Tradition Rules at Giuseppe Quintarelli (by Paolo Tenti)

This hard-to-find Valpolicella estate is worth discovering, explains Paolo Tenti.
© Paolo Tenti/Quintarelli | Francesco is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, making dried grape wines
When wine lovers hear the name “Quintarelli,” they immediately think of Amarone. The association is understandable: Quintarelli’s famed bottlings are among Italy’s most sought-after wines, even if the family firm has never done any marketing or promotion. There’s not even a sign at the entrance to the estate. Yet the wines have attained cult status.

Read the article: Tradition Rules at Giuseppe Quintarelli

Gianfranco Soldera – Case Basse (by Paolo Tenti)

Paolo Tenti catches up with the Brunello di Montalcino producer who lost most of six vintages when his cellar was vandalized.

© Paolo Tenti | Gianfranco Soldera

Gianfranco Soldera established his Case Basse estate in 1972, leaving behind a successful career as an insurance broker. He’d looked for years for a Barolo estate, but as owners of good vineyards were not willing to sell, he searched elsewhere and found the perfect estate in Montalcino. Although the land was abandoned, with no vineyards, he had a strong feeling it would be perfect and his intuition proved right.

Soldera’s Brunello di Montalcino, almost always designated as riserva after five or six years’ aging, is among the most sought-after and expensive wines in the denomination.

Read the article: Gianfranco Soldera

“Shameful” Ruling Over Barolo Borders

The expansion of the Cannubi ‘cru’ could cast “doubt on the credibility of all the vineyard boundaries” in the region.

© Consorzio di Tutela Barolo e Barbaresco

Producers fighting to prevent the expansion of one of the most important vineyard sites in Barolo have lost their battle.

Rome’s High Administrative Court, the Consiglio di Stato, has overturned a decision that ruled the name Cannubi could only be used for the historic Cannubi area comprising 15 hectares (37 acres).

Read the article: “Shameful” Ruling Over Barolo Borders

Bruno Giacosa: Pioneering Precision in Piedmont

No discussion of Barolo and Barbaresco would be complete without mention of Bruno Giacosa, one of Italy’s most esteemed producers. Paolo Tenti reports on “the genius of Neive.”

© Paolo Tenti | Bruno Giacosa

He’s the producer who inspired a generation of winemakers. A pioneer in introducing single-vineyard bottlings of Barolo and Barbaresco. And a man who’s not afraid to say no to a vintage if he thinks the grapes are not good enough.

Read the article: Bruno Giacosa

Whole-Bunch Fermentation Spreads to Piedmont

The technique already divides growers in Burgundy, and now producers in Barolo and Barbaresco are arguing over it, too.

While the debate over whether to de-stem or not has spread across the globe into New World pinot noir strongholds such as New Zealand, another celebrated Old World region is also experimenting with the technique. In Italy’s Barolo and Barbaresco denominations in the Langhe hills of Piedmont, producers are testing out whole-cluster fermentation.

Read the article: Whole-Bunch Fermentation Spreads to Piedmont

Bartolo Mascarello

The classically crafted Barolos of Bartolo Mascarello are cult favorites of Barolophiles around the world.

Unlike many of today’s top Barolo producers – growers who started making their own wines in the late 1970’s and 1980’s – the Mascarello family have been making and bottling their own wines for generations.

© Paolo Tenti | Maria Teresa Mascarello

Maria Teresa Mascarello, who runs the firm today, learned to make wine from her father Bartolo, an iconic producer who died in 2005. Bartolo joined the firm in 1945 and learned winemaking from his father, Giulio, who in turn had been trained by his own father, Bartolomeo.

Read the article: Bartolo Mascarello

Barolo 2009 and Riserva 2007

This year’s annual Nebbiolo Prima tastings in Alba showcased Barbaresco 2010, Barolo 2009, and the denominations’ Riservas – 2008 and 2007 respectively. A selection of Roero 2010 and Riserva 2009 were also displayed.

Clearly the media, representing the top publications from key international markets from around the world, were most interested in Barbaresco 2010, and – even more so – Barolo 2009.

The Barbarescos showed well overall, and 2010 – distinguished by a cool, wet summer followed by a warm, dry September that allowed nebbiolo a long ripening season – is living up to its reputation of being a classic vintage with the structure for laying down and mellowing.

The 2009 Barolos are a different story altogether. They represent a mixed bag of qualities and styles that depend not only the individual villages and vineyard areas, but also on the ability of the growers and winemakers to handle the difficult climatic conditions. Of all the recent vintages, 2009 is going to pose the most serious challenges for Barolo lovers – due to the irregular performance even among the usually most reliable estates.

Read the article: Barolo 2009 Riserva 2007

COS: A Sicilian Success Story

A young trio who started making wine during a long summer break, spurred a viticultural renaissance in southeastern Sicily. Kerin O’Keefe reports.

© Paolo Tenti | Giusto Occhipinti
© Paolo Tenti | Giusto Occhipinti

Hanging around waiting for the university term to commence in 1980, friends Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Cirino Strano came up with an unusual project to fill their vacation: using a small vineyard and abandoned cellars owned by Cilia’s father on the island of Sicily, they decided to resurrect a local winemaking tradition.

At the time, they had no idea they were embarking on an adventure that would not only change their lives, but also the destiny of an entire denomination.

Read the article: COS: A Sicilian Success Story

Biondi Santi

Drunk by the Queen, hidden from view during WWII: the wines of Biondi Santi. (The head of the renowned estate, Franco Biondi Santi, died suddenly at the weekend. This interview by Kerin O’Keefe was one of his last.)

© Paolo Tenti | Franco Biondi Santi

Read the article: Biondi Santi

Interview with Piero Antinori

There was little sign of the celebrated Tuscan sun in late February as I made my way through the rain-swept narrow streets of Florence towards Palazzo Antinori, to meet Italian wine scion Piero Antinori.

Not only was I going to taste the latest vintages of Antinori’s famed Super Tuscans – Tignanello and Solaia – I was also going to ask him his views on the latest happenings in Chianti Classico.

What, you may wonder, do much-sought-after Tignanello and Solaia have to do with generic Chianti Classicos? Absolutely everything is the answer.

Read the article: Interview with Piero Antinori