COLLECTIVE TASTING MAKES A COMEBACK
To go through all the names of the wineries and their amazing labels presented is a dizzying experience. Where are we talking about? The Bolgheri DiVino event, the world’s longest dinner table with DOC red wines featured as the main event.
More than 1km long, this dinner table positioned on the Viale dei Cipressi, the Bolgheri wine region’s iconic cypress tree-lined boulevard of dreams, saw nearly 1,000 dinner guests at this year’s edition.
The wonderful organization and structure of the event allowed over 3,500 glasses of wine to be served and tasted, much to the delight of the guests, a collection of esteemed wine experts hailing from across the corners of Italy. Participation in the dinner guaranteed a presence at one of the world’s most unique and most prestigious wine events.
Read here for more information on the Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia Wine Consortium leading the way in Bolgheri promotion, including the Bolgheri DiVino event.
While illustrious as the event could be, the needs and safety requirements to follow made this second edition a most demanding event to arrange - the event last year was flat-out cancelled entirely due to the Covid emergency.
In spite of the great obstacles faced, or possibly thanks to them as well, the 2021 edition was an emotion-filled event. Indeed the event provided wine professionals the opportunity to meet again in person after nearly 2 years of limited seating and spaces open for on-site tasting and wine assessment.
The Bolgheri DiVino event was also the ideal setting for a first look at the 53 individual labels of Bolgheri Superiore Doc. These en primeur vintages further enrich the already robust selection of Tuscan previews.
The wines featured at the Bolgheri DiVino were from the 2019 vintage, wines that will go on sale January 1st, 2022. The 2019 harvest provided great expectations for the Bolgheri DOC and Bolgheri Sassicaia selections. Let’s see how they fared.
Love the Bolgheri top-notch labels? Don’t miss Filippo Bartolotta’s presentation of Ornellaia’s latest offering, Ornellaia 2018 Vintage World Launch - Aquilone Tasting Room.
WHAT DOES THE 2019 VINTAGE LOOK LIKE SO FAR?
As noted above, this Bolgheri vintage is bursting with producer and market expectations, which has played a role in creating some quandaries about the wines. When a lack of homogeneity is noted during tastings, this can testify to a difference in overall producer styles.
Generally speaking, this different approach can be interpreted as an asset, yet at the same time can also be interpreted as a certain imbalance in the wine’s final yield.
Following this principle, arriving at a final conclusion regarding an overall vintage becomes quite the challenge.
We came across wines with different balances amongst them, some with a widespread dryness on the palate, and featuring an important concentration. Sips were often full, and fruity, which is unfailingly a positive aspect. These fruity sips were followed however, by a texture that was often still a bit unripe.
With this in mind, we know that 2019 was a late vintage, with slower-than-usual ripening followed by a sudden maturation process that may be responsible for this uneven nature.
In speaking directly with some of the wine producers, we learned that not all the tastings provided were ready quite yet. Some of the tastings were from wines still in barrel.
Read a bit more about Andrea Grignaffini’s vision on what makes the Bolgheri wine region so unique, Bolgheri and Sassicaia - Creating Tuscan Wine History.
As such, for next year’s edition, it would be appropriate to make note of this feature for the wine battery. Our comprehensive judgment on this vintage must be suspended, although some truly beautiful surprises and confirmations of special wines were experienced during this extraordinary tasting.
Guado al Tasso, for example, presented a vintage that was harmonious and complete in every facet, giving their wines a classic, textbook elegance.
Even Ornellaia, although still young, shows the makings of great wines.
San Felice put on an excellent performance, producing a fascinatingly rustic Bolgheri.
Guado al Melo presented a wine with a vivid concentration of aromatic herbs.
Grattamacco titillated with its bubbly vivacity, whereas Fabio Motta took a different path, relying more on intrinsic subtlety and elegance.
Castello di Bolgheri presented a vintage with full-flavored fruit-based aromas and intriguing graphite notes, whereas the Argentiera selection was dark and balsamic.
Our tasting experience was book-ended by our 54th tasting, a Sassicaia 2008 Magnum: ironic and salty notes presented a wine that was almost marine-like.
The Bolgheri wine lands are a magical place, as described by some of the Consortium’s finest top-notch producers. See their interviews, Bolgheri Winelands - turning vineyards into magic, and learn more about what differentiates the Bolgheri area from other Tuscan wine spots.
TENUTA SETTE CIELI MERITS SPECIAL MENTION
We feel, following our tasting, that a special mention is warranted for the Tenuta Sette Cieli, whose name alone (literal translation is the Winery of the Seven Skies) implies a certain propensity towards altimetry.
This wine estate, owned and managed by the Ratti family, is part of the area’s highest vineyards, reaching a height of up to 400 meters. These elevated vineyards are not part of the DOC area however, although the winery is managed and supervised by the extremely talented Elena Pozzolini, the enologist Wine Enthusiast has named one of the area’s pioneers in wine advancement.
Pozzolini has introduced an entirely organic cultivation that has also quietly adopted biodynamic methodologies. The result is a beautiful vineyard that is remarkable for both its aesthetic attributes and the explosive health of its vineyards. These attributes help the winery enjoy Bolgheri’s full luminance, amongst the most intense in Italy.
ANOTHER WINERY AND WINE-MAKER ON THE RISE
Another special mention must be give to Cinzia Merli, the winemaker behind the wines of Le Macchiole.
Merli courageously presented the most outstanding experience during the 2-day Bolgheri tasting event. What did she do? Just a complete vertical tasting of her Bolgheri Rosso Doc dating from 2004 through 2019.
Merli’s tasting experience provides us with a journey through the history of Le Machiole, while at the same time giving us intriguing insight into the evolution of the Bolgheri denomination.
While still so young, at only 27 years of age, the Bolgheri denomination has proven to be a driving force as it continues to conquer influential heft, with perhaps no equal either in Italy itself, or throughout the world.
Bolgheri DiVino proved to be one of the first recent events able to attract the most renowned Italian wine producers, as well as a French consultancy presence. The wine producers provided the public with an excellent knowledge and on-ground expertise, while simultaneously setting an example for other regional wine producers looking to keep the same pace as the Bolgheri contingent.
Filippo Bartolotta brings us on an introduction the the Bolgheri wine lands to help us learn more, Bolgheri & Super Tuscan Wines - Italy Wine Lands.
The wines of Le Macchiole are a delightful example of wine-making paradigms, with their first vintages of this millennium proving to be still rustic. The vintages from 2010 onwards instead have discovered the gift of longevity, with the 2013 vintage proving to be particularly well-balanced and integral.
What about the 2019 vintage? Well, this particular selection instead shows its finest facet, thanks to its innate elegance and subtlety that can only be appreciated and applauded.
Therefore, we’re confident in vowing that the work of Cinzia Merli is not just a gift to wine enthusiasts, but to the entire community of Bolgheri.
Don't forget to register for Mamablip's weekly newsletter for updates on all the exciting newest Mamablip Blog articles, recipes and other wine news from Italy.