Preview Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2021 — by Filippo Magnani

Wine, history and tradition all mixed in this extraordinary wine region!

The “Anteprima” preview of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, usually held in February , was postponed to the 17th and 18th of May. Another great effort by another Tuscany’s consortium, opening their doors to international and Italian journalists. We were summoned to the beautiful town of Montepulciano, in the heart of the village, inside the suggestive Medici fortress where the Consorzio del Vino Nobile and the Enoliteca are located. You can feel the history above your head, surrounded by art, soft hills, vineyards and monuments! Extraordinary. 

The event, this year, is unique in its kind since the Consortium reserved for us a surprise! Indeed the preview was an opportunity to not only to evaluate actual vintages on the market such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2018 and the 2017 Reserves, Rosso di Montepulciano DOC 2019 but also to present the exciting new type of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; the denomination “Pieve” which will hit the market as early as 2024.

12 subzones and additional geographical units, represented by different Pievi (churches). The idea behind the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Pieve”, came from a scientific study which required the consent and collective participation of all the wine producers.

The Pieve originally was a church-owned building in charge of many duties, functioning not only as a church but also as a small hospital and as the village municipality. It is a name that will be a path between the past and future, intertwining the old culture and local winemaking with the international future and innovative production techniques. The grape blend will be tied to Sangiovese (also locally known as “Prugnolo Gentile”) and complementary native only Tuscan varieties allowed by the Consortium, with grapes exclusively produced by the producers and coming from vines that are at least fifteen years old. Another important factor is the implementation of an internal commission within the Consortium composed of oenologists and wine technicians. These experts will be delegated the task of assessing the characteristics that correspond to the specification before the required legislative steps.

Such interesting wines will represent the quality of this magnificent territory holding a precious history.

 

 

 

 

on my radar

                                      Winery:  Bindella – Tenuta Vallocaia
Wine:   Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018 
Ruby core with rims. Intense bouquet of cherry with balsamic overtones and slight scent of black pepper. Lovely entrance, round with ripe fruit, medium body. Firm, velvety tannins with a long finish. I like it ! 

 

Winery: Dei
Wine:  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Ruby core with narrow light garnet rim. Intense nose of ripe plum and notes of rhubarb and new leather. Powerful structure with ripe red fruit, fragrant with well integrated silky tannins. Elegant with a long finish. Lovely wine. 

 

Winery:  Poderi Boscarelli  
Wine:  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Brillant, ruby red with compacted rim. Pronounced flavour of cassis and violet. Spicy with overtones of leather. Full bodied with quite bright acidity. Well balanced with rich red fruit and elegant tannins. Harmonious finish. Charming wine with ageing potential.  

Winery:  Poliziano
Wine:    Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Ruby colour turning slightly purple. The nose expresses flavours of red fruit and rhubarb with a hint of mint. The palate is balanced with notes of ripe cherry and prune. Dry and fragrant, with soft tannins and long persistence.                                               Full body with a nice end.  Great wine. 

Winery:  La Ciarliana
Wine:   Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Clean with a deep ruby core. Lovely aromas of ripe plum with a touch of vanilla. Blackcherry in the palate with a light toasty scent. Full body with round, sweet tannins. Fresh and harmonious finish. I like it ! 

 

Winery:  Salcheto
Wine:      Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Bright with paler reflections. Pronounced flavour of red cherry, wild blueberry and balsamic notes and anice. Rich and well structured, good balance of body, fruit, acidity and velvety tannins. Lovely wine. 

 

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2017 Riserva
[wines 15 reviewed]

The Riservas 2017 turned out to be rich and ripe with intense fruit. The wines showed good structure, sweet tannins, and a discrete alcohol presence. 

on my radar

Winery:  Tenuta Valdipiatta
Wine:  Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Deep ruby core, paler on the hedge. Complex nose with flavours of dark cherry, prune and chocolate. Juicy palate with good acidity, discrete alcohol level and soft tannins. Fragrant and long. I like this wine! 

Winery:  Tenuta della Talosa
Wine:     Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Brilliant deep red. Attractive bouquet of strawberry and violet mixed with spicy notes of black pepper. Full body with lots of red fruit in the center palate with smoky scents on the back. It expresses harmony with velvety tannins and long, fresh finish. Lovely wine. 

Winery:  Le Berne
Wine:  Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Brilliant, deep ruby core with violet hues. Intense flavour of black cherry and liquorice with overtones of lavender and new leather. Fragrant entrance with discrete alcohol and ripe fruit. Sweet, velvety tannins and quite long aftertaste. Harmonious, charming wine.

Winery:  La Braccesca
Wine:   Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva, Vigneto Santa Pia
Colour ranging from deep ruby core to lighter rim. It shows a lovely bouquet of ripe plum, violet and chocolate with a hint of tobacco. Full body with lively acidity well integrated with rich red fruit. Silky tannins with elegant finish. Great wine. 

 

THE 2020 HARVEST 

The year 2020 was defined by four key periods; germination from the 28th of March to the 19th of April; flowering from the 22nd to the 31 May; fruit ripening between the 21st of July and 21st August and the harvest which began on the 15th of September. Heavy rains interfered with harvesting operations, and in some areas of the appellation they continued without interruption. For this reason, the harvest was extended until the first week of October to avoid botrytis infections and a drop in yield quality. The wines of 2020, when tasted, demonstrated intense colors, a fine varietal aromatic expression and structure that is supported by medium acidity and tannins. On an analytical level, one can detect normal values of intensity and color tone, acidity, pH, extracts, and total polyphenols. The alcoholic grades are medium to high. Balance and elegance are keywords to describe the eccentricities of 2020 wines.

Montepulciano 

Near the city of Siena, Nobile di Montepulciano D.O.C.G., Rosso di Montepulciano D.O.C and Vin Santo di Montepulciano D.O.C, are exclusively made within the city limits of the town of Montepulciano, near the city of Siena. We are talking of a territory that has been a wine production zone for centuries, witness to not only the progress in cultivation techniques but also of the geopolitical impact on those “noble” hills. We have known these hills as a wine territory since the 17th century. It is a place that captured the attention of elite and noble families of Tuscany and was recognized as one of the finest red wine areas of the region. Vino Nobile has been one of Italy’s most esteemed wines for centuries, though it has been eclipsed in recent times by other Tuscan wines. The turning point was 1980 with the birth of the Consortium. In the last 15 years, the consortium has made enormous efforts to elevate the production in Montepulciano. Only in the recent decades Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has witnessed amazing growth in terms of winemaking techniques and quality. Today, the roughly 70 producers of Montepulciano believe that the Sangiovese produced in this district can top the levels of excellence of the other Tuscan icon wines.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
International Markets

Always a big “Thank You” to my colleague, and friend, Liz Palmer !

 

Filippo Magnani

Valpolicella Soars in 2021

The Valpolicella Wine Consortium has recently announced the numbers for the first five months of 2021.  The numbers show around 30 million state seals were issued for the Valpolicella, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto origins, which is 18% over 2020.

Compared to 2019, the increase is 14%.  Amarone, which after a disastrous January 2021 (-24.5 %), accelerated to a sensational 38 % increase by May 31. According to the consortium’s analysis, these are the best figures of the last decade. “A total of 7.4 million bottles were brought to market in this period, two million more than last year. Not only is the quantity excellent, but the performance also gives us hope. According to the latest price list of the Chamber of Commerce of Verona, the open goods have increased by 4.5 percent,” Christian Marchesini, president of the consortium, states. The figures are due to a combination of the restrictive measures of the consortium as well as the high flexibility of many small businesses, which immediately knew how to move on unfamiliar terrain like e-commerce and food retail.

Valpolicella achieved an overall growth of 14 % after a strong pick-up in the month of May (+48 percent). Ripasso closed with an increase of twelve %. Stocks are down for all typologies of Valpolicella, especially Amarone and Recioto. In May 2021, five million bottles less were registered than in May 2020 (-8 percent).

Source:  Valpolicella Wine Consortium

Global alcohol consumption will bounce back to pre-Covid levels by 2023

Global alcohol consumption will return to pre-Covid levels by 2023, according to recent IWSR data, with the market already showing signs of recovery.

Projected to grow by 2.9% in volume by the end of 2021, the research forecasts that total alcohol consumption will reach pre-Covid levels within two years and will continue to increase steadily until 2025.

Total alcohol volume decreased by 6.2% globally during 2020, affected by lockdowns and other restrictions.   Total wine and beer volumes are both forecast to be down about -9% in 2020 and are unlikely to regain volumes for several years.   However, within the wine sector, sparkling wine volume consumption is anticipated to recover to 2019 levels by 2023, along with the rest of the alcohol market. Premium-and-above Prosecco is expected to be least impacted by Covid, and premium-and-above still wine forecast to recover lost volumes by 2022.

This growth will be boosted by several factors including the growth of ecommerce which is up 45% from 2019; to reach US $29 bn in 2020, and RTD’s, the industry quickly adapting in key markets and the increasing sophistication of the at home occasion in many markets.

“In many global markets Covid-19 accelerated the impact and growth of key industry drivers, such as the development of ecommerce, premiumization, the rise of the home premise, moderation and the need for convenience in product formats,” said the IWSR’s CEO Mark Meek.

“These are the trends that will also underpin the industry’s resilience as it pivots to meet consumers where they are in the years to come. Additionally, across many markets, some segments of the population now have significantly more disposable income than they did in 2019, some of which will be spent on beverage alcohol products.”

Another trend set to give alcohol a leg up is product premiumization, according to the IWSR, with premium-and-above wine and spirits forecast to increase by 25.6% in total volume between 2020-2025 compared to 0.8% volume growth over the same period for brands in lower price tiers.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2021 Focuses on ‘Bouncing Back’ in Digital Format

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2021 has moved to digital format for this year, it will be providing live sessions focusing on the recovery of the wine and spirits industry called ‘Bouncing Back’ – the dates are June 8, 2021 – June 29, 2021.

Webinars, roundtable debates and exclusive interviews will go live every Tuesday on 8, 15, 22 and June 29.  Sessions will be dedicated to the new major trends in the sector including online sales and the digital sprint, the tasting revolution and sustainability.

New on-demand content will also feed into Vinexposium Connect every Thursday in June.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) will host a webinar on the guiding principles of sustainability and its environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects, while the IWSR will present the results of its latest report on trends and outlook to 2025 for wine and spirits consumption.

There will also be virtual tastings with Marc Almert, ASI (International Sommeliers’ Association) 2019 World’s Best Sommelier, focusing on ideas and tips for remotely stimulating the senses.

Heini Zachariassen, CEO of Vivino, will also take the floor to explain how his business tackled the health crisis and outline his strategic ambitions.

Vinocamp & La WineTech will provide an overview of solutions for improving online sales, featuring good practice to make a success of e-commerce sales.

At the end of last year Vinexposium made major changes to its schedule for 2021 due to the pandemic. In addition to moving Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, Vinexpo New York, Vinexpo Hong Kong and Vinexpo Bordeaux have all been postponed until 2022.

Registration and further details https://bit.ly/VinexposiumConnect

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“Tastry” uses Chemistry + AI to Analyze Wine and Generate Flavor Profiles

A California startup that taught a computer to “taste” wine is using technology to help winemakers improve their wines and attract new customers.

Founder Katerina Axelsson says Tastry uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze “tens of thousands of wines a year,” generating vast reams of data to help winemakers and retailers target their products more effectively.

Ms Axelsson formed her idea as a chemistry student working at a winery, where she noticed “idiosyncrasies” in how wine was evaluated. A 100,000-gallon tank of wine would be divided in two and sold to two different brands, where it would end up in different bottles, sold at different prices and receive different scores from critics, she states

She began analyzing wine samples, identifying thousands of compounds. Using AI, she could see how these compounds interacted with each other, creating the wine’s flavor profile. She then took that profile and used machine learning to compare its flavor, aroma, texture and color with other wines in the database.

The method allowed Axelsson to develop a wine recommendation app, which was launched on screens in the wine aisles of retailers in 2019. Through a quiz, consumers could input their flavor preferences, and the software would recommend a suitable wine with 80-90% accuracy at the first attempt, she says, rising to 95% with additional input form the user. Tastry’s system now powers its BottleBird wine recommendation app.

Tastry has also begun working directly with winemakers in the United States. Brands pay to have their bottle analyzed “and in exchange they would have access to what we call an insights dashboard, where they can identify how their wine is perceived in their market of opportunity, on a store, local or regional level,” says Axelsson.

One client is O’Neill Vintners and Distillers, one of the largest wine producers in California. To produce some blends, it combines wine from “upwards of 30 different tanks” to create the desired flavor profile, according to Marty Spate, vice president of winemaking and winegrowing.

The company is using Tastry’s AI to “streamline” the blending process by suggesting which tanks to use. “[Tastry is] not a replacement for the modern winemaking team,” he says, however, “that data can be pretty powerful.”

But in an industry steeped in artisan tradition, there are some critics of its algorithmic approach.  “It’s like having a computer analyze a piece of art,” says Ronan Sayburn, master sommelier and head of wine at 67 Pall Mall, a private members club for wine lovers in London.

“I don’t know how keen people would be on following what a computer tells them to drink, based on what they had previously,” he says. “I think part of the appeal of wine is forming your own opinions.”

Sayburn concedes technology can be useful to the amateur, for recommending serving temperature, aeration time and food pairings. “But when it comes to something which is a very emotive subject, I think there’s got to be human contact,” he argues.

Axelsson agrees that Tastry is not a substitute for a sommelier. But she says the scalability of her product makes it possible to analyze more wines per year than a human could ever taste.

Her company will start offering services in Europe later this year in collaboration with an online retailer, and is already thinking beyond wine, having conducted tests for beers, spirits, coffee and fragrances.

In the meantime, she’s happy to spend time winning over the naysayers.

“It takes time to educate any industry about AI and its benefits,” she says. “But if the use case is there and the value proposition is there, I think it’s just a matter of time before people really embrace it.”

Source :CNN Business London

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