Category Archives: Italian wines

125 Years of Castello di Querceto

La Corte 2019: Interpreter of the past and present

The origins of Castello di Querceto, with its crenellated tower, date back to the Middle Ages, but the milestone being celebrated by the François family this year is an impressive 125 years as wine producers.

It was in 1897, in fact, in Dudda, in the commune of Greve in Chianti, that Carlo François purchased Castello di Querceto. Even then, estate-grown wine was being made within its venerable cellars from the surrounding vineyards, and Carlo, immediately recognising the innate quality of its Sangiovese, began to make a monovarietal from a small vineyard parcel of particular promise. That was the ancestor of La Corte, and a few bottles, dated 1904, still survive. A few years later, in 1924, Castello di Querceto became a founding producer of the Consorzio Chianti Classico.

The estate’s modern history, however, begins with Alessandro François, and his pioneering concept of the Chianti Classico cru. Since the 1970s, he has been minutely studying every individual plot on the estate, and, confirming the ground-breaking intuitions of his grandfather, he determined that the qualities of that very same parcel merited his first single-vineyard wine. La Corte thus debuted officially in 1978 as an IGT Toscana, produced from that 3.4-hectare vineyard lying at an elevation of 450 metres, planted with a south-southwest-facing exposure in sandy soils.     

Over the following decades, other singular expressions enriched the collection, and Castello di Querceto became a benchmark for the entire denomination, a growing area for which Alessandro and his wife Antonietta have been ambassadors literally across five continents, exporting their wines to over 50 countries. Today, Simone and Lia François work side by side with their father in managing the wine estate, as do their respective spouses Stefania and Marco, sharing responsibility for hospitality, administration, and export. 

Over the years, research at the Castello has proceeded uninterrupted. The introduction of precision viticulture has proved decisive, as well as minimal intervention in the winemaking process; both testify to the philosophy of striving to highlight the distinctive characteristics of each individual vineyard parcel. 

The historic La Corte cru fully embodies this approach. With the 2017 vintage, it became a Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, thus joining the other prestigious cru, Il Picchio, which has been a Gran Selezione since 2011. “Both of these Sangiovese wines have always so impressed us that they deserved to bear the denomination’s highest quality designation,” commented Simone François.

“At 125 years from the founding of Castello di Querceto,” added Alessandro François, “La Corte continues to gift us a vibrant, comprehensive, and eloquent expression of our terroir. It amply demonstrates the incredible qualities of this growing area, as well as of the denomination that we are so proud to be a part of.”

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione La Corte 2019, released just recently on the market, is the fruit of a growing season which proved well-balanced and of impressive quality. Generous rainfall in the spring filled groundwater reserves that helped the vines cope with a dry summer. The heat was not excessive, however, thanks to Castello di Querceto’s elevation and to significant day-night temperature differences. Finally, very favourable weather in September and October allowed the winery to push back the start of harvest. The results were ideally-ripe clusters that yielded a taught, clean-edged, pleasurable Sangiovese.    

“All in all, a perfect vintage for our celebration of such an important anniversary,” concluded Simone François, fourth generation of a family fiercely proud of its traditions, and one whose long history gives it the ability to see far into its future.


The winery, along with its agriturism and luxuriant park, lies in Dudda, in a small valley in the hills high above Greve, in north-central Tuscany. Here, the François family grow their wines in some 65 hectares of estate vineyards, subdivided into 26 individual parcels planted in Cretaceous-Eocene polychrome schists. In addition to the Chianti Classico line, led by the two Gran Selezione crus, La Corte and Il Picchio, the portfolio boasts various IGT crus, Il Cignale, Il Querciolaia, Il Sole di Alessandro (Cabernet Sauvignon), and QueRceto Romantic, an elegant blend of Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Syrah.

Citizenship in the contemporary world and responsibility to the local environment and to future generations require a commitment to sustainability, and thus Castello di Querceto has been a certified participant in the Italian government’s ViVa program since 2022.    

Henry Borzi

Vintage 2022 a year of contradicting weather: the winemakers display versatility and resilience to achieve an expression of the finest quality

The 2022 harvest has ended and now we can review a year of unusual weather contradictions. Axel Heinz, Ornellaia’s Estate Director, describes the vintage as a continual challenge that required the expressive abilities of mankind to adapt to the working processes. A vintage that was always on the edge, where disaster was constantly on the horizon, but where in the end various weather events balanced out the negative effects, enabling the winemakers to find a nuanced expression of the finest quality through mental nimbleness and resilience.”

A climatic analysis shows how the 2022 vintage began as usual without prognosticating any issues, with winter temperatures within the norm and a cool spring with a slightly delayed budbreak on the vines. The conditions inverted in May, with temperatures exceeding 30°C and a dearth of rain for 75 consecutive days, truly testing the growth, flowering and veraison of the vines.

The harvest started early on 9 August with the first bunches of Sauvignon Blanc, but was immediately interrupted by the arrival of the much-awaited summer storms, which again disrupted the conditions that had distinguished the year thus far. The abundant rainfall instigated a turning point, eliminating the water stress and reactivating the ripening process. A cool and sunny September brought near-perfect conditions to ripen the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Interpreting the unusual weather contradictions in the vineyard and in the cellar required certain measures to achieve a fine expression, such as night harvesting of the earliest white grapes in order to preserve the freshness and aromas; the use of a refrigerating room to keep the temperature of the grapes low; and the meticulous discarding of dried grapes as well as ones that had remained green after the veraison. Experimentation on the winemaking front also occurred with the addition of the use of amphorae alongside barriques and tonneaux.

“The hallmark of a hot vintage is clear in the wines,” explains Axel Heinz. “The wines are ample and bodied, yet balanced by a beautiful acidity and precise aromas. The Sauvignon Blanc shows its exotic side with tropical fruit aromas, while the Viognier and Vermentino display prolonged floral notes. Less concentrated than usual and struggling to free the skin content, the Merlot required longer static maceration to obtain an enjoyable density, doing away with rustic tannins. On the contrary, the Cabernets demonstrated deep and layered hues, even in the first few days of maceration, developing a traditional aromatic profile with signature notes of cassis for the Cabernet Sauvignon and spiced violet nuances for the Cabernet Franc. The aromatic freshness is surprising, dotted with menthol and balsamic overtones, as well as plush tannins, all of which provide an exceptional basis for long, harmonious ageing.

Now comes the final challenge of 2022: “The blending, when we will need to find the right balance between the various parts to express the many virtues that 2022 yielded to those who listened to nature with respect and dedication through the struggles,” concludes Axel Heinz.

Michele Zanardi


“Il Vigore” 2019



$ 302,000

All the profits have been given to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for the Mind’s Eye program.

The online auction of Vendemmia d’Artista 2019: Il Vigore, hosted by Sotheby’s, finished yesterday. The fine bottles of wine, which were designed this year by Swedish artists Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, were allocated to art and wine collectors, raising a final amount of $ 302,000. The profits from the auction will be given to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to further the important endeavours of the Mind’s Eye program.

On announcing the results of the auction for this fourteenth edition of Vendemmia d’Artista, the CEO of Ornellaia, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, communicated his pleasure of having renewed the partnership with the Guggenheim Museum for another three years. “We are very enthusiastic about continuing to support the development of this special project that we believe in. Since the beginning, we wanted Mind’s Eye to be able to develop and become available to a vast audience from different places around the world. This global vision has now developed even more, ensuring that the program has become a feature of all the Guggenheim museums, in New York, Venice and Bilbao.”

Mind’s Eye is more than a mere experience; it is a set of tools capable of broadening accessibility to art through the use of the senses. As Richard Armstrong, Director of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, explains: “With Ornellaia’s continued support, we will expand the Mind’s Eye programs to a global audience with a focus on developing the verbal descriptions in all our museums. Next year, we will produce content for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with translations in several languages. Furthermore, we will continue the events in New York and the online programs, which will be available internationally. Looking towards 2023, thanks to the auction profits, we will concentrate on creating Mind’s Eye content for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. These projects will continue in 2024 to expand the program, increasing the resources and the audience.”

Wine, like art, transcends words and, through the senses, the use of an emotional language takes on a universal value. The interpretation of the vintage was entrusted to the creativity of Swedish artists Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg. The themes of metamorphosis and the constantly evolving cycles of nature and its driving force form the core of the work, providing the perfect canvas for the artists of the fourteenth edition of Vendemmia d’Artista to interpret the theme of “Vigore” through art. The precious lots provided for the auction included 9 six-litre Imperial and the only nine-litre Salmanazar of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2019, whereby the evolution of the concept of the relationship between humans and the earth is expressed through the sculptures.

Nittardi, 40 years of wine and art

From 10 to 30 November 2022… in homage to Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi Vigna Doghessa, the Nittardi collection will be on display at the Galleria Palazzo Coveri of Florence: over 80 works by the most important contemporary artists.

Casanuova di Nittardi is the historic Chianti Classico of Nittardi winery. Its very first vintage saw the launch of an art project, which has now, with the wine’s 2020 vintage, reached its 40th anniversary. Since 1981, the Canali-Femfert family has been celebrating the character and history of Casanuova di Nittardi by means of a unique artwork series: for each vintage, artists are invited to create two art pieces, one for the bottle label and one for its wrapping paper.

To celebrate this particular milestone, the Canali-Femfert family decided to establish an international art competition – the Premio Nittardi. Its prestigious jury has selected not one, but six artists, since the guiding concept is to offer passionate collectors of Nittardi an unpredecented case of six bottles of Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi Vigna Doghessa 2020, each with a different label and wrapping paper.

This one-of-a-kind eno-artistic treasure, the Collezione Nittardi, from 10 to 30 November 2022, moves to Florence’s Galleria di Palazzo Coveri, at 19 Lungarno Giucciardini, where visitors may admire both the original art works as well as the entire set of bottles with their front labels and wrapping paper.

This journey through 40 vintages of a wine that is itself an artwork offers the rare opportunity to appreciate some of the most influential figures of contemporary international art, and in doing so has created a further artistic dimension… for all the senses.

Over the years, Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi Vigna Doghessa has proudly borne the signatures and artworks of international artists such as Pierre Alechinsky, Corneille, Dario Fo, Karl Otto Götz, Günter Grass, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Yoko Ono, Mimmo Paladino, Fabrizio Plessi, Mikis Theodorakis and many others. They are joined today by this year’s winners of the Premio Nittardi: Italian artists Chiara Mazzotti and Fausto Maria Franchi, and from abroad, Pengpeng Wang, Ulrike Seyboth, Olle Borg, and Andreas Floudas-Zygouras. In addition, the Femfert family also selected a seventh artist, Roberto Maria Lino, to artistically dress the Magnums.


The exhibition _ The public may visit the exhibition in the Galleria Palazzo Coveri, at Lungarno Giucciardini 19, in Florence from 10 to 30 November 2022, Tuesday through Saturday, from 11.00am to 1.00pm and from 3.30pm to 7.00pm. Entry is free.

The Premio Nittardi jury _ The Premio Nittardi jury is composed of Luigi Toninelli (Gallerista of Milan/Monte Carlo), Johannes Heisig (German author and artist of an art piece for the 2019 vintage), Amy Ernst (artist, niece of Max Ernst), Anthony von Mandl (Canadian art collector and wine producer), Young Ho Kim (Korean art collector), Gianna Martini Coveri (CEO, Gruppo Coveri).

Winners of the Premio Nittardi _ Chiara Mazzotti (I) with “Purezza concreta” and “Celebrazione”; Fausto Maria Franchi (I) with “Capriccio italiano”; Pengpeng Wang (CHINA) with “Pensieri”; Ulrike Seyboth (D) with “fructueux” and “abondance”; Olle Borg (S) with “Sine Nomine”; and Andreas Floudas-Zygouras (GR) with “Per Edoardo” and “Wine stages”. Special prize awarded to Roberto Maria Lino (I) by the Femfert family, for the Magnum label and for his works “Sutura”.

The Nittardi Collection _ The artists who have created labels and wrapping papers to date are Bruno Bruni (1981), Maurilio Minuzzi (1982), Karl Korab (1983), Simon Dittrich (1984), Miguel Berrocal (1985), Alfred Hrdlicka (1986), Paul Wunderlich (1987), Rudolf Hausner (1988), Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1989), Horst Janssen (1990), Valerio Adami (1991), Corneille (1992), A.R. Penck (1993), Eduardo Arroyo (1994), Raymond E. Waydelich (1995), Luigi Veronesi (1996), Igor Mitoraj (1997), Elvira Bach (1998), Emilio Tadini (1999), Sandra Brandeis Crawford (2000), Volker Stelzmann (2001), Giuliano Ghelli (2002), Robert Combas (2003), Klaus Zylla (2004), Yoko Ono (2005), Mimmo Paladino (2006), Tomi Ungerer (2007), Günter Grass (2008), Pierre Alechinsky (2009), Dario Fo (2010), Kim Tschang Yeul (2011), Karl Otto Goetz (2012), Alain Clément (2013), Hsiao Chin (2014), Joe Tilson (2015), Allen Jones (2016), Mikis Theodorakis (2017) Johannes Heisig (2018) and Fabrizio Plessi (2019).

The wine _ Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi is grown near the villa residence in Castellina in Chianti and, since 2012, has been the offspring of a single vineyard, Vigna Doghessa. This parcel, lying at 450 metres above sea level with superlative southern exposure, has soil of medium depth, rich in galestro and alberese, two geological materials that define the character of our Chianti Classico. The wine is as unique as it is complex, just as a work of art can be.

The winery _ Nittardi has 40 hectares of vineyards, organically formed since 2014, divided between Castellina in Chianti and Maremma in Tuscany. In the sixteenth century, the estate was owned̀ by Michelangelo, who would send wine from there to Rome as a present for Pope Paul III. Art and creativity are in the DNA of the estate, as evidenced by the extraordinary park of contemporary sculptures and the exceptional artists who, every year since 1981, have created two works dedicated to the historic Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi at the invitation of the curator Peter Femfert; his wife Stefania Canali, historian; and their eldest son Léon, who has managed the estate since 2013.

Passorosso and Passobianco 2020

Passopisciaro’s “self-portrait wines” interpret the soul of Mount Etna

“In the 2000 growing year,” read notes written by Andrea Franchetti, “summer brought rains, but the heat returned in July, ushering in optimal conditions characterised by beneficial alternations of warmth and summer rains, with the result that we were able to harvest fully-ripe white grapes in late September and reds in late October.” 

Two years have passed since these notes were written, and today, the Mount Etna wine operation founded by Franchetti and now managed by his sons Benjamin and Giordano has released its two standard-bearers, Passorosso and Passobianco. 

It was in the year 2000 that Andrea Franchetti first realised the great potential of this area, with its power-filled yet delicate life-force, and dreamed of what would – with the help of his pioneering contribution – become a one-of-a-kind institution for the Contrade, as well as a winemaking name renowned world-wide. Vineyards growing at the very limits of the extreme yield wines full of emotion. These wines are testament to an unbelievable biodiversity that is nourished by the volcano’s unstoppable vital force.      

“Here is a land that is both ancient and young at the same time,” remarks Benjamin Franchetti, “a place that demands both respect and commitment to quality.” “Passobianco and Passorosso,” continues Vincenzo Lo Mauro, winery director since the very beginning, “are not individual Contrada wines; rather, they each are faithful expressions of our winery’s philosophy and expressions of the extraordinary land.”

Passorosso is made from a blend of grapes from ancient Nerello Mascalese vines growing at elevations between 500 and 1000 metres on Etna’s north slope. This wine represents the comprehensive style of Passopisciaro and its Contrade, with terroir, the emotions of Etna, and the philosophy of the winery all concentrated in a single wine. This year, one notes hints of red berry fruit and eastern spices in the glass, perfectly balanced by minerality.

Passobianco, on the other hand, is the uncompromised essence of Chardonnay, a variety that Andrea Franchetti found perfectly suited to the steep terraces of the Contrada Guardiola, lying between 850 and 1000 metres above sea level. The soil here is deep and loose, consisting of mineral-rich volcanic ash, giving the Chardonnay its Mediterranean flavour and ash-tinged minerality that are balanced by notes of spice.

Together, these are the perfect ambassadors for those who would like to explore the style of Passopisciaro.


UIV-VINITALY Observatory: market holds (for now), but does not compensate for cost escalation

It is a gap of almost 1.5 billion euro that caused by gas and energy on Italian wine. Even one of the healthiest Made in Italy sectors is forced to raise the alarm, and now the main fear is that the escalation in costs will be compounded by a crisis in consumption, in Italy and worldwide. According to the UIV-Vinitaly Observatory survey carried out last week on companies in Italy, the surplus of energy costs alone (+425 million euros) and, consequently, of dry raw materials (over 1 billion more for glass, paper, cardboard, caps, aluminium) are worth an 83% increase on the budgets at the beginning of 2022. In addition to these, other increasing items (bulk wine, commercial costs, workforce) lead to a 28% increase in total costs this year. The result, according to the survey of a panel representing 30% of the market, has the flavour of a mockery for the sector.

The increase in list prices estimated by the Observatory in the first nine months of this year is in fact 6.6%, a positive figure but insufficient to cover an upward variation in prices that companies have requested in the order of 11%. The equivalent gap is equal to EUR 600 million in costs not covered by revenues that Italian wine is forced to bear in order to stay on the market. The ones losing out the most are the supply chain companies, the largest cluster – but with the least bargaining power – made up mostly of small businesses that produce, vinify and bottle everything, or almost everything, in-house. But, with some exceptions, the wine industrialists and the world of cooperation are also suffering due to a dynamic that particularly penalizes the basic and popular segments of the offer, starting with medium-priced sparkling wines. The impact on the premium segment is different, not only because it is better able to absorb variations but also by virtue of a market that is more willing to accept requests for price increases.

For the president of the Italian Wine Union (UIV), Lamberto Frescobaldi: ‘The survey shows how the current crisis does not spare our sector, which is not energy-intensive but in many of its components suffers direct consequences. What we can do now is to consolidate with a supply chain pact all the dynamics that can produce a buffer effect to guarantee competitiveness and the market. Producers, industrialists, cooperatives and distributors will therefore have to absorb part of the increases so as not to dump them completely on consumers and avoid a dangerous depression of consumption’.

 For the CEO of VeronaFiere, Maurizio Danese, “We consider it a duty for Vinitaly to monitor the dynamics of the sector, all the more so in a delicate moment such as this. What is happening also has a strong impact on wine, but we are aware that today’s events, like those of 2 years ago, represent exogenous and non-structuring factors affecting a sector that is in any case healthy. At the next wine2wine, scheduled for 7-8 November, we will present, together with UIV, the second part of this economic study, also with this year’s complete forecast estimates for the market, profitability, and balance sheet of the Italian wine industry”.


There are wines that you fall in love with the very first time you taste them. That you never forget. That go down in history. Wines that actually succeed, somehow, in shaping history. And this is the case of Braida’s Bricco dell’Uccellone, first harvested in 1982, exactly 40 years ago.

At a time when Barbera was regarded as a grape-variety of little prestige, trailblazer Giacomo Bologna reinterpreted the potential of this grape with a view to modernity and internationality. Giacomo knew how to think big: his recipe was based on the selection of crus, much lower yields than usual and the ageing of the wine in French oak barriques to give it elegance and structure. These were the tools that were key to reclaiming dignity and lending new emphasis to one of Piedmont’s most important grape varieties, launching a revolutionary phase for Barbera that was soon emulated by many other winemakers.

Three years after the first harvest, when this bottle, labelled as “table wine” at the time, was released onto the market, its success was overwhelming. The acknowledgements of Bricco dell’Uccellone began to pour in immediately, so much so that the English journalist Jancis Robinson, in her Oxford Companion to Wine, under the heading Barbera wrote: “The man who first put Barbera on a pedestal, proving that it was a serious wine, was Giacomo Bologna of the Braida winery, whose Bricco dell’Uccellone was the first Barbera to be sold internationally”.

To seal this journey, Braida’s Bricco dell’Uccellone Braida received the “Wein Legende” award at Bensberg Castle in 2019. It was the first wine from Piedmont to be listed in the hall of fame of the world’s most important wines and the third Italian wine, along with Ornellaia and Sassicaia.

The first 2022 bunch of this Barbera was been cut on the 12th of September.
A new challenge, according to Giuseppe Bologna: “Since taking over full responsibility for production at the winery in 1994, I have seen some strange vintages… This one is certainly unparalleled, a historic vintage but without any applicable historical references: a whole range of brand-new emotions”.

We’ll discover its value in the glass in three years’ time.

Meanwhile, the overview of all the vintages on the market so far (up to 2019) is impressive.

Some trivia?

  • L’Uccellone was the nickname of a woman who lived on the hill where the vineyards are located. Her nose resembled a bird’s beak, and she always wore black: this earned her the nickname in the village. Hence the name Bricco dell’Uccellone.
  • The label of Bricco dell’Uccellone has remained unchanged since the first vintage, 1982. Together with the label of La Monella, it was the first work of Giacomo Bersanetti and Chiara Veronelli, who designed it even before founding their agency.
  • Bricco proudly bore the indication “Barbera di Rocchetta Tanaro” on the label, from 1982 to 1994, then the production regulations changed the indication to Barbera d’Asti DOC.
  • The 1985 bottle has a darker capsule than the others.
  • The bottle of the 1993 vintage is different from all the others, slightly taller, due to a production blockage in France.
  • The first bottle to bear the Braida serigraphy, to prevent the risk of counterfeiting, was that of the 2004 vintage.
  • The only vintage not produced was the 2002, due to adverse weather conditions.
  • The first vintage to carry the DOCG Barbera d’Asti was the 2008.
  • Several pets and some horses have been named Bricco dell’Uccellone.
  • A collection of photos, stories and anecdotes about this wine was compiled in 2015, to mark the 30th anniversary of the launch of Bricco dell’Uccellone on the market.

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2020

The elegance, amiability and complexity of Bolgheri DOC Rosso make a lasting impression

The 2020 vintage of Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Rosso has been released to the market on 1 September. The wine originally debuted with the 1997 vintage, when Ornellaia’s second vin became the most immediate expression of the estate’s hallmark style. The wine is produced with the same passion and attention to detail as Ornellaia. Every vintage is a blend of elegant amiability and Bolgheri-style complexity that is capable of evolving in the bottle for many years to come.

Axel Heinz, Estate Director of Ornellaia, describes 2020 as an extraordinary vintage of huge potential: “2020 will go down in history for many obvious reasons, but in terms of winemaking it will also be remembered for its energy, which resulted in the creation of opulent and full-bodied wines of huge potential. Over time, it will be regarded as one of Bolgheri’s greatest vintages such as 2006, 2010 and 2016.”

After a mild and rainy winter, the spring started slowly, protecting the buds from frost. A wet June was followed by a long spell of drought until the end of August. The dry conditions nurtured a slow and even veraison. The changes in temperature between day and night ensured that the grapes could develop all their aromatic potential and the right levels of acidity.

Like every year, each varietal and parcel was vinified separately in order to guarantee the utmost respect of the different traits of the grape with minimal human intervention. The wine was blended in barriques one year later and set aside to harmonize and form an array of flavours and colours.

Olga Fusari, the winemaker at Ornellaia, explains: “Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2020, with its deep ruby red hue and purple highlights, fearlessly reveals a clear and generous aromatic expression, marked by ripe red fruit aromas. The wine is soft, rounded and beguiling in the glass, in addition to being full-bodied, showing great balance between the structure, fullness and elegance.” This is a wine that displays attention to detail, character and terroir.

Masseto is ready to reveal its new vintage 2019

The new vintage, 2019, to be released to market on 1 October, an expression of energy brimming with nuances of colour.

Opening a bottle of Masseto is the equivalent of unleashing a liquid kaleidoscope,” says Estate Director Axel Heinz. “It’s the perfect balance between nature and climate, where humans play a fundamental role, like the conductor of an orchestra, gradually revealing the signature notes of a magical place, of a vineyard that still has many secrets to disclose.”

Masseto is an intact, harsh and complex place. The land is difficult to work and the sometimes extreme conditions make the result even more sublime as it can never be taken for granted. Axel Heinz defines it as “a place where nature makes the most important decisions.” Utmost care and simplicity: this is the concept that underpins the philosophy of the Masseto estate. On the score, the notes, shaped by the sea with its light breeze, are respectfully composed with aromatic and flavour accents, as the bunches are guided towards a slow and expert polyphenol maturity.

2019 was a vintage of unpredictable weather conditions, whose evolution has revealed a truly classical expression. Slow vine growth with cold spring temperatures, which delayed budbreak, made way for a hot summer that restored the equilibrium. The perfect balance between sun and rainfall, due to the maritime influence, contributed to the beginning of the harvest in early September, with the gradual gathering of the various parcels that constitute Masseto. Every parcel expresses itself uniquely, resulting in a complex mosaic, with the blue clay forming the core.

In Masseto 2019, the young colour is reminiscent of an intense and harmonious wine of exceptional aromas and flavours, rich in red fruit scents and viola nuances,” explains Gaia Cinnirella, Estate Winemaker. “The dimension of the fruit is striking in the mouth, entwining with dreamy, velvety and elegant tannins, plus a refreshing and vibrant finish, where power and simplicity enchant the palate and tell the story of this unique place.”

Ornellaia: the 2022 harvest is underway

Predictions would indicate smaller quantities, yet potential top quality if the weather stays fair

The 2022 harvest is now underway at Ornellaia. On 25 August, the first red grapes started to be gathered as confirmation of the precociousness already observed for the white grapes, whose harvest began on 9 August.

After the first few days of harvesting Sauvignon Blanc, carried out at night to preserve the utmost integrity and aromas of the fruit, the long awaited mid-August storms began. The plentiful rainfall slightly slowed the ripening, providing us with an opportunity to finish gathering the Sauvignon and Viognier with peace of mind. Merlot and Vermentino were the next varieties to be harvested. The precociousness is a logical consequence of an abnormal season,” observes Axel Heinz, Estate Director.

Heat and drought proved hugely challenging for the 2022 vintage. Key elements for correctly interpreting the harvest have been the agronomical decisions implemented to manage the soil and the vine canopy. Nevertheless, all the elements remain in place for a quality vintage: veraison in superb circumstances, limited natural grape production and potentially concentrated grapes.

“From this moment on and over the next few days, it will be extremely important to pinpoint with even more precision the harvest date for each variety and each vineyard parcel. Right now, our first impressions give the idea of a harvest that is unlikely to be abundant, but – if the weather stays fine – the vintage has high-profile potential. Making predictions is always very delicate and complicated, however. We are all too aware that realistic and concrete opinions can only be shaped after the grapes have arrived in the cellar,” concludes Heinz.

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