Bolgheri, a wine territory in the pursuit of excellence – Filippo Magnani

The first edition of “Bolgheri Divino” celebrates a unique and cohesive vision of the producers…

On September 4th, 2021, the Consortium of Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC gathered 65 vintners of the DOC to tell their story of the land and its winemaking excellence, through personalities and productions. The event was named “Bolgheri DiVino.” It was a magical day to celebrate an extraordinary and cohesive wine territory in the pursuit of excellence. The first edition aims to become a must-attend occasion for dedicated oenophiles from all over the world who love this wine pearl on the Tuscan coast: Bolgheri.

The day began with an exclusive tasting held at Castello Della Gherardesca, in the morning, in Castagneto Carducci where I took part with other selected Italian and international journalists of the wine sector. The morning was dedicated to the preview of Bolgheri Superiore DOC 2019 vintage. A unique occasion since the tasting anticipates nearly 4 months to its release on the market.

The wines of 2019 generally showed deep colour, ripe fruit, with good aromatic intensity. An appropriate level of natural acidity guaranteed freshness and good fragrance. Apart from certain cases, where I perceived generous, firm tannins also due to the young fullness, the majority of wines I tasted were graceful, well-made with harmony from start to finish.

In the afternoon, we participated in a further tasting at 7 selected wineries where we had the chance to taste the promising 2020 vintage of Bolgheri Rosso. As I tasted the wines, I noticed they were fruity with a good structure and with lively acidity, while showing great potential for aging.

Like those overwhelming love stories, Bolgheri is the result of the harmonious relationship between an extraordinary land and the genius of man. A “little Italian miracle”, said the President of the Consortium Albiera Antinori in the closing evening of Bolgheri DiVino, in front of nearly 1,000 international guests seated for a beautiful dinner at a 1 km-long table on the iconic “Viale dei Cipressi”, a landmark of the Bolgheri landscape.

The event has shown the world that Bolgheri has climbed the “Olympus of Italian wines” in just a few decades. Its land has always been a sitting gold mine for the potential of the agricultural district. This territory, in its fairy tale appearance, is a wonderful symbol of the “Italian Bel Paese”. 

A small pearl embraced by the “Macchia Mediterranea”

The area of the DOC Bolgheri is delimited by the municipality boundaries of Castagneto Carducci village. It is a small wine area that measures 13km from the southernmost point to the northernmost one, while the west-east extension is about 7km. The total vineyards are of DOC are 1359 hectares, positioned at an altitude ranging from 10 metres to 380 above sea level. The so-called “Macchia Mediterranea” stretches all along the coast, Bolgheri is literally embraced by this thick dark green forest.

The amphitheatre of Bolgheri is exposed to perpetual light and aerated by continuous sea winds from the Tuscan archipelago. Exposure and natural aeration, in addition to preventing many plant diseases, gives the wine an exuberant freshness and incredible elegance. However, most fascinating is the extraordinary and varied type of soils. A miscellaneous of soils composition; mainly sandy towards the sea, more clay-sandy alluvial, clay-silty in the vineyards located on the foothills, and gravellier in the hills belonging to Colline Metallifere (metallic hills). To better understand the richness of the soils for wine production, the Consorzio has conducted an accurate zonation research, a ten-year study on the potential of this territory. Up to now 27 units have been identified, not grouped into macro areas though because in a few metres the composition of the soil can change incredibly

A “chair at the table of the prime Italian wines”
earned in just a few decades

 

Between the hundred-year-old stories of the famous Tuscan wine areas, well known and affirmed in the wine world scene, a place is reserved for the “young” Bolgheri district. The first red was produced around the 1940s, by the brilliant intuition of Marquis Mario Incisa of Rocchetta, founder of the estate Tenuta San Guido to plant red French varieties in the hills. Particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc. The first real success production comes indeed from a blend of these two varieties, and first labelled as Sassicaia in 1968, and lately proclaimed as one the best wines of the world with the 1985 vintage.

After an initial period of white and rosè wine production for local consumption (regulation of 1983), the path tracked by Tenuta San Guido and its Sassicaia was followed by a small group of pioneer producers that invested and interpreted the possibility of producing fine red wines in this area.

From the second half of 1980’s Bolgheri became an area extremely vocated to the production of red wines. Rapidly those wines were recognized worldwide as so, called “Super Tuscan” by famous wine writers, showing off not only the outstanding potential of the land but also the commitment of the estates in pursuing the brilliant intuition of this group of winemaker pioneers.

The cohesive effort of the producers led in 1994 to the first DOC Bolgheri red wines regulation, together with the creation of Sassicaia subzone delimited by the proprieties of the Tenuta San Guido. In the last 25 years the endeavours to look for quality with no compromise has made Bolgheri a symbol of Tuscan wine excellence.

Another significant moment in the strengthening of Bolgheri wines among the world of premium wines was the recognition of the Doc Bolgheri Sassicaia in 2013, conferring its own appellation. A remarkable occurrence since Bolgheri Sassicaia is the first and only Italian denomination dedicated solely to an estate and its cult wine.

Land of Innovation.

In Bolgheri, wine production has always innovated and is still continually developing with a common vision of the pioneer producers. Following this trend, an update of the wine regulation has been approved by the Consorzio Doc Bolgheri and will be effective soon. The first modification is related to the base ampelographic of Bolgheri DOC white:

The first modification is related to the base ampelographic of Bolgheri DOC white, which will give more space to the productions of Viogner, Sauvignon Blanc and Vermentino (already widespread).

The second intervention on the specification concerns the labelling. In particular for all DOC Bolgheri wines, it is mandatory to have the word “TOSCANA” on the back of the label. It will then be up to the producers to include the word “TOSCANA” on the front-label as well. Today in Bolgheri there are three types of DOC red wines: DOC Bolgheri Rosso, DOC Bolgheri Rosso Superione, DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia and three additional Doc, one for Doc Rosato (rosè) and two Doc Bianco (white)

DOC Bolgheri red wines are a blend or monovarietal produced with Cabernet Sauvignon or Franc and Merlot. Often the blends include Syrah, a small percentage of Petit Verdot and in certain occasions Sangiovese.

An iconic wine destination with unique charm

In the last 20 years, in this area of the shore that I proudly call home, I personally witnessed the incredible evolution of high-end wine tourism. International wine travellers, thrilled for Tuscany and its beauty, are nowadays considering it a “MUST” to visit the cellars of Bolgheri, and to taste the fine wines of those producers. The wind of sudden success of Bolgheri wines has also marked a significant development and attitude to the organized hospitality at the estates. When I began my activity in the early ‘90s in Bolgheri just a few estates were open and ready to welcome visitors. Today, almost all the cellars have opened their doors to wine enthusiasts and wine professionals. A unique range of hospitality proposals at the estates, offered by small familiar properties and legendary wineries.

The diversification of the wineries, both in their own stories and their production, under the libertarian philosophy of the DOC cited above, permit the interpreters to tell their very personal interaction with the environment.

The word “diversity” is important, starting from the natural factor. Bolgheri is a territory that knows how to touch all the sensory spheres, perfumes, flavours, charming hamlets in perfect harmony with the landscape and, most certainly, land of great wines. From the gentle hills, in a matter of a few kilometres the land gets lost in a beautiful natural sea reserve.

“Diversity” in the cuisine; it is ideal to enjoy different styles, from family and traditional cookery to gourmet, from dishes based on meat and vegetables in the countryside, to other locations to enjoy a fresh fish menu by the sea. The countryside around Bolgheri’s town walls is overwatched by other ancient, hilltop villages. Where Village life is livened up by artisan boutiques, open-air markets, taverns, and cosy accommodation where travellers can still closely appreciate the authentic tranquil Tuscan lifestyle.

We’ve been talking a lot about Bolgheri and its extraordinary terroir, but I find the human factor is of extreme importance If Bolgheri has been included today among the hall of fame of the Italian wine destination it is thanks to the outstanding production of each producer, but also by the new strategic vision of the Consorzio Doc and its Presidency who always considered quality wine tourism as a fundamental aspect in social and territorial development.

That’s Bolgheri and its wine!

 

 

WSET, a valuable partner for Bolgheri 

I’d like to proudly underline that the Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini DOC Bolgheri e DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia has recently become the first-ever Italian appellation WSET Corporate Patron. I am sure this collaboration will bring a great value in terms of education and qualifications to inspire and empower all the actors of the Bolgheri wine territory.

 

#WSET #BolgheriSassicaia #Bolgheri #Sassicaia #winetourism #italy #italianwinelovers #BolgheriDivino #bolgheriwine #bolgheridoc #bolgherisassicaiadoc #Sassicaia #consorziovinibolgheri #Toscana #vino #wine #sommelier #winelovers #instawine #redwine #wineeven

@CBolgheri

 

 

 

 

 


 

Azerbaijan unveils plans for wine tourism

Azerbaijan has just unveiled plans to attract more Western tourists by creating the country’s first official wine route.

According to the website “Trend”, Azerbaijan is working with the Council of Europe to create an ‘Iter Vitis wine route’ – a plan that will celebrate the unique cultural heritage of the region.

The wine route will shine its spotlight on the Caucasus’ historic winegrowing culture, starting in the Krasnodar region of Russia (home of Russian sparkling wine brand Abrau Durso), passing through Azerbaijan and ending up in Georgia.

“Currently, there are more than 15 wineries in the country. In Azerbaijan, this route starts in Baku and covers Shamakhi, Ismayilli, Gabala, Shaki, Ganja and Tovuz cities,” Sharifa Hasanova, head of sector at the State Tourism Agency, told Trend.

“In connection with the implementation of the Iter Vitis Caucasus route, negotiations are underway with Georgia. We have prepared our proposals, and after Georgia prepares its proposals, a single version will be presented.

“This is an innovation for the Caucasus, since there are no unified routes in the region yet. Common cultural routes are proposed covering Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, but such a thematic route hasn’t been developed before,” she added.

Azerbaijan is bordered by Iran to the south and Russia to the north. The nation has been producing wine for centuries; its modern-day vineyards are found at the base of the Caucasus Mountains and in the lowlands surrounding the Kura River.

#wine #winetourism #Azerbaijan #newwineregion #wineregion #georgia #caucasus #wineroute #Itervitiswineroute #Caucasus #Caucasuswineroute #winelovers #instawine #winenews #historicwineregion #Krasnodar

Wine Book Review: SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE WINE TOURISM Success models from all around the world

I just finished reviewing the book for the 2021 OIV Awards “SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE WINE TOURISM Success models from all around the world”

Written by Professors – Raúl Compés López, and Gergely Szolnoki

The first part of the book introduces the Strategic Aspects of Wine Tourism namely: marketing, education and best practices for various business models, as well as the importance of landscape and culture in wine tourism development.

The authors go on to present several case studies of Wine Tourism practices in different Spanish regions. 

The final two sections are dedicated to Old World and New World wine tourism practices and innovative initiatives.

An excellent read if you are interested in global wine tourism pre and post covid.

#wine #winetourism #winetours #sustainablewinetourism #innovativewinetourism #judge #bookreview #winetourismbook #winebook #winelover #OIV #vineyard #winecountry #wineinstagram#bookrecommendation #instabook #winejudge #winebookreview #winenews

Biondi Santi – The Evolution of a Wine Legend, by Filippo Magnani

 

On July 8th I was thrilled to be invited to the estate of the renowned Brunello producer, Biondi Santi. I also had the pleasure to taste their magnificent wines. It has been a great honor for me to be back in the place where the legendary Brunello di Montalcino has been created.

In the year of 1999, which was at the beginning of my career, I met the legendary Franco Biondi Santi in front of the 18th-century villa Tenuta Greppo. To this day, it is still a significant point of reference for my working and personal life in the world of wine.

At that time [1999], I was a young boy with a drawer full of dreams.

I was welcomed at the beautiful entrance, of the wine estate, by Mr Franco Biondi Santi and I immediately perceived his humanity and kindness. For me, he was a passionate teacher, elegant and very enthusiastic. A charismatic man. After several years, I am back there with my team. We were welcomed by Sabine Cappelli from hospitality, and Lene Lundvald Bucelli from marketing and communications. They guided us into the discovery of the innovations of the estate, transmitting the same humanity and kindness that has always distinguished the Biondi-Santi family.

An endless success of “Great Men with a Vision”

There is an indissoluble thread between the success of one of the most important wine territories in the world such as Brunello di Montalcino and the history of the Biondi Santi family. The line of a dynasty of brilliant men; charismatic and visionary figures who have always been able to look forward. Masters of winemaking that managed to keep up the family name and their traditions. They’ve always taken care of their beloved territory of Montalcino. It was first the revolutionary intuition of Clemente Santi that in the 1850 decided to plant the Sangiovese variety at Montalcino. The name Biondi Santi comes from the will of his grandson Ferruccio, son of Caterina Santi (Clemente’s daughter) and Jacopo Biondi, to keep the grandfather name. Clemente and Ferruccio shared the same love for viticulture and vinification. The name Brunello di Montalcino (with capital B) on the label was first seen in 1888 under the guidance of the latter. Ferruccio Biondi Santi also noticed the robust character of the Sangiovese Grosso grape and decided to vinify it on its own to produce wine suitable for aging.

Another turning point was in 1966 when Tancredi (Ferruccio’s son) established the specification when the DOC was created for the Brunello di Montalcino (then upgraded Docg in 1980). The other brilliant visionary of the last century was Franco Biondi Santi (1922-2013) who learned from his ancestors the fine art of vinification. As a wine producer he meticulously continued the growing practices and further enhanced the already cult wine of Montalcino. He carried on the study begun by Ferruccio and continued by Tancredi on the research of a grape that was the most resistant to the cryptogams that were affecting their vines. The selection process concluded with the identification of the clone known as BBS11: which stands for Brunello Biondi Santi with the 11 corresponding to the chosen mother plant. Biondi Santi is the only producer to have given its name to a grape clone.

After many years and long tradition in the wine production, the new generations of the family, Jacopo Biondi Santi and his son Tancredi Biondi Santi initiated a major change and evolution for Tenuta Greppo, welcoming a new partner in the leading of the estate to be able to continue the enduring commitment of producing outstanding wines. Today the winery is under the guidance of Christopher Descours, proprietor of the EPI Group, who leads hand in hand with an extremely qualified Italian team. An important strategic alliance driven by the great respect for the bicentenary know-how in the vine growing and by the common goal of reaffirming once again Biondi-Santi among the most special and desired wines in the world. The vision of the new partner was endorsed immediately by Giampiero Bertolini who was appointed as CEO in November 2018 standing at the helm of the historic winery today. 

Vineyards and Soils

Since 2018, huge investments have been made. The new partnership carried on the scientific research of Franco, who introduced a rigorous study on the parcellation both in the vineyards and in the winery depending on the age of the vines.  It shows the extraordinary effort of the leaders of the estates to try to understand and develop their beloved terroir. An accurate examination in the professional hands of the agronomist Pietro Parra starting from the analysis of the vineyards, and taking a fresh approach to the terroir. He has been able to fully map the characteristics of all the different types of soil and exposition. The estate today is comprised of 47 hectares. All the grapes are from different vineyards that extend between the four historical sites Tenuta Greppo, I Pieri, Scarnacuoia, Pievecchia and the new acquisition Ribusuoli.

“Tenuta Greppo”, is the main block around the winery, 560 metres above sea level. It is situated on a 26-hectare, coming from a massal selection of the oldest vines of the property dating back to 1930, the majority of them are BBS11 clones (Brunello Biondi Santi 11).

“I Pieri”, east of Montalcino, sitting at 370 metres altitude with a cool east-facing exposure, like Greppo, are poor, calcareous soils with a high marl content.

“The Scarnacuoia” on the west of the village Montalcino, at 450 metres altitude with old-terraced vineyards separated by dry stone walls.

“Pievecchia”, the lowest lying site, at 200 metres altitude with a cool, airy, north facing exposure. The soil here has a higher clay content.

“Ribusuoli”, is a plot acquired at the end of 2019 at an altitude of 380-450 metres, not far from Tenuta Greppo, with very similar soils and exposures.

Biondi-Santi is committed to respecting the environment and safeguarding biodiversity. Today, as in the past, the vineyards are not treated with any invasive chemical agents.

The Winery and its Wines 

New concrete and oak vats were purchased to maintain the winery’s tradition of the use of concrete for fermentation and Slavonian oak for ageing. The grapes are destemmed and crushed upon arrival at the winery. Only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation of the riserva. The process takes place in oak vats, unlike the regular Brunello, which ferments in concrete vats. Federico Radi, the technical Director in charge of the wine production, is focused on continuing the balance between tradition and innovation. Biondi-Santi produces three wines, all crafted with Sangiovese Grosso: Rosso di Montalcino; Brunello di Montalcino; and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. All three wines are bound together by a distinctive style, driven by a signature freshness, which makes them vibrant, and a specific balance which makes them elegant and very suitable for long ageing in the bottle.

My tasting at Biondi-Santi, Tenuta Greppo  on the 8th of July 2021

Rosso di Montalcino Doc 2018
The Rosso di Montalcino 2018 was produced exclusively from Biondi Santi proprietary vineyards and aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 12 months and released on the market after 3 years from the harvest.

100% Sangiovese Grosso – Alcohol 13%

Notes:
Brillant medium ruby core with compact rim. Expressive flavour of strawberry, blueberries, and violet mixed with scents of rhubarb and mint. Lively red fruit in the palate with abundant freshness and well-integrated tannins. Elegant and lingering finish. Charming wine with ageing potential.

Brunello di Montalcino Docg 2015
The 2015 Brunello was produced exclusively with a selection of grapes from Biondi Santi proprietary vineyards, then aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 3 years and released on the market after 6 years from the harvest. For the first time in history Biondi-Santi, this wine was produced in 750 ml and Magnum bottles.

100% Sangiovese Grosso – Alcohol 14,5%

Notes:
Bright deep ruby core with narrow rim. The wine expresses intense aromas of black cherry and plum mixed with scents of chocolate and fresh tobacco. The palate is balanced, the acidity matches perfectly with the soft tannins and with the alcohol. Harmonious structure with long aftertaste. A beautiful wine.

Brunello di Montalcino Docg 2013 Riserva
The 2013 Riserva was produced exclusively with a selection of grapes from Biondi Santi proprietary vineyards comprising of the oldest parcels, then aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 3 years and released on the market after 7 years from the harvest.

Vintage 2013 is officially the 40th Riserva produced from 1888 until 2013. For the first time in history Biondi-Santi produced three large formats in addition to the 750 ml bottle: Magnum, Jéroboam and Mathusalem.

100% Sangiovese Grosso – Alcohol 13,5%

Notes:
Intense ruby core with paler reflections. Very complex nose showing aromas of red cherry and blackcurrant. Slightly meaty with overtones of cedar and leather. Vibrant, fresh palate with velvety tannins well matched with a lovely fruit and a lively acidity. Soft and persistent. An outstanding wine, clear expression of pure Sangiovese with long lasting life.

Brunello di Montalcino Docg 1983 Riserva  
The 1983 Riserva was produced with the Biondi Santi proprietary clone of Sangiovese Grosso called BBS11 (Brunello Biondi Santi 11), which was identified and selected by Biondi-Santi at Tenuta Greppo in the Seventies. For this wine were used only grapes from the oldest vines with over 25 years of age, then it was aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 3 years and released on the market generally after 7 years from the harvest. It benefited from a long refinement in the bottle in the quiet and darkness of “La Storica”, the bottle library at Tenuta Greppo where all the historic vintages of Biondi-Santi Riserva are scrupulously kept.

100% Sangiovese Grosso – Alcohol 13 %

Notes:
Clear, garnet colour with paler tinge. The nose shows a magnificent bouquet with scents of prune and fig with hints of mushroom and tobacco. Delicate entrance in the palate with medium body and silky tannins. It shows equilibrium and finesse. A gorgeous wine, showing the purity and the potential of one the greatest Sangiovese in the world.

Tenuta Greppo and its terroir are a place of perpetual balance. Each bottle produced is unique and alive, growing without hurry in its charming relationship with time. It is a wine that maintains not only the great quality that has always distinguished the company, but it also assumes unique features year by year. Prolonged bottle-ageing is then essential to allow the Biondi-Santi style to develop to its fullest. Longevity is in fact the most precious quality of these wines. “It is intriguing to think that in a sip Brunello di Montalcino there are hidden all of the three temporal dimensions: the past with the history of a family and their dedication to viticulture, study and research; the present with lively, complex and intense flavors; and the future, that lies in the ability to grow in character, both its wines and its representatives.” Here they’ve always seen beyond the horizon, setting ambitious objectives. Pioneers that created what is considered today the finest expression of the Tuscan wine style.

Biondi Santi is the spearhead of one world famous wine destination. Wine lovers and wine professionals arrive in Tuscany from all over the world for their exceptional wine travel experience.

 

 

#Biondisanti #wine #redwine #winelovers #instawine #winetravel #winetourism #italy #tuscany #tenutagreppo #behindthebottle #italianwine #italianwinelover #tuscanygram #Sangiovese #winetasting @biondisantigreppo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Consejo Regulador DOCa of Rioja unveils strategic five-year plan

The Consejo Regulador DOCa of Rioja has unveiled a five-year strategic plan aimed at boosting the region’s sustainability credentials, driving wine tourism and increasing exports.

The aim is to boost total sales from 230 million litres in 2020 to 312 million litres by 2025, with export to account for 44% at 137 million litres, in addition to increased turnover of the Rioja brand by 23%, said the regional body.

White Rioja is set to grow to a total of 12% of volume and rosado to 5% of volume, a projection which aligns with current trends in the UK – still the most important export market for Rioja, the DOCa added.

Referred to as “a blueprint” for Rioja to establish itself as a global leader in wine production, the new strategy was developed following a year-long review carried out in collaboration with all key regional stakeholders, and in consultation with experts from each of the region’s 12 key export markets.

Central to the DOCa’s plans will be a focus on establishing Rioja as a leader in sustainability to help safeguard the future of the region, with key metrics having been developed to measure progress in this area, including the reduction of pesticide use by 50% and carbon footprint by 10%.

Another key pillar of the new strategy will be a focus on increasing wine tourism, with a target of reaching 1.3 million visitors by 2025, compared to the 343,000 visitors counted in 2020. The DOCa said it expected the number of wineries able to offer visitor experiences to rise to 250, just over a third of the region’s total.

Moreover, it said that digitalization would also play a prominent role in driving sales from the region with a target to quadruple online sales.

“The new strategic plan exemplifies Rioja’s pioneering character and aims to increase the value of the region and raise awareness of our wines, particularly in key export markets,” said President Fernando Salamero.

#RiojaWine #Rioja #WineLovers #Wine #winetasting #Vineyard #tempranillo #instawine #redwine #vinotinto #winetime #winestagram #spain #spanishwine #winery #enoturismo #vinos #vinho #winenews #winetourism