few days, then concluded the harvest on 21 September.” The clusters were sound and healthy, with fine acidities, qualities required to produce a Vermentino that will age well. “The crop level was on a par with previous vintages. Our climate is hot and dry, which Vermentino likes, hydration was always sufficient except for the hottest weeks in July and August, which required focused action to ensure proper soil irrigation”.

Pinot Bianco. Pinot Bianco is another important grape, this time in northern Italy, where, at the foot of the Alps, it achieves rare elegance. Cantina Kaltern (450 hectares of vineyards), one of the largest producers in the Alto Adige region, is approaching the end of its harvest. Technical director Andrea Moser admits that rains in August constituted the main challenge this season, but he says, “I am satisfied with the Pinot Bianco we have brought in so far, particularly the lots that will go into our cru Vial. I am already anticipating a Pinot Bianco of remarkable sapidity. In fact, the lots of fruit that we waited to bring in show textbook ripeness, so they should give us really age-worthy Pinot Biancos.”

Sangiovese. Tuscany’s “royal variety” is the protagonist of some of Italy’s most famous reds: Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, and many renowned IGTs. At Castello di Brolio (240 hectares of vineyard), the Sangiovese harvest started mid September. In the words of Francesco Ricasoli, “We started picking our Sangiovese slightly earlier than the norm. Currently, we’ve brought into the cellar the earliest-ripening parcels and some of our finest cru vineyards, such as Roncicone. Colledilà is almost ready, while the parcels that go to produce CeniPrimo will be harvested at the beginning of October. The Sangiovese is perfectly healthy, thanks to lovely heat in the first half of September.”

Also at Tenuta Luce (88 hectares of vineyard), one of Montalcino’s leading estates, the Sangiovese-harvest has already kicked off. “It is important to be ready to pick at just the right moment,” explains Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi. “We started harvesting our Sangiovese on 18 September, but we will wait a few more days for the clusters dedicated to the cru of Luce Brunello. We are very positive: the fruit is healthy and shows a great aromatic potential. We fully believe that 2020 will be a beautiful vintage for our Brunello of Tenuta Luce.”

In the Tuscan Maremma, on the other hand, the Sangiovese harvest is completed” Yes, the temperatures in August were certainly high,” admitted Ettore Rizzi, owner and production manager at Fattoria Le Pupille (80 hectares under vine), an area leader that has made Maremma and its Morellino famous worldwide. “But we also had cool nights and consistent breezes. We began picking a bit early, and exercised rigorous quality-selection in the vineyard. That paid off, with beautiful, crisp fruit and good phenolic ripeness, very promising conditions for both our Morellino di Scansano and for our well-known cru, Poggio Valente.”

Nebbiolo. Another lead actor on the Italian wine stage is, of course, Nebbiolo, which in Piedmont’s Langhe district makes the revered Barolo and Barbaresco. Pio Cesare (75 hectares of vineyard) is counting down to the harvest. Reports Federica Boffa, fifth-generation owner, “Our Nebbiolos are approaching full ripeness, a point we expect them to reach in about ten days. The sugar levels are excellent, and the components of physiological ripeness are lining up nicely. We should begin harvesting in the first days of October, a bit earlier than in recent seasons.”

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Co. The international varieties have long found in Italy their ideal habitat and yield world-class expressions in certain areas that are now their “home.” Among the iconic producers is Masseto (11 hectares in vines) whose same-named wine is a legend among wine lovers, and Bolgheri-based Ornellaia (115 hectares of vineyard), whose vineyards are a byword for utmost attention and sustainable viticulture. “2020 is great example of the now- unpredictable nature of our weather, “observes Axel Heinz, director of both wine estates. “We have had to deal with challenges on various fronts: a spell of high heat and periods of cooler temperatures and rain. The Merlot is already in the cellar, since we finished picking that variety on 15 September. We are now in the process of picking the first clusters of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The grapes are gorgeous, ripe, with terrific quality.”

Also located in Tuscany, in the enchanted Val d’Orcia’s Sarteano, is Tenuta di Trinoro (23 hectares in vineyard), whose owner, Andrea Franchetti, is still waiting patiently to bring in his Merlot. “September’s waxing moon is coaxing our Merlot into the final stage of ripeness,” he says. “I go out into the vineyard every morning to taste the berries, just to measure the progress they’ve made overnight.” As far as the Cabernet is concerned, though, “We’re still going to have wait a good bit.”

In Trentino, at San Leonardo (30 hectares in vineyard), Marchese Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga too is quite happy with the Merlot he has brought in. “It’s still too early to pronounce an in-depth judgment, but we’re quite confident regarding quality, since the technical figures all line up so well: excellent acidities, solid pH, and moderate sugars, so all this should ensure elegant, crisp wines, which are precisely the hallmarks of our San Leonardo.” Here, too, the Cabernet is waiting for the autumn sun to bring it to final ripeness.

Pinot Noir. This variety may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of Italian viticulture, but the challenging Pinot Noir grape has found a home here too, and in some growing areas delivers sublime wines. One of these is certainly Lombardy’s Oltrepò Pavese, on whose gently-rolling hills Conte Vistarino (200 hectares of vineyards) has been cultivating Pinot Noir since the mid-1800s, producing a line almost exclusively composed of this noble variety. “Out Pinot Noirs have been in for two weeks now, and they are now fermenting,” reports Ottavia Vistarino. “We started on 19 August with the grapes for our sparkling wines, then it was the turn of our red wines, including our crus Pernice, Bertone, and Tavernetto. We were particularly fortunate this year to see a good balance between crop and canopy, which means that the alcohol levels will be contained and the results elegant and refined.”

Nerello Mascalese. The iconic variety of Mount Etna, which makes one of Sicily’s most sought-after wines, is one of the last-harvested grapes. At Passopisciaro (26 hectares of vineyard), one of the very first producers to divine the quality potential of this particular Sicilian terroir, the berries are looking fine indeed and ripeness is proceeding apace, thanks to end-of-summer heat and day-night temperature differentials that vary as much as 20o. Director Vincenzo Lo Mauro exudes positivity: “If weather conditions continue this way, we’ll start picking towards the end of October.” Contrada Rampante, the estate’s highest vineyard area, will be in all likelihood the last to be harvested, but as Lo Mauro, with more than 20 harvests under his belt, underscores, every season speaks its own unique language, and in the world of wine, perhaps more so than in others, one never stops learning.

And how could we argue?

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2018: A classic wine from a classic vintage

 

Ornellaia presents the 2018 vintage of Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, the second vin produced by the Bolgheri estate and an accomplished wine, appreciated by connoisseurs around the world. 

 

The first vintage of this prized cuvée was in 1997 and, year after year, this wine has established itself as a leading expression of its appellation, Bolgheri Rosso DOC. 

 

The character and personality, which vaunt the signature style and savoir-faire of Ornellaia, combine promising ageing potential and inherent amiability. In this latest vintage, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia exhibits aromatic complexity and beguiling tannins, reminding us of the Bolgheri wines from the 2013 and 2010 vintages.

 

2018 benefitted from balanced conditions with spring rainfall, abundantly restocking the water table that had been put to the test during the previously hot summer. After a wet spring, the mild and sunny summer escorted the grapes through to the harvesting weeks in almost perfect conditions. The sugar and acidity developed slowly and the grapes, aided by the well-hydrated soil, reached the right dimensions. September saw high temperatures during the day and cooler conditions at night, which enabled the grapes to preserve their aromas. “After a number of dry years, the conditions in 2018 gave a decidedly autumnal touch to the harvest, the perfect premise for a particularly balanced vintage of great aromatic complexity.”

 

Each individual parcel of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was harvested and vinified separately. After the first 12 months of refinement in barriques, the wine was blended before ageing for a further three months in wood and subsequently bottled as Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia.

 

Winemaker Olga Fusari describes it as a “wine of great aromatic complexity, a distinguishing feature of the vintage. Amidst aromas of berries, blackberries, raspberries and red cherries, floral overtones of eglantine unfurl alongside spiced notes of pink pepper and liquorice. This is a charming and well balanced Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, well structured, with a crisp and flavourful finish.

 

As we wait for the debut of Ornellaia 2018 expected in the spring, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2018 reveals the hallmarks of this vintage, while providing intense pleasure by the glass in a promise of joy and evolution over time. A classic wine from a classic vintage that fully expresses the Bolgheri DOC territory.

12th edition of ORNELLAIA VENDEMMIA D’ARTISTA

Sotheby’s to auction artistic bottles designed by Tomás Saraceno

From 1st to 9th September, 12 prized lots of
Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017 “Solare” will be auctioned online

In support of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s
access program “Mind’s Eye”.

Sotheby’s online auction will commence on the 1st of September for the prized bottles of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017 “Solare” (translated in English as “Radiant”) designed by the Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno, renowned internationally for his interactive installations that allude to new sustainable ways of living on our planet in this age of ecological turmoil.

“We are delighted to collaborate on our tenth auction with Ornellaia’s exceptional Vendemmia d’Artista programme, having enjoyed spectacular events over the past decade in New York, Hong Kong, London, Toronto, Basel, Los Angeles and Venice. For the second consecutive year, the special auction celebrating the 2017 “Solare” will be offered online. The sublime marriage of art and wine in these unique large format bottles is a winning combination that will prove enticing to collectors around the world,” comments Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine.

“We are grateful to Ornellaia for their continued involvement in the visual arts and their support of the Mind’s Eye’s program offered both on-site and online,” Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation stated. “Thanks to the generosity of Ornellaia, we are able to expand the programs that allow us to promote the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art to a wider public.”

 

The issue of environment sustainability is particularly dear to Ornellaia, which has focused on self-sustaining ecosystems for some time now through precision agriculture. Due to this attention to the soil management, gentle handling of the grapes and a slightly earlier harvest, Ornellaia 2017 is a wine of surprising harmony. Axel Heinz, director of the Bolgheri estate, explains, “In this year of extremes, in which frost, sun and drought all played a decisive role, we succeeded in bringing blackberry and liquorice to the wine, alongside the velvety tannins typical of hot vintages; at the same time, superb envelopment and acidity instil Mediterranean sumptuousness in the wine.”

Simultaneously, in creating the artwork dedicated to the radiance of Ornellaia 2017, Tomás Saraceno sought inspiration in the alliance between the Sun and populated systems of life. The estate’s site-specific installation, which will be installed on the estate, will consist in glass spheres that, resembling clouds, form a magical floating city ideally powered by the heat of the sun. A take on this concept is the sculpture, titled “PNEUMA 4.21×105”, which tops the impressive 9-litre Salmanazar, the most prestigious lot at the auction. The artist has personalized in total 111 large-format bottles, depicting the various phases of a solar eclipse, in addition to crafting a special label, which will uniquely feature in every box containing six 750ml bottles of Ornellaia. All the labels are thermo-chromic and change colour with the heat of one’s hand, inviting to reflection about the impact of humanity on the planet.

These works of wine and art will be auctioned online on Sotheby’s website from 1st to 9th of September. All those who register on www.sothebys.com/ornellaia will be able to view the lots, leave a bid and take part in the auction. Collectors from around the world can bid for a piece of this incredible collection, while also extending a gesture of generosity. Like last year, profits from the auction will go to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to support the “Mind’s Eye” program.

“In the last 11 years,” explains CEO of Ornellaia, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaia, “Ornellaia has donated over two million dollars to various institutions in the art world, from the Whitney Museum in New York to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the Fondation Beyeler near Basel, the Royal Opera House in London and the H2 Foundation in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Starting in 2019, we wished to make a contribution to the development of artistic perception by the blind and visually impaired, which is why we decided to support the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s ‘Mind’s Eye’ program.”

 

 

Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2018

Mediterranean elegance and the colour of light

One of the estate’s established wines, Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2018 has just finished a year of bottle refinement and is ready to dazzle even the most discerning palates. Consisting mainly of Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Vermentino and Viognier, this white wine by Ornellaia elegantly embraces the estate style in a more approachable manner.

 

“Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2018 boasts a sumptuous structure and luminous straw yellow colour,” comments the estate’s winemaker Olga Fusari. “This vintage, which started with rain but finished with sunshine, distinguished itself with an extended and slightly later harvest. We sense the result in the overtones of exotic fruit, accompanied by white peach and delicate vanilla nuances. The wine is generous and smooth on the palate, in addition to having standout opulence and richness, which makes for a refreshing and enduring finish”.

 

After a hot vintage like 2017, 2018 reinvigorates and soothes with its cold winter months and considerable spring rainfall. The Mediterranean microclimate worked its magic in July, providing dry, sunny days. In turn, the cooler September nights enabled the vines to regain and preserve their aromas and acidity. These perfect conditions permitted the Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier harvest to begin on 16 August and continue until mid-September. Vermentino bunches were delivered to the cellar between 17 and 25 September. 

 

To achieve such elegant and complex wines in the Ornellaia style, the quality of the grapes is essential. Equally important are the care taken and the techniques employed in the cellar during vinification and refinement. First selected in the vineyard and again in the cellar, the grapes are gently pressed, and the ensuing must is moved partly into new and used barriques, and partly into steel and concrete vats. The wine alternates between ageing on the fine lees with regular batonnage for six months, which is an important step in crafting the character of Ornellaia whites. Finally, every single parcel is tasted and calibrated for the final blend, which rests in the bottle for a year. “Our Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia is an expressive wine with an enjoyable complexity as soon as it is released to market,” explains estate director Axel Heinz. “That doesn’t make it predictable: the wine’s opulence and richness, hallmarks of the Tuscan coast, bestow depth and an ability to stand the test of time”.

 

Regardless of whether it is enjoyed soon or set aside for a while, Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia encapsulates the sunlight of the land, to which this wine owes its unmistakable Mediterranean character. The unique microclimate of the estate, an authentic gift of nature, becomes a rich and juicy white with a lively vein of acidity, a product of the sea breeze along the Tuscan coast which caresses and nourishes the vines.

 

The name ORNELLAIA is synonymous of fine winemaking and an authentic expression of the beauty of Tuscany. The estate is situated along the Tuscan coastline, a short distance from the medieval town of Bolgheri and the iconic cypress-lined approach. Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Superiore and Ornellaia Bianco are the estate’s top wines, ensued by the second vin Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia and the white Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia. In little over thirty years (the first vintage of Ornellaia was in 1985), the team’s dedication accompanied by optimal soil and microclimate has resulted in critical acclaim and public success within Italy and internationally. 

 

Cantina Tollo: organic and vegan certified wines made with native grapes of Abruzzo

 

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”.

 

A new Contrada emerges on Mount Etna: Passochianche

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.

From Volcanic hills, Reassi wines

Few kilometers from Padua in the Euganean hills, a family wine estate totally devoted to organic vineyards, transform grapes into wine for more than one hundred years. This is Azienda Agricola “Reassi extended over an area of about 6 hectares, where the favorable position of the land, together with volcanic soils, guarantees the grow of vines with optimal results.

The ancient volcanic cone of the Euganenan hills has a rich and diverse geological composition. Sedimentary limestone of marine origin lies below the unique Euganean marls, which cover the volcanic subsoils formed during the last period of volcanic activity, rich in basalt, tracheae, rhyolite and lalite.

In this ideal environment there is a continual search of the ultimate expression of the terroir using techniques reinforced by modern technology while maintaining respect for ancient traditions.

The company philosophy reflects the characteristics of the land, concentrating predominately on autochthonous vines.

 

Reassi’s wine production:

  • Antichi ReassiColli Euganei Pinello. Bubbles mean fun. This festive wine is perfect as an aperitif or for a dinner with friends. Easy to drink, it is ideal for welcoming guests and it can accompany snacks between meals or a casual lunch.
  • Sparviere – Colli Euganei Cabernet. A versatile wine that flatters a wide range of foods. The ideal pairing for bigoli (a typical Veneto pasta) with duck ragu, braised game with polenta and grilled steak.
  • Tre frazioni – Colli Euganei Rosso. The most serious wine; the grapes come from a vineyard that borders the three villages of our municipality. Perfect with game and roasted or grilled beef.
  • Terre d’argilla – Colli Euganei Manzoni Bianco. Its fresh and fruity aromas make this wine seem “happy-go-lucky” but with its structure and complexity it has a more serious side as well. Smart and fun! Excellent with risotto or homemade egg pasta, oven-baked fish and soft cheeses.
  • Vin Bastardo – Marzemina Nera Bastarda, Turchetta, Corbina. Perfect for casual get-togethers with friends and with snacks typical of the Veneto region: fried polenta with salami, cotechino, Prosciutto or homemade sopressa.
  • Arche’ – Colli euganei Merlot. Many people consider Merlot an international grape, but to us it is a traditional variety. Archè prefers starters with delicate sauces, lamb and mushroom or vegetable dishes.
  • OP! – Opera Prima Spumante Metodo Classico. For those who love the Classical Method. Opera Prima is an ideal alternative to Franciacorta or Champagne. Perfect for celebrating special occasions or for making any occasion special. Ideal with risotto, white meats or tartare.
  • Fior d’Arancio – Colli Euganei Spumante Dolce Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. Life always needs a little sweetness! This is a sparkling wine to be enjoyed at the end of a meal with pastries, cakes, fruit plates or as an enchanting addition to aperitif cocktails.

Ca ‘Lustra, an exciting journey in a unique land

 

Ca’ Lustra is a path, now more than 40 years long, in a land rich in history and character.

The cellar is located on the southern slopes of Monte Venda, the highest Euganean hill.

The Euganean Hills are a true school of geology in the open air, highlighting very particular volcanic phenomena, whose legacy is made of clear siliceous rocks often interspersed with limestones of different ages and origins.

 

The wine-growing vocation of the Euganean Hills derives from their extraordinary geology, evident in the alternation of generous volcanic soils to much more arid marine sediments. A variability that we support with patience and experience, field by field, with the dual purpose of safeguarding the natural environment and enhancing the “cru” details. For consistency and tangible influence on the quality of the products we have chosen since 2008 to grow organically in a territory that is today, in addition to the Natural Park founded in 1989, also Biodistretto and UNESCO candidate.

 

The Muscat and Bordeaux vines are the most important in terms of expressiveness and diffusion. Evidence of the presence of Muscat in these areas dates back to the 1st century AD. The moscato bianco, with excellent freshness and delicate hints of flowers and aromatic herbs, enriches the moscato giallo which releases sweet and intense notes, nectarines.

The Fior d’arancio represents the appreciated DOCG, especially in the passito version, awarded periodically in many guides. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, widespread in Roman times, integrated perfectly into the environment of the Euganean Hills to give us Bordeaux wines of great pleasure, structure and longevity.

The deep knowledge of the territory, the constant experimentation, the belief in healthy products through organic cultivation, are the basis of the company’s personality.

The production commitment is divided into 2 lines:

• Wines Ca’ Lustra Bontà, simplicity and recognizability where product and territory are intended as sincere identity in the bottle. They are wines that carry the volcanic and Mediterranean character of this small acrocore of over 100 hills that emerged from the waters of the Adriatic just 30/50 million years ago.

• Select Zanovello Studio, experience, need for comparison and progress. From the historical research on the first Venetian and Euganean civilizations follows a cultural path in which we insert ourselves with the fruit of our work today. For this reason, in the “Zanovello” label, the current sign fits into the old one, shown in the characters of ancient Venetian writing.

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