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Cover Story | 2017  Oct - Nov 

 

Italianissimo Wine Journey Part 2

酒 遍 地 道 意 大 利 之 旅 Part 2

Continued with the fantastic Northern Italian trip last time, this article will recommend some top-notch wineries from Northern, Central and Southern Italy. The different locations of the wineries come to different grape varieties, types of wine, and different customs, as a result of different uniquely charismatic culture and wine-making story for each region. In terms of wine tasting or understanding the local culture, it is a profound experience to feel the authenticity of this beautiful country.

 

​​The Endless Love Towards The Splendid Abruzzo

 

The Abruzzo region, which is located in central Italy, has a relatively young wine history where its local wines were considered as unassuming, affordable table wines forty years ago. Now they have the native Montepulciano d'Abruzzo red and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo white. Both are globally famous for their refined, full-flavoured traits. The groundbreaking change of Abruzzo wine is greatly contributed to the founder of Masciarelli Tenute Agricole, Gianni Masciarelli, who sought to raise the quality and reputation of Abruzzo varieties with his entire life.

 

Gianni was a pioneer wine producer in Abruzzo, while Masciarelli Tenute Agricole was the first winery to introduce 225L French oak barrels to produce native wine. This far-sighted visionary believed the barrels can enhance the complex palate and aroma of wine. With an eye on daily vineyard management and the precision of wine quality, Gianni’s effort had paid off finally by creating innovative and premium red wine in the early 80s (at the time when he was only a young man at his twenties) which surprised the whole Italian wine industry. This legendary winemaker had successfully transformed his winery to become internationally famous, thanks to his elite management and winemaking spirit. 

The Masciarelli estate is fully organic and partly farms its land by adopting biodynamic principles. According to Gianni’s wife Marina Masciarelli, Gianni believed the terroir in Abruzzo and the passion of local farmers were the key factors contributing to the success of local wine. Each wine represents the most premium, the most sincere and the simplest characters of Abruzzo. The way they plant can create the purest grapes while causing zero damage to their homeland.

 

The poised lady in front of us spoke politely and neatly, but you can still discover her tough side. Since Gianni Mascierelli died in 2008, Marina has kept on managing the entire wine business in order to inherit the great responsibility and reputation of her husband. Under Marina’s operation, the estate has produced some impressive offerings, including Villa Gemma 2015 which won the Tre Bicchieri award this year. Miriam Masciarelli, the daughter of Gianni and Marina, is also responsible for the marketing aspect of the estate now. Gianni will be happy in the heaven when he realized the great effort of his family members.

 

The estate held a grand masterclass and invited hundreds of guests to share some of their finest wines. The first one was Castello di Semivicoli Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC, appearing in great acidity, crispy herbal style and honey flavour after fermenting in stainless steel barrels, which reminds me of a vibrant garden. The upcoming two limited La Botte di Gianni edition bottles are a tribute to Marina’s husband. Gianni purchased two 700L French oak barrels for his future project, but unfortunately he could not make it come true. Then Marina, in 2010, decided to mature Trebbiano and Montepulciano for 30 months with the barrels left by Gianni, and bottled the wine on the date of Gianni’s birthday. The “La Botte di Gianni” Montepulciano reveals the opulent notes of cherry and plum, as well as a rich body and pleasant style. The “La Botte di Gianni” Trebbiano has fruit and candied fruit flavours, with a body fuller than the first Castello di Semivicoli from its namesake collection. Finally, the Marina Cvetic Trebbiano delivers extremely rich body, elegant fruit notes and minerality, coupled with prominent oaky style and smooth palate. The Marina Cvetic is an eponymous collection from Ms. Masciarelli, one of the signature lineups invented by Gianni during 1990s, of which the exquisite quality showcases how deep the love of Gianni to his wife is.

 

Besides, Miriam organized a lively poolside party at night, accompanied with rhythmic pop music and Michelin-starred restaurant chef’s delicate food to heat up the vibrant summer atmosphere to the peak. It was an authentic Italian style encouraging us to “live in the present”.  

 

Cantine Lunae – The Encyclopedia of Wine-making

Liguria seems to be a lesser-known region for Asians, but it has the renowned attraction spot - Cinque Terre located, and also the not-to-be-neglected white grape variety Vermentino. We went to Cantine Lunae in La Spezia province, a notable winery in the region. During late June, it is easy to see the vineyards were jam-packed with tiny and immature grapes. Michele Gianazza, the export manager of the winery, stated that the grapes were cultivated with natural fertilizer and finely hand-picked, as purpose to protect the natural environment. After the vineyard tour, Michele kindly arranged an authentic Ligurian lunch with local wine and gourmet food. First, we tasted two signature white wine, the Vermentino Colli di Luni-Liguria Black Label 2013 and Grey Label, both of which have medium body, distinct freshness and rich minerality, and even enrich the subtlety of shrimps and fish. We also sipped at a special wine in the province – Albarola. Its crispy and pleasant herbaceous note paired wonderfully with the pesto pasta, refreshing tomatoes and green bell peppers! What’s more, the red Niccolò V is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Pollera Nero (native red grape) to create balanced body and exquisite acidity.

 

Finally, we went to Ca’ Lunae museum to learn about the wine-making culture in La Spezia which has a history tracing back to the 18th century, thanks to the winery owner, Paolo Bosoni, who has spent lots of time and effort to search a great amount of information about wine-making history. Cantine Lunae is not only a winery, but also an encyclopedia allowing visitors to understand the valuable efforts of winemakers and the uniqueness of local wine through museum, wine tasting, gourmet food, vineyard tour and workshop.

Sartori Di Verona – Glory in Valpolicella

 

After a long way from Trento, we finally arrived at Valpolicella (in the notable Veneto region) that is surrounded by lush vineyards, where Sartori Di Verona, a winery established over 100 years ago, showed us all kinds of Valpolicella wines. Thanks to the China Sales Manager of the winery, Juliette Chen explaining in Mandarin, we can deeply understand this legendary wine region, the history of the winery and its wine products.

 

The products of Sartori Di Verona range from Amarone della Valpolicella, Soave, Valpolicella Superiore to Valpolicella Ripasso, all of which combined traditional craftsmanship with modern style. Since 1950s, the quality of its products has already been recognized by different European and American countries, as the winery has never stopped to publicize the beautiful essence of Valpolicella wine. We began with Sella Soave Classico (a blend of Garganega and a small part of Trebbiano di Soave) which expresses the fruity, almond and mineral notes easily plus bright acidity. An excellent pick for the very first drink!

 

The next few Valpolicella wines truly brought out richness and opulence, and CORTE BRA Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010 was the most memorable one. The grapes making this wine were all handpicked, then followed by drying (13 to 14 months), pressing, fermentation, and finally matured in 4-year-old barrels. Though Amarone della Valpolicella is strong, this vintage 2010 did not give us any irritating mouthfeel, as the old barrels offer notes of sweet cherry, chocolate and raisin. This red has a beautiful style of robustness and softness, represented by silky tannin, ample palate of red fruits and dried vanilla, and a lingering finish.

 

 

Librandi Discover The Southern Adventurous Spirit

The sultry Calabria region exudes a very different Italian impression, and inspires my adventurous spirit to explore its native wine. This time we had an opportunity to visit its most renowned winery, Librandi. The owner Paolo Librandi was very passionate and kind by arranging a simple yet hearty lunch, which was paired with the winery’s own Chardonnay (Citrone Val di Neto Bianco IGT). Both cool and refreshing wines can take away the terrible heat. The white wine showcased intense tropical fruit flavour and refined layers, an exceptional drink that we requested to refill our glasses.

                                                                                          

Growing under over 40ºC is not easy, but we saw the grapes and vines were all in healthy condition. Regarding rows of water pipes underneath the grapes, Paolo explained the winery has already set up an effective irrigation system. Furthermore, the winery is located nearby the Mediterranean Sea, where the sea breeze in the morning and afternoon minimizes the risk of fungal vine diseases and acts as a good cooling factor. That’s why the long-lasting hot summer did not bring any adverse effects to the grapes.

 

Besides the climatic effect, Librandi has boldly applied modern wine-making methods to increase the wine quality since 1990s, with large-scaled preservation and in-depth investigation in terms of native varieties, aiming to allow the globe to recognize the beautiful quality of Southern Italian grapes. “The Barolo of the South” is how we call Gaglioppo. Librandi uses this variety to produce Duca Sanfelice, which shows the notes of herb and red fruits, and delivers exquisite, bright acidity and a very tannic structure. Another red wine Magno Megonio is made of Magliocco, with a tannic structure denser than the former one, and is dominated by the notes of black fruits and licorice. The quality of both red wines is as extraordinary as Northern Italian wines, showing genuine Southern Italian charisma – being wild, passionate and distinctive.

 

 

Terredora- The Underrated Gem in Italy

Terredora, another top-tier South Italian winery, is recognized as one of the best wineries in Italy. Robert Parker gave the score of 90 to a number of Terredora’s products. Situated in the Campania region, the winery mainly uses native varieties such as Aglianico, Greco, Fiano and Falanghina to make fine red and white wines, whose qualities are capable to compete with internationally renowned varieties.

 

The most prominent vineyard of Terredora is Campore, which is located on the hill at an altitude of 500 feet. The abundant sunshine and the great temperature difference between day and night can keep the maturity and high acidity of grapes. The signature Taurasi collection is made by Aglianico from Campore. Having the bouquet of black cherry, violet, plum and leather, this full-bodied wine shows the elegant palates of red fruit jam and spices to complete its wonderful length.

 

For white wine, Loggia Della Serra made of Greco impressed us with its stunning minerality alongside its energetic character and acidity. Fiano Di Avellino is an elegant representative, of which the pear and honey notes are balanced with the tender body, serving as a perfect partner with pesto pasta. The owner Daniela Mastroberardino gave everyone the precious Tauasi Year 2006 as our goodbye gift - This kind of Italian hospitality really tugged at my heartstrings! This was the last stop of my Italian wine trip. What made it memorable was the distinctive wines in different regions, as well as the cheerful smile and sincerity of every Italian. I am sure I would never forget it.

 

 

延續上次的奇妙北意之旅,這次會推介不同來自北意、中意及南意的頂緻酒莊。它們處於不同地域,除了擁有不同的葡萄品種、葡萄酒、更有不同的風土人情,締造出每區獨有的富魅力文化和釀酒故事。不論是品酒,還是細味當地文化,都是一個深刻感受非常真正的意大利體驗。

對壯麗的Abruzzo給予無盡的愛

意大利中部Abruzzo大區葡萄酒歷史尚算年輕,四十年前Abruzzo出產的酒只是被視為廉價的日常餐酒(Table Wine),但現在大家能夠品嚐當地精巧芳醇、遠近通曉的Montepulciano d'Abruzzo紅酒和Trebbiano d’Abruzzo白酒。這裏的酒能夠有莫大的演變全賴Masciarelli酒莊的始創者Gianni Masciarelli畢生致力提升當地葡萄的品質及聲望。

 

Gianni絕對是Abruzzo葡萄酒業的先驅釀酒家,Masciarelli酒莊是全區第一個酒莊引入二百二十五升的法國橡木桶來釀造本土葡萄酒,由於觸覺敏銳的Gianni認為葡萄酒可以增添更繁雜口感和香氣。這位傳奇人物每天都花長時間悉心打理葡萄園和留意酒質變化,最終Gianni Masciarelli的努力付出沒有白費,在八零年代初釀造創新而品質更優秀的紅酒 (當時他還是一個二十多歲的小伙子),讓整個意大利酒界感到驚喜。然後透過Gianni的精湛管理和釀酒精神,讓酒莊成為聞名全國及海外。

 

Masciarelli酒莊以完全有機及部分遵從自然動力耕作,據Masciarelli夫人Marina表示,先夫Gianni認為Abruzzo的風土條件和農民的熱誠也是塑造當地葡萄酒成功因素,每瓶酒都代表Abruzzo最優質、最真誠及最淳樸的特質,加上以這樣方法能創造最純淨葡萄和對自己的家園沒有絲毫損壞。

眼前這位優雅女士說話有禮,用詞簡潔,但依然看出她剛強魄力的一面。由於Gianni Mascierelli於2008年過身後,Marina便堅負先夫的重任繼續打理酒莊所有業務,有些酒款更表現精準,當中Villa Gemma 2015年更在今年獲得三杯獎。現在女兒Miriam亦負責酒莊推廣業務,眼見妻女為酒莊的付出,相信Gianni泉下有知會感到安慰!

 

Master Class中誠邀數百人來出席,有幸認識數款酒莊佳釀。首款Castello di Semivicoli Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC,經過不銹鋼桶發酵後輕易呈現活躍酸度

和青脆草本植物風味和蜜香,聯想起生氣盎然的花園。然後品嚐兩款限量生產La Botte di Gianni系列,是Marina紀念亡夫之作品。Gianni生前購買兩個七百公升的新法國橡木桶作為之後的新計劃,可惜最終他未能完成遺願。Marina在2010年便決定以先夫留下的新橡木桶陳釀Trebbiano和Montepulciano三十個月,並在他生日日子裏入瓶,以La Botte di Gianni命名。當中的Montepulciano展示充裕櫻桃、李子味道,酒體豐盈而且風格開朗愉悅。另一款Trebbiano則出現亮麗果味、蜜餞味道,酒體比首款Castello di Semivicoli系列更飽滿。最後還品嚐了Marina Cvetic系列的Trebianno充滿非常濃郁酒體、細膩果味和礦物感。白酒的橡木質感非常顯著,入口更是順滑無比。以莊主夫人名字Marina Cvetic命名,是Gianni在九零年代創立的經典系列,藉著酒款細緻品質也明白到Gianni對愛妻的情感有多深厚。

 

Miriam亦在晚上安排池畔派對,有強勁流行音樂伴奏、米芝蓮星級食府廚師現場烹調精緻美食,把熱鬧夏日氣氛推至頂端,並充分感受到意大利及時享樂的生活態度。

 

 

Cantine Lunae - 釀酒文化的知識寶庫

Liguria區雖然鮮為亞洲人認識,但擁有不少歐美人士趨之若騖的名勝景點五漁村,它的最顯著Vermentino白葡萄品種同樣不容忽視!我們來到當地La Spezia省的Cantine Lunae酒莊,當時是6月下旬,葡萄園必然是瀰漫一片細小而尚未成熟的葡萄,酒莊的Export Manager Michele Gianazza指出葡萄用天然肥料栽種,由人手採摘,貫徹保護生態的責任!然後Michele安排一頓地道Liguria區午宴,有幸品嚐當地佳釀和美食!首先我們品嚐兩枝招牌白酒— The Vermentino Colli di Luni-Liguria Black Label 2013和Grey Label,酒體中等而且清新、礦物味豐富,配合海蝦和魚類更提升它們的鮮味。另外省內獨有的Albarola白酒充滿怡人清脆的香草風味,配合桌上的羅勒醬意粉、鮮甜的蕃茄、青椒更是一流!另外紅酒Niccolò V均以Sangiovese、Merlot和Pollera Nero (當地紅葡萄品種)混合釀造,酒體平衡和酸度細緻。

 

最後我們到酒莊的博物館Ca’ Lunae museum認識當地從18世紀至今的釀酒歷史文化,全賴酒莊主人Paolo Bosoni花不少時間和心血去搜尋不少有關當地的釀酒歷史資料。Cantine Lunae不單是一個酒莊,而是一個文化寶庫,透過博物館、品鑑會、美食、葡萄園參觀、工作坊深入感受釀酒人的心血和地道葡萄酒的獨特性。

 

 

Sartori Di Verona - 宣揚Valpolicella的綺麗絢爛 

從Trento一直往下來到著名的Veneto區的Valpolicella,當地到處充滿富饒的葡萄園,我們更拜訪擁有超過百年釀酒歷史的Sartori Di Verona,認識各種Valpolicella酒類。酒莊中國區銷售經理陳晶小姐向我們講解時以國語溝通,更加明白這傳奇酒區的特別之處、酒莊歷史和各類酒款。

 

Sartori Di Verona的酒款包括Amarone della Valpolicella、Soave、Valpolicella Superiore、Valpolicella Ripasso等都集合傳統釀酒工藝和現代風格,酒款品質早在一九五零年代獲多個歐美國家認可,可見這酒廠多年來一直默默向各地宣揚Valpolicella酒的精妙之處。以Garganega和少許Trebbiano di Soave品種釀造的白酒Sella Soave Classico,輕易表現出水果、杏仁和礦物質風味之外,還有鮮明酸度,作為開場的酒絕對稱職。

 

其後數款Valpolicella酒發揮的濃郁豐滿魅力,當中最深刻是CORTE BRA Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010,這款酒全部人手採摘最佳的葡萄,風乾十三至十四個月後進行壓榨和發酵,再以四年的舊木桶陳釀。雖然Amarone della Valpolicella酒精度強,但這2010年沒有刺喉痛楚,原因是舊桶給予甜美的櫻桃、朱古力、葡萄乾的味道,剛中帶柔風格。紅酒還富有平滑柔美的單寧、充沛紅果和乾香草味道和悠長餘韻。

 

 

Librandi - 發現南方冒險精神

從Trento一直往下來到著名的Veneto區的Valpolicella,當地到處充滿富饒的葡萄園,我們更拜訪擁有超過百年釀酒歷史的Sartori Di Verona,認識各種Valpolicella酒類。酒莊中國區銷售經理陳晶小姐向我們講解時以國語溝通,更加明白這傳奇酒區的特別之處、酒莊歷史和各類酒款。

 

Sartori Di Verona的酒款包括Amarone della Valpolicella、Soave、Valpolicella Superiore、Valpolicella Ripasso等都集合傳統釀酒工藝和現代風格,酒款品質早在一九五零年代獲多個歐美國家認可,可見這酒廠多年來一直默默向各地宣揚Valpolicella酒的精妙之處。以Garganega和少許Trebbiano di Soave品種釀造的白酒Sella Soave Classico,輕易表現出水果、杏仁和礦物質風味之外,還有鮮明酸度,作為開場的酒絕對稱職。

 

其後數款Valpolicella酒發揮的濃郁豐滿魅力,當中最深刻是CORTE BRA Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010,這款酒全部人手採摘最佳的葡萄,風乾十三至十四個月後進行壓榨和發酵,再以四年的舊木桶陳釀。雖然Amarone della Valpolicella酒精度強,但這2010年沒有刺喉痛楚,原因是舊桶給予甜美的櫻桃、朱古力、葡萄乾的味道,剛中帶柔風格。紅酒還富有平滑柔美的單寧、充沛紅果和乾香草味道和悠長餘韻。

  

 

 

Terredora - 被低估的瑰寶

南意另一間頂級酒莊Terredora是國際公認意大利最好的酒莊之一,Robert Parker更對它其下多瓶作品給予超過九十分的佳作。酒莊位於Campania區,主要沿用原生葡萄品種Aglianico、Greco、Fiano和Falanghina來釀造紅白酒,但品質足以與國際著名品種較量。酒莊最主要葡萄園位於內陸地域Campore海拔五百呎的山坡上,面對充沛陽光,加上日夜溫差保持葡萄成熟度和高酸度。

 

酒莊旗艦系列Taurasi由Campore的Aglianico釀造,呷上後感受夾雜黑櫻桃、紫羅蘭、李子和皮革氣息;酒體飽滿紮實,優雅紅果醬和香料在口腔存留,餘韻悠長。在白酒方面,以Greco釀造的Loggia Della Serra礦物味絕佳,襯托鮮活酒質及酸度。

 

Fiano Di Avellino則展現出蔓妙的氣質,梨子和蜂蜜味道平衡溫柔酒體,配合香草意粉更是完美配合。女莊主Daniela Mastroberardino在午餐送贈Taurasi 06年珍釀作為道別禮物,這意大利的親切款待讓人感動。這裏是意大利之旅的最後一站,旅程結束時我回想最讓我難忘的不止是各區獨特佳釀,還有當地每一個人的親切笑容和真誠態度,是一場永不忘記的旅行。

  

 
 
WINERY INFORMATION

Masciarelli Tenute Agricole s.r.l.

Address: Via Gamberale, 1 66010 San Martino
sulla Marrucina (CH)

Email: info@masciarelli.it
Website: www.masciarelli.it

____________

Cantine Lunae  

Address: Via Bozzi, 63, 19034 Ortonovo (SP), Liguria,Italy

Tel.: +39 0187 660187-669222

Fax: +39 0187 669223

Email: info@cantinelunae.combosoni@cantinelunae.com

Website: www.cantinelunae.com

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Terredora  

Address: Via Serra 83030 Montefusco (AV)

Tel.: +39 0825 968215

Fax: +39 0825 963022

Email: info@terredora.com

Website: www.terredora.com

Sartori Di Verona  

Address: Via Casette, 4 37024 Negrar in Valpolicella (Verona), Italy

Tel.: +39  045  6028011

Fax: +39 045 6020134

Email: sartori@sartorinet.com
Website: www.sartorinet.com

____________

Librandi

Address: Librandi Antonio e Nicodemo spa

S.S. 106 C.da San Gennaro 88811 Cirò Marina Kr

Tel.: +39 0962 31 518

Fax: +39 0962 37 05 42

Email: librandi@librandi.it

Website: www.librandi.it

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