Cover Story ｜ 2017 Sept - Oct
Italianissimo Wine Journey Part 1
酒 遍 地 道 意 大 利 之 旅 Part 1
Italy is definitely one of the greatest country that dominates the global wine market in the vast world of wine. With roughly 10 degree differences between the Northernmost mountainous regions to the Southernmost islands, as well as the diversity of geographical locations and terroir of each region, these factors lead to create approximately 2000 kinds of native grape varieties, and contributes Italy to produce myriads varietal and unique wine.
Italy is also a paradise that filled with happiness and passion. I was glad to visit her 9 unique regions and met the regional wine-makers, as purpose to recognize how they transform the passion from their blood into the pleasantly elegant wine! This issue I will introduce some Northern Italian wine regions first!
Marchesi di Barolo - Pioneer of Barolo
When you seize an opportunity to visit Piedmont region, “the king of wine” Barolo town should be the must-visit place - this respected wine zone received the honorable D.O.C.G status in July 1980. The legendary winery Marchesi di Barolo in the town has a great historical linkage with the birth of Barolo.
During the 19th century, Marchioness Felletti (formerly named as Juliette Colbert de Maulévrier), discovered that Barolo had excellent soil and ideal climate for planting quality grapes as the town was surrounded by high mountains which can protect itself from severe weather condition and strong wind, while an abundant amount of sunlight was also favourable to the plantation. Marchioness Felletti believed this place had great potential to create premium wine, so she established a winery and hired a French wine-making advisor to produce the top Barolo red wine. Eventually it became a new rising star in the 19th century wine industry.
After the passing of Marchioness Felletti, the Abbona family inherited her business and the ideal of making Barolo. The family members grasped the ancient knowledge of winemaking and viticulture, and passed to the future generations. Anna and Ernesto Abbona, the 5th generation members, are currently taking the helm of the Marchesi di Barolo. For Anna and Ernesto, the most important mission is to marry ancient skills with evolving winemaking techniques, aiming to showcase Barolo in an authentic yet contemporary style. Under the effective and efficient operation of Anna and Ernesto, the winery is capable to create another list of refined Barolo styles and different types of wine.
Anna and her daughter Valentina were very generous, who shared a number of Barolo bottles at the dinner event. The first one Barolo Reserva Year 1982 was a big surprise, (especially 1982 was an exceptional year), which maintained a fine balance, alongside full and soft body even after 35 years. The palate exudes the elegant notes of cherry, cinnamon and liquorice. Another one is the much younger Rerserva Year 2012, showing a magical nose from the bouquet of violet, rose and nutmeg into intense truffle. However, its plum and soft tannin was worth to mention. This bottle is a lovely partner for the rich egg pasta. Sarmassa is another signature lineup of the winery, of which the vintage 2012 was very outstanding in my opinion. It was matured for over 8 years to create a spectacular structure and a lingering finish. Besides Barolo, Valentina also recommended Barbera (D’alba DOC Peiragal) and Moscato D’Asti (from the Zagaro collection). The former one was both intense and refreshing, presented in fuller body with refined acidity and tannin. The latter one was ethereal in style, combined with sweet and memorable length, and the extravagant notes of nectar and white peach.
Whenever introducing wine, Valentina was excited to tell the respective background, charisma and flavours to the guests with enthusiasm and attentiveness. As she has recognized the family winemaking culture under the great influence from her parents since childhood, she has developed considerable respect and admiration towards Barolo and other Italian wines. Now this young lady is responsible for the marketing of her family business, frequently visiting the US, China and other European countries to introduce Marchesi di Barolo and the essence of Italian wine culture. Valentina stated that this is not only about a job, and the most important is that, it is a kind of pleasure to allow everyone to appreciate this beautiful lifestyle. Marchesi di Barolo is a place infused with unlimited love. Without the consistent team work and admiration for wine among the family members, they might not be able to make such achievement today.
Tenuta IL Bosco - The Home of Exquisite Oltrepo Pavese
Whenever talking about Lombardy region, most people would think of its fashion capital Milan immediately, but actually it is also one of the most important regions in the Italian wine map, of which a vast expanse of forests and lakes and its pleasant terroir are the main elements for the creation of ethereally refined wine. In Eastern and Southern Lombardy, there is a vast area of lowland, and therefore the grapes will get mature more quickly, due to a great amount of sunshine. In that case, some famous wine regions such as Oltrepo Pavese DOC will pick the grapes earlier for making sparkling wine. Oltrepo Pavese is a type of Metodo Classico wine that is primarily made of Pinot Nero (the Italian name of Pinot Noir), a variety which can produce light-bodied and fruity wine, which is quite different from the Pinot Noir from Bourgogne (with stronger body and earthy note). With the even distribution of acidity and sugar content, Pinot Nero is an exceptional choice to make sparkling wine.
Tenuta IL Bosco is a winery from Oltrepo Pavese DOC, which is operated under Zonin 1821, the largest privately-owned wine group in Italy. As the manager of the winery, Piernicola Olmo is responsible to perform daily inspection and trim the vine leaves. We followed Piernicola to the vineyards and he introduced different pruning method of grapes, including Guyot, Cordon and Pergola, which can trigger the process of photosynthesis of leaves, foster the maturation of grapes and reduce the opportunity to get “ill”. Piernicola was such a great teacher as he showed us how to figure out whether the vines are ill or not. What a great lesson!
After returning to the winery, the staff arranged three types of Oltrepo Pavese for our tasting section, namely Oltrenero Brut Nature, Oltrenero Cuvée Brut and Oltrenero Cruasé respectively. All of them exude crispy palate and fine bubbles. Oltrenero Cuvée Brut has a profound aftertaste that matches well with white cheese and the aromatic salami. Besides, its light and smooth citrus note reminds me of Bourgogne Chardonnay. I believe it would be the best buddy with Japanese sashimi and grilled fish.
How could a handful of wines fulfill our unlimited wants? Alessandra Zambonin, the generous Press and Communication Manager of Zonin 1821, also brought six more wines from the other wineries of the group, including Chianti Classico from Tuscany, Sasseo (made of Primitivo) from Puglia, and Insolia and Nero d’Avola from Sicily, etc. I usually have Northern Italian wine, but Sasseo and Nero d’Avola from Southern Italy are unpredictably aromatic and astonishing. The former one has a very robust structure with magnificent plum and jam flavours to complete the full and round texture. The latter one exudes poised acidity with prolonged aftertaste of sweet spices, representing a lovely Sicilian style. As the wines came from different producers, each style and flavour can reflect the terroir of its own origin. This large-scale wine group has paid enormous respect to the uniqueness of each region, rather than deliberately creating specific commercial wine style among its wineries to please everyone. Obviously, that is good news for avid wine lovers.
Ca’Del Bosco - The Best Franciacorta Winemaker
On another side of Lombardy region, there are another top-notch Italian sparkling wine Franciacorta that should not be missed and one of the most prestigious producers Ca’ Del Bosco, becoming a globally renowned winery within several decades and an elite member of Santa Margherita Group. Ca’ Del Bosco is not only praised by famous wine critic Hugh Johnson as“one of Italy’s best sparkling-winemakers, but also named Italian Winery of the Year in 2003 and has been awarded 22 Tre Bicchieri (Three Glasses) awards from Italy's prestigious Gambero Rosso wine guide.
Franciacorta DOCG, where the winery is located in, is adjacent to inland lakes with warm climate plus gravel and sandy soil, creating a favourable environment for the growth of Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco. Apart from high quality grapes, Ca’Del Bosco is very fastidious about quality control with the highest standards and invests a lot in a variety of machines, for the purpose of improving the efficiency of wine-making process and ensuring all sparkling, red and white wine under mass production with consistent, excellent quality. We were so glad to visit the winery and really appreciated their attention to details in every wine-making process.
The grapes are handpicked carefully before chilling in a cold room at the temperature 12ºc. The chilling process can facilitate slow oxidation and fermentation. The next step is removing the impurities and dirt completely through washing the grapes in the vats with bubbling air for three times, and subsequently going through drying process to prevent the dilution of musts.
The winery refuses to use any pumps to transfer musts or wine because it may reduce the wine quality. Several enormous lifts were set up to allow gravity flow to transfer wine in a safe and effective way. The wine will undergo a disgorging process in an anaerobic condition, in order to avoid oxidation pressure and a large amount of sulphite content. That’s why the wine is so pure!
We also tasted some famous Ca’Del Bosco’s sparkling wines, among which the iconic Cuvee Annamaria Clementi should be proudly mentioned. The one we tried was the unforgettable 2007 vintage, and its base wine was extracted from the finest essence of the first-pressed musts. After fermentation taking place in small oak barrels, it contacts with lees for more than 7 years during its second fermentation, contributing to a complicated aroma profile of fresh fruits and dried fruits with opulent structure, refined acidity and dense bubbles. In short, the quality of Cuvee Annamaria Clementi is as beautiful as premium Champagne.
Besides profound winemaking techniques and high-end products, Ca’Del Bosco is full of delightful artistic atmosphere everywhere, especially its expansive green field decorated with different sculptures, showcasing a harmonious blend of the nature, culture, wine and art. This is obviously the ideal place for cultural discovery.
Ferrari - The Art Curated from the Top
After the lovely tasting journey with Oltrepo Pavese and Franciacorta, I still do not get enough of Italian sparkling wine, which is of comparable quality as decent Champagne. Anyway, the next stop is the internationally well-known luxury brand — Ferrari. How could I not be excited about its Trento, another renowned Metodo Classico Italian sparkling wine?
Since its establishment in 1902, Ferrari has continuously launched outstanding wine and has been a household brand in European and American regions. You can also spot its trace at numerous sports racing or grand fashionable events, which is as famous as the sports car of its namesake. The winery is situated in Trento region, which is the first D.O.C. producing Metodo Classico in the way of Champagne in Italy. This top-notch sparkling wine producer kept disgorged wine bottles in its cellar for a long period during its early years, of which the lees played a magic to create refreshing floral aroma, enticing toasty flavour and great complexity. That’s why Ferrari has attracted a lot of fans.
Until, Ferrari still uses that traditional wine-making method, but its factory operation is very modern. For instance, each step of the whole disgorging process is performed automatically, ensuring high efficiency and consistency. On the other hand, all Ferrari vineyards are organic certified, where the soil is combined with natural fertilizer, with an absolute prohibition against chemical herbicides, mite killers, and pesticides, like reintroducing traditional agricultural practices. This is an excellent way to contribute to sustainable development and our natural environment.
Finally we can try four classic sparkling wines from Ferrari after the winery and cellar tour. Ferrari Brut is refreshing and opulent in style with green apple notes, followed with harmonious, firm structure and mature fruity palate. Representing the elegant yet approachable charisma of Chardonnay, Ferrari Perlage has refined bouquet of citrus and white peach, along with the prolonged aftertaste of almond and ripe apple. The tender, sweet Ferrari Demi-Sec has memorable roundness. The final one is the most legendary one from Ferrari, Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore - over ten years of ageing on the lees forms the most complicated body, aroma and palate among the four wines - the fruitiness is accompanied by the fine sweetness of honey, vanilla and white chocolate. The velvet body is blended well with elegant acacia honey, spices and tropical fruit.
Ferrari is not only fastidious about wine quality, but also lifestyle, as reflected by its philosophy - wine is part of better lifestyle. Lunelli Group (the owner of Ferrari) opened a high-end restaurant Locanda Margon near the vineyards. This two-starred Michelin restaurant offers splendid mountainous and green land views to go with its refined cuisine. Be it the light organic veggie pasta or luscious duck breast, every dish we had is fantastic. Ferrari wines are very versatile with gourmet food, the perfect match for our delicate lunch in such pleasurable atmosphere, further stimulating our expectation for the next journey…… To Be Continued!
Marchesi di Barolo - 巴羅洛葡萄酒的先鋒
難得來到Piedmont大區，當然要探訪「皇者之酒」美譽的Barolo鎮—在1980年七月最高榮譽的D.O.C.G地位。位於鎮內的傳奇酒莊Marchesi di Barolo更與Barolo的誕生有莫大淵緣。
早在十九世紀初全賴一名Falletti侯爵夫人(原名Juliette Colbert de Maulévrier)幫助，她在Barolo鎮意識到擁有適合釀造優質葡萄的土壤和良好的氣侯—鎮是一片被四周高山圍繞的地方，不怕嚴峻天氣和強風入侵，更有充裕陽光。侯爵夫人認為這地方絕對能創造美酒的潛力，於是在Barolo村莊建立酒廠，同時聘請法國釀酒顧問來協助釀做優質Barolo紅酒，最終十九世紀成為酒界的耀目新星。
Falletti侯爵夫人過身後，便由Abbona家族承接她的業務和延續釀造Barolo的理想，並掌握了古老的釀酒技術、葡萄種植法，然後傳承一代接一代，至今由第五代傳人Anna 和 Ernesto Abbona掌舵Marchesi di Barolo。不過對Anna和Ernesto而言，酒莊最重要使命是融合「傳統和演變」的釀酒技術，展示Barolo紅酒既有正宗但又不失現代風格。Marchesi di Barolo在Anna和Ernesto精益求精的管理方式下創造其他細緻Barolo風格及不同葡萄酒類。
當晚晚宴Anna和女兒Valentina更友善慷慨分享數款Barolo，沒想到首款竟然是82年Barolo Reserva (82年更是表現極緻的年份)—儘管已三十五歲，但酒質依然均衡，豐厚柔順的酒體伴隨櫻桃、玉桂、甘草的優雅味道。另一款年份較近的12年Reserva隨紫羅蘭、玫瑰、肉荳蔻香氣慢慢展示成深厚松露，但不失豐沛且柔和單寧，當時與蛋味濃郁的意粉進食十分融合。Sarmassa是酒莊旗下另一款出名系列，它的12年我很欣賞，原來它經過超過八年時間成熟，以達至絕佳結構和綿長餘韻。除了Barolo，Valentina還推介了Barbera (D’alba DOC Peiragal)和 Moscato D’Asti (Zagaro系列)，前者醇厚清新俱備、酒體豐富、酸度與單寧均細緻；後者清新且餘韻香甜，並富有蜂蜜、水蜜桃的高貴味道。
當介紹每款酒時，Valentina都會很雀躍和仔細地向賓客講解它的背景、魅力和味道，由於她從小在父母的耳濡目染下認識自己家族的釀酒文化，並抱著對Barolo以及其他意大利酒類都有莫大尊敬和熱愛。現在這位年輕女士都投入家族生意市場推廣業務，並不時到美國、中國和其他歐洲國家介紹酒莊，以及意大利酒文化的精髓，她表示這不只是工作，最重要還是一種喜悅來讓所有人認識這美好生活文化。Marchesi di Barolo是一片充滿無限愛的地方，若沒有家族成員的互相幫助和抱著欣賞葡萄酒的態度，是絕不可能塑造今天的成就。
Tenuta IL Bosco - 細胞典雅的 Oltrepo Pavese
說起Lombardy大家必定會想起它區內的時尚之都米蘭，但事實上也是意大利酒地圖不可忽視的大區，其豐足的森林和湖泊，怡人氣侯都是釀造清雅細膩酒款的重要因素。在Lombardy區內的東面和南面由於低窪土地較多，受到日照充沛的影響下當地種植的葡萄一般快熟，所以有些著名產區如Oltrepo Pavese DOC都會較早採摘葡萄而釀造汽酒。以傳統發酵方法(Metodo Classico)釀造的Oltrepo Pavese將Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir 意大利稱讚)為作為主要品種，由於酒體輕柔和果味濃郁，有別於Bourgogne的Pinot Noir品種(擁有較強酒體和鄉土氣息)，加上酸度和糖份均勻，絕對是製造汽酒的優厚條件。
Tenuta IL Bosco是意大利最大型私人擁有酒廠Zonin 1821旗下位於Oltrepo Pavese DOC的酒莊，經理Piernicola Olmo每天都會親身到葡萄園勘察和整理葡萄藤葉，我們隨他到園裏講解葡萄不同的修剪方式，不論短式(Guyot)、長式(Cordon)和棚架式(Pergola)，確保葡萄葉獲得良好的光合作用，促進葡萄成熟和減少它們患病風險。Piernicola猶如一名優良葡萄酒老師，教我們分辨葡萄蔓藤的病壞之處，可謂獲益良多！
回到酒廠後便品嚐三款分別是Oltrenero Brut Nature、Oltrenero Cuvée Brut和Oltrenero Cruasé的Oltrepo Pavese，全部口感清脆泡沫細緻，當中Oltrenero Cuvée Brut的餘韻深長，除了配合白芝士和火腿的鹹香，它的輕柔柑橘讓我想起一Bourgogne Chardonnay，若果配合日本魚生和烤魚相信會是完美配搭。
數款酒豈能滿足我們的慾望呢！Zonin1821的傳訊部經理Alessandra Zambonin 更帶備其他六款來自集團旗下多個酒莊的酒款給我們品嚐，包括Tuscany的Chianti Classico、有Puglia的Sasseo(Primitivo釀造)、還有Sicily的Insolia和Nero d’Avola等等。平時我較飲北意地區的酒較多，沒想到南意Sasseo和Nero d’Avola的品質非常醇美，前者的結構非常壯實，有絕佳的李子、果醬風味伴隨豐潤飽滿的質地；後者富有精巧酸度，以及綿延的甜香料後味，流露甜美誘人的Sicily風情。即使是Zonin 1821來自不同的出品，但我們從酒裏可以感受不同的風格和味道，反映出它們原產地的風土氣侯，更透徹明白這大型酒廠十分尊重每一個酒區的獨有個性，沒有刻意要求旗下每一個酒莊製造迎合大眾的口味。這對愛酒人士確是美事。
Ca’Del Bosco - 最佳 Franciacorta 釀酒師
位於Lombardy大區的另一端，還有另一種頂緻意大利汽酒不可不嚐試—Franciacorta，要說起當中最祟高的酒廠之一，不可不提Ca’Del Bosco，只需用短短數十年便成為享譽國際的酒廠，現在是Santa Margherita集團旗下的頂級品牌。著名酒評家Hugh Johnson更親自讚賞Ca’Del Bosco是「意大利最佳汽酒其中之一」，於2003年更被意大利殿堂葡酒媒體Gambero Rosso評選為最佳酒莊，更獲銜二十二項榮譽。
Ca’Del Bosco位於的Franciacorta DOCG鄰近內陸湖，當地溫潤的氣候加上礫石和砂土，適合種植豐滿亮麗的Chardonnay、Pinot Nero和Pinot Bianco，即使有高品質的葡萄，Ca’Del Bosco亦非常講究最優異的品質控製，它們投放大量成本在不同的機器上，為了提升高效率的製酒過程和確保所有大量生產的汽酒、紅白酒都有一致性的卓越質素。我們有幸參觀酒廠，亦深深佩服每一個製酒部驟都計劃周密。
酒莊更讓我們品嚐一些著名酒款，不得不提經典的Cuvee Annamaria Clementi，我們品嚐的07年更是非常難忘，原酒從初榨葡萄汁最精華的部分抽出，經小型橡木桶發酵，瓶中二次發酵還進行七年以上的酒渣接觸，塑造新鮮水果、乾果組成的複雜香氣，結構豐厚但不失細緻酸度和綿密氣泡。質數絕不亞於頂級香檳。
Ferrari - 山巒上的繆思
品嚐Oltrepo Pavese和Franciacorta後，我對意大利汽酒依然意猶未盡，品質媲美香檳固然是主要原因，但下一個行程安排是聞名全球的奢華汽酒品牌Ferrari，怎能不期待它的Trento (意大利另一種著名Metodo Classico汽酒)呢！
參觀酒廠和酒窖後終於可以品嚐Ferrari四款經典汽酒。Ferrari Brut清新飽滿，富青蘋果氣息，伴隨平衡緊緻結構和成熟水果風味。Ferrari Perlage擁有細緻柑橘和白桃的香氣，呈現Chardonnay的高貴但平易近人的氣質，杏仁和熟蘋果餘韻更是迂迴不散。Ferrari Demi-Sec 風格柔和甜美，圓潤質地更十分搶眼。壓軸就是Ferrari最傳奇的Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore，葡萄酒更經過超過十年的酒渣接觸，讓它的酒體、香味和味道亦是四款最複雜—水果香氣伴隨蜂蜜，香草，白巧克力濃甜氣息；絲絨般柔滑的酒體與優雅蜂蜜、香料和熱帶果味道融合。
Ferrari不只講究酒質，還講求生活品味，對它自言葡萄酒就是理想卓越生活的一部分，所以它所屬集團Lunelli Group在葡萄園旁邊開設高級餐廳Locanda Margon。此榮獲米芝蓮兩星榮譽的餐廳讓我們欣賞壯麗山巒田野的景色同時，細味精緻的美食。不論是清淡的有機素食意粉還是甘香豐潤鴨胸，菜餚都是出色之作；Ferrari的酒釀也非常適合佐餐，更為我們這頓高雅午餐帶來歡悅氣氛，然後迎接之後的旅程…… 下期再續！
Marchesi di Barolo
Address: Via Alba,12-12060 Barolo (CN),
Tel.: +39 0173 564400
Fax: +39 0173 564444
Tenuta il Bosco
Address: Località il Bosco –
27049 Zenevredo (PV)
Tel.: +39 0385 245326
Fax: +39 0385 245324
Ca’ Del Bosco
Address: Via Albano Zanella,13,
25030 Erbusco (BS), Lombardy, Italy
Tel.: +39 0307 766111
Fax: +39 0307 268425
Ferrari F.lli Lunelli S.p.A.
Address: Via del Ponte di Ravina, 15,
Località, Ravina, 38123 Trento (TN)
Tel.: +39 0461 972416
Fax: +39 0461 913008