- Wir über uns
Just Sangiovese, nothing else! This is, if you trust a vast majority of wine critics, vintners and oenologists, the only valid philosophy of winemaking in Tuscany, Italy's prestige region. At La Massa, one of the absolute top estates in Panzano, they took the opposite road. With amazingly succesful results, as was proven by a small tasting of recent vintages, organised in Hamburg a few weeks ago.
Not only the French, the Italians too, Europe's second biggest wine producers, drink less and less wine. Whilst the world wide consumption has been stable at about 244-245 m hl, during the last years, the Italian consumption went down by a significant 17.5 % since 2006, reaching 22.6 after 27.3 m hl, a level only slighly higher that that of Germany with its 20 m hl. As far as the per-capita consumtion is concerned, the country lies far behind France (46.8 l per head and year) and, with its current 37.4 l approaches the level of love-hated Germany too.
Yesterday, at the age of 80, Aldo Conterno, one of the pioneers of modern Barolo, has died. Aldo was third generation of an old Monfortino wine dynasty but made his first professional experiences in California, where he had been sent to in the 1950ies to help his oncle set up a winery in the Napa Valley. The early dead of his uncle and a call to arms during the Korean War put a rapid end to these plans. At the end of the decade, Aldo returned to his native Piedmont where he worked with his brother Giovanni, a declared traditionalist and father of the world famous Barolo Monfortino. At the end of the 1960, though, the differences between the traditionalist and the modern thinking Aldo became unsurmountable and Aldo bought the Cascina Favot to found his own winery. In the following decades he created number of monuments of the Barolo winemaking: Cicala, Bussia Soprana, Colonello or Granbussia.
Italy mourns Giuseppe Quintarelli, the doyen and Grand Master of the Valpolicella area near Verona (Veneto), who died today at the age of 85. That, at least, is what I am just reading on the blog pages of Italian journalist Franco Ziliani. "Bepi", as Quintarelli was called by his friends, was a legendary producer of Amarone and Valpolicella wines. I myself met him the first time at the end of the 1980ies when tasting the Veronese wines for Italy's wine guide Gambero Rosso, and I will always remember my last visit at his estate roughly 10 years ago.
No! The surname "little Champagne" certainly does not fit the Italian Franciacorta region. Mainly because its products are far too distinctive - just think of the Satén, a product which is made of Chardonnay and Pinot blanc only, with less sugar and lees added in the second fermentation and thus with lower pressure than the normal spumante. Bellavista's Premium sparkler Vittorio Moretti is no Satén but an Extra Brut with less than 3 g / l residual sugar. Yet it is a stand-alone product anyway.
No, we had not been invited to one of the legendary Bunga Bunga Parties of Italys Prime Minister Berlusconi, neither did the other passengers on our flight look as if they were regulars at George Clooney's or Roman Abramovich's homes or yachts. But our destination in fact was the Costa Smeralda, Italy's attractive tourist destination - some cynics say millionaires reserve - on the north eastern pinpoint of Sardinia, where "Berlusco" likes to spend his off-time. To be more precise: its hinterlands.
Dear organizers of the 2011 en primeur tastings of Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino,
We thank you for the invitation to participate in the tastings, from February 15 to 19, of the new releases of your wines. It is always a pleasure, for those of us who do not live in Tuscany, to return there from all parts of the world, and for those of us who do live there to attend these by now classic tastings.
We look forward to several tiring but rewarding days of tasting, days to which we undertake to devote our full commitment and professionalism. However, the number of samples to be tasted are many (even though, most regrettably, a growing number of important producers decline to submit their wines), and the time available for tasting is much reduced compared with previous years.