The secret of the success of the Ca’ dei Frati property is the Dal Cero family’s outstanding vineyards. Back in 1987 they had 12 hectares of vineyard, but now, following the purchase of a large chunk of prime vineyard in 2008, they have over 100 hectares. Their investment in their model winery has meant that the increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality, and today they are undoubtedly the best producer in Lugana.
All grapes are grown in Ca’ dei Frati’s own vineyards, which are located on the south banks of Lake Garda, near the town of Sirmione. The vines from which “Brolettino” is made (100% Turbiana) were planted in 1971, with clay soils.
Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks before being transferred to small 225 litre barriques for 10 months. Malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place in a selected number of barrels. The wine was then aged in bottle for three months before release.
Pale golden in colour, this wine opens with aromas of stone fruits and a touch of vanilla spice from the oak ageing. The palate has rich peach characters, with a creamy, honeyed texture lifted by stony minerality. Intense and concentrated through to the fresh finish.
Founded in 1880, the Franz Haas winery is a family-owned property that has passed from father to first-born son, Franz Haas. Today, Franz Haas is the seventh generation to grow grapes on this beautiful estate, nestled at the foothills of the Alps. He continues to focus on the grape varieties which best express the wonderful character, varied microclimates and unique terroir of the Alto Adige.
Grapes for the Pinot Nero are grown on the slopes of Pinzano and Gleno in the Montagna area and in Mazzon in the municipality of Egna. The three different vineyard sites are all south-west facing and range from 350-1,150m in altitude. Soils are extremely varied within a tiny area, ranging from clay in one vineyard to sand, limestone or gravel in a neighbouring one. Density of planting is between 8,000-12,500 vines per hectare.
2015 was one of the hottest and driest vintages in recent years. Little rainfall combined with high temperatures meant yields were lower than previous years. Yet the grapes were clean and healthy resulting in a wine of good fruit purity and quality.
Fermentation took place in open top vats with a long maceration and frequent punching down of the cap and many pump overs. This enabled the right extraction of colour and fragrance from the skins. Ageing took place in a mixture of small oak barriques and medium sized ‘botti’ for over a year prior to bottling, followed by five to ten months in bottle before release.
The wine is ruby red in colour and the bouquet opens with notes of black cherries and raspberries, marzipan and plum jam, cloves and cinnamon, ending finally with some light earthy aromas. Fresh and lively on the palate, the wine is bolstered by elegant tannins which make it balanced and rounded.
The Pieropan family has been producing wines in Soave since the 1860s. Indeed, they were the first to bottle a wine with the name Soave on the label, in the early 1930s. Nino Pieropan took over from his father in 1970 and was the first to make a single vineyard wine, Calvarino, in 1971. Nino’s two sons, Andrea and Dario, now work with him running the estate.
The grapes (100% Garganega) were grown in the vineyard of `La Rocca`, which takes its name from the adjacent medieval castle and fortress (“La Rocca”) that dominate the town of Soave, just east of Verona. The soil in La Rocca is unique in Soave in that it is a limestone outcrop (the same soil as in Valpolicella Classico) in a sea of basalt. Because of this soil, Pieropan feel they get sufficient ripeness in the Garganega to make a wine solely from this variety.
After gentle, whole bunch pressing, there was a short period of maceration on the skins followed by fermentation at 20ºC in stainless steel tanks and 500 litre oak casks because Pieropan feels Garganega is too delicate for fermentation in barrique. 60% of the wine then remained in 500 litre oak casks and 40% aged in 2,000 litre `botti` or barrels for one year. The wine then stayed for four months in bottle before release.
Golden yellow in the glass, with intense, concentrated perfumes that follow through to the palate. Classic La Rocca aromas of almond essence and honey lead to an elegant and beautifully balanced palate, with notes of vanilla and almond kernel, ripe apricots and exotic fruit. The long finish has a light minerally edge. Really quite “Burgundian” in style.
Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large ‘botti’ and French oak barriques) for 18 months, lightly fined with egg-whites and then bottled.
Deep and intense on the nose with perfumes of dried cherries and blueberries, with notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate it is powerful but modern, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.
Dating from 1888, the Poggi family’s wines combines traditional wooden casks with the very latest technology. Corte dei Castaldi is made with grapes from a selection of local growers, all dried in Poggi’s barns for 4 months (appassimento) and estate bottled.
Made from Corvina, Rondinella & Molinara.
Very dark in appearance with a nose full of dark fruits and hints of bitter chocolate. The full and rich palate has concentrated dark fruit flavours with a twist of dark chocolate and spice on the long finish.
This estate makes some of Italy’s finest sparkling wines from its 200 hectares of vineyard situated in the western part of the Franciacorta zone in a natural amphitheatre. Here the glacial soil is full of stones, so providing the ideal environment for the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes used in the production of Bellavista’s Franciacorta.
All work in the vineyards is carried out manually. The grapes (72% Chardonnay & 28% Pinot Noir) are from vines with an average age of over 25 years.
Individual parcels are specially selected for the blend. Made in the ‘traditional method’, 30% of the wines that make up this Vintage Brut are fermented and matured for at least seven months in small oak barrels, the remaining 70% is vinfied in stainless steel. The wine is then blended and bottled and the yeast and sugar for the tirage are added to set off the second fermentation. The wines are aged on lees for a minimum of 5 years after which remuage is carried out by a team of five riddlers. The elegant bottles are designed by the Murano glass factory in Venice.
Bellavista Vintage Brut is a vibrant green gold colour with an exuberant yet fine mousse. The nose has finesse and complexity. Crisp floral notes of hawthorn and bay leaf support ripe white fruits. Dry and elegant on the palate, with ripe fruit and touches of incense. The silky texture and firm backbone are balanced perfectly with fresh acidity. Floral hints and white fruits linger on the finish.
Aldo Vajra’s (pronounced Vyra) wines are characterised by pristine flavours and clearly defined perfumes. These characters are attributable to the position of his vineyards at about 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne in the commune of Barolo. G.D. Vajra was established in 1972 and named after Aldo’s father, Giuseppe Domenico Vajra. Aldo has been gradually increasing the area under vine to 60 hectares, of which 10 are Nebbiolo for Barolo, located in such strategic spots as Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta and Coste di Vergne. A traditionalist, Aldo adheres to old-style winemaking methods, though blends these with new techniques, such as temperature controlled fermentation, to produce such superbly elegant wines.
The grapes for this wine come from two exceptional vineyards – Bricco delle Viole in the commune of Barolo and Bric Bertone in the commune of Sinio. Bricco delle Viole vineyard is south and southeast facing, planted between 1971 and 1999 at an altitude of 380-470 metres above sea level. Bric Bertone is at 340-390 metres above sea level with a southern exposure. The soil is rich in calcareous marl, with rocky outcrops, giving elegant, fragrant and particularly long-lived wines.
Fermentation with indigenous yeasts took place in stainless steel tanks for 20 days. Temperatures were not controlled, but did not exceed 32ºC with regular traditional punch downs. Malolactic fermentation followed in Slavonian oak barrels. The wine remained in oak for a total of 20-24 months before bottling.
Ruby red in colour with violet hues. A beautiful array of aromas on the nose with red fruits, hay, flowers and liquorice together with refreshing mineral notes. This Barbera Superiore has a richness that starts on the nose and persists through to the finish. There is a lovely balance between supple tannins and youthful acidity.
Mauro Molino’s estate amounts to 12 hectares, half of which is planted with Nebbiolo for the production of top quality Barolo. The balance is divided between Barbera, Dolcetto and a smaller quantity,of Roero Arneis.
100% Nebbiolo from vines aged between 25 and 40 years grown on a south, southwest exposure.
The harvest took place mid-October followed by maceration on the skins for 9 days in steel tanks at controlled temperature. The alcoholic fermentation was also in steel tanks for 20 days with the malolactic fermentation and ageing being in French oak barriques for 24 months.
Garnet red in colour, the nose is rich and intense with the bouquet of ripe fruits. The palate is smooth with velvety tannins and long finish.
This property was purchased by Valpolicella producer Marilisa Allegrini in 2006. Marilisa has continued to invest heavily in the estate and has brought in winemaker Nicola Biasi to build on Poggio San Polo’s already considerable reputation and impressive levels of quality.
Situated in the eastern part of Montalcino, this estate covers 22 hectares of which 16 are under vine, and produces wines that are classic in style but with a bit more weight than would be found to the north of the zone.
Poggio San Polo`s Brunello vineyards cover approximately nine hectares planted between 1990 and 2000. They are situated at an altitude of 450 metres above sea level, facing south-southwest on chalky, clay soils.
The grapes (100% Sangiovese) were hand picked and after a gentle pressing, fermentation took place in temperature-controlled concrete tanks with temperatures reaching a maximum of 28-30°C, with a long maceration on the skins lasting 20-22 days. The wine was aged in new, medium-toasted, French oak tonneaux (500 litres) for a period of 24 months, followed by extended ageing in bottle before release.
An intense ruby red with garnet hues. The typical aromas of violets and small red berries are followed by hints of vanilla, cedar and coffee. On the palate it is full-bodied and warm with a densely-woven texture and robust tannins, while the finish is persistent and rounded.
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