On October 25th at The New York Public Library The Instituto Grandi Marchi presented their “Premium Brands”. The Institute, composed of 17 of Italy’s most renowned wine producers (Biondi Santi Spa, Michele Chiarlo, Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari, Pio Cesare, Tenuta San Guido, Cà del Bosco, Umani Ronchi, Carpenè Malvolti, Lungarotti, Masi, Mastroberardino, Alois Lageder, Rivera, Jermann, Donnafugata, Marchesi Antinori, Tasca D’Almerita) hosted a full day of wine tasting in collaboration with the Masters of Wine, the world’s most elite wine society. The producers were represented by Augusto Boffa from Pio Cesare, Raffaelle Boscaini from Masi, Piero Antinori from Antinori, Giovanni Folonari from Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari, Sebastiano de Corato from Rivera, Jose Rallo from Donnafugata, Giuseppi Tasca from Tasca d'Almerita. Hosting the panel was Charles Curtis MW, Head of North American Wine Sales Christie's, New York, and representing the new media was Gregory Dal Piaz from Snooth.
Each producer made a pitch describing their vineyards history, combining tradition with new technologies, diverse high quality Italian wines and new marketing direction.
The current President Piero Antinori pointed out that Italians in general do not like "groups", but this one is composed of competitors who are also friends... friends with a common bond of terroir, history, tradition, art, and vineyards hundreds of years old. He said, "Each bottle should share all these qualities with the drinker".
Here are a few of my tasting notes:
Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2006
70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara, 2 years in oak, 4 months in bottle, deep violet colors, delicious cherry pie aromas, dark waves of chocolate and coffee.
Tenuta Tignanello 2007 IGT
80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in new oak barriques after fermentation until December, blended and aged in barriques for a year, each barrique was individually tasted before bottle aging for another year. Black cherries pervade the palate with ripe fruits, concentrated aromas, blackberries, toast and chocolate... complex and sexy.
Biondi-Santi Tenuta Greppo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003
100% Sangiovese Grosso, 3 years in oak barrels, at least 4 months in bottle, aromas of sweet violets and roses, rosewater, sour cherries, structured tannins, great long finish.
Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido 2007 DOC
855 Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, aged in French oak barrels for 2 years and an additional 6 months in bottle, deep ruby colors, a marked intensity, beautifully balanced with fragrant violet aromas and persistent blue fruits, full bodied flavors with balanced tannins.
Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria DOC Sicilia
Made from Zibibbo (Moscato d'Alessandria) grapes, aged in stainless steel tanks for 4 months then in bottle for 6 months, amber yellow colors, summer fruits, sweet dried figs, and a long honey finish.
Rivera Il Falcone Castel Del Monte Riserva 2005 DOC
70% Nero di Troia, 30% Montepulciano, aged 12-14 months in oak, 1 year in bottle, ruby red colors, chocolate, ripe cherries, and forest floor, supple and textured
Tasca d'Almerita Rosso Del Conte 2005 Sicilia
A blend of mostly Nero d'Avola and other red grapes from the estate, 18 months aged in barrel, six in bottle, deep purple colors, licorice, spice, while fruit comes through on the impressive finish.