Italian Winery Profile: Altesino

AltesinoNear the end of 2002, Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini, owner of nearby Tenuta Caparzo, purchased the Altesino winery. Winemaker Claudio Basla remained with the estate, emphasizing his commitment to maintaining Altesino’s hard-earned reputation as a Montalcino institution and a global leader in innovative winemaking.  Amid the eastern hills of Montalcino near Siena in central Tuscany, stands the magnificently elegant 14th century-built Palazzo Altesi, home to the Altesino winery and a marvelous resort. Though the worldwide reputation of Brunello has encouraged some conservatism among Montalcino estates, Altesino has always been a leader, unafraid of innovation. The estate pioneered the technique of aging its IGT wines in small French oak barrels, limiting the time spent in oak to enhance each wine’s personality. The resulting wines were a groundbreaking improvement over those produced by traditional methods. No longer overwhelmed by wood, they were able to display the unique characteristics of the fruit, with softened tannins and perfect balance. Not content to rest on its laurels, Altesino became the first Montalcino estate to introduce the concept of cru wines, made with a special selection of grapes from a single vineyard. They also pioneered the concept of Brunello futures (wine purchased before its release) with its 1985 vintage. Click here for details about the Altesino winery.
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Italian Winery Profile: Castellare di Castellina

The Castellare estate, located in Tuscany’s Castellina in Chianti, is one of the best examples of tradition in the area. The winery’s owner, Paolo Panerai, has closely studied the world’s best wineries and applied this understanding and experience to viticulture in Italy. Castellare di CastellinaIn the town of Castellina, one of Chianti’s best locales, Castellare’s vineyards are at 1200 feet elevation – only a few Chianti Classico vineyards are higher. The vineyards of this 46-acre property are found in a natural amphitheater in the heart of the Classico region. At Castellare, the yield-per-acre is very low, far lower than the maximum level allowed by Chianti Classico DOCG rules, which enhances the concentration of aromas and flavors. The estate has also become a virtual refuge for wildlife, including many of the birds pictured on their labels. With each vintage, the Castellare label features a different bird, symbolizing the estate’s commitment to environmentally sound cultivation. The birds selected for the labels are among the rarest creatures in Chianti, and represent birds threatened by extinction, mostly due to synthetic chemical products and hunting, both of which are forbidden on this property. Click here for more information about the Castellare di Castellina winery.
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Italian Winery Profile: Castello di Volpaia

The first document that mentions the cultivation of vines in Volpaia dates back to 1172. In 1250, Volpaia was a founding member of the Lega del Chianti (Chianti League) and played a pivotal role in protecting Chianti Classico integrity and reuniting the broken Consorzio. Castello di VolpaiaCastello di Volpaia is located in the medieval village of Volpaia. The Estate is more than 900 acres divided between vineyards, olive groves and woods. The winery is fully devoted to Organic Farming techniques for producing extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and wine, in particular Chianti Classico. Owned by Carlo and Giovannella Mascheroni Stianti assisted by their son Nicolo' Mascheroni Stianti, the family decided to commit their considerable energies toward modernizing the winery and producing world-class wines while keeping the external structure of the 11th-century village intact. They were the first in the Chianti Classico region to utilize temperature-controlled fermentation techniques. An amazing “wineduct” that connects the winery’s stainless-steel fermentation tanks in the upper part of the village to the various barrel cellars in the lower portion of the village was installed. The family also painstakingly converted several historical sites to cellars, offices and apartments. Achieving their desired level of quality has been a decades-long process, and one that is never finished. Click here for more information about Castello di Volpaia.
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Italian Winery Profile: Ceretto

 Ceretto WinesFamed Italian gastronome and intellectual Luigi Veronelli wrote, "The land, the land, the land, the land, always, the land." The Ceretto family has sustained this same philosophy since the sixties when Bruno and Marcello joined their father Riccardo in the family business in Alba. The two brothers' objective was to select vineyards in the most historically important areas for the production of great wines. This idea, spawned by a visit to Burgundy, would prove the wisdom of the Ceretto family, placing their bottles among the greats of oenology and elevating Barolo and Barbaresco among the most appreciated and prestigious wines in the world. The idea was revolutionary at the time for a territory in which the concept of "cru" was completely unknown. This intuition was most-notably seen as they began to display their crus as manifestations of their special terroir. The Ceretto family is one of the largest vineyard proprietors in Piedmont with more than 400 acres of estate-owned vineyards, located primarily in the Langhe and Roero region, including in the prestigious DOCG areas of Barolo and Barbaresco. The family name is synonymous with estate-grown, carefully-produced wines that express true varietal character with purity and elegance. The family owns four wine estates in Langhe, each devoted to the production of specific wines and each named for its geographic location. They were the first in Piedmont to invest in the image of their wine, dedicating careful attention to packaging design and working with creative designers to refashion wine labels and bottles. Click here for more information about Ceretto wines.
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Italian Winery Profile: Marchesi di Gresy

Marchesi di GresyIn the 1960’s, Alberto di Grésy spent much of his time supervising the agricultural operations of the family estates where he concluded early on that he didn't want to limit himself to selling the grapes from his vineyards to the finest wine producers in the area, as was the tradition in the Langhe. In 1973 Alberto di Grésy began vinifying his own wine: the objective to produce wine with the best available technology while respecting tradition, and to transfer as much as possible of the character and personality of the terrain, vineyard site and varietal into the bottle. Famous in ancient Roman times when the estate was known as "Villa Martis", today Martinenga's 29.5 acres of Nebbiolo vineyards are considered to be one of the greatest single vineyards dedicated to the production of Barbaresco d.o.c.g. Ideal southern exposure and a particular composition of the soil (blue marl), produces fruit that is transformed into a Barbaresco of extraordinary class and finesse. The winery, recently expanded, provides the means to produce products of the highest quality, with respect to the oenological tradition. Click here for more information about Marchesi di Gresy.
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Italian Winery Profile: La Spinetta

LaSpinettaGiorgio Rivetti's magic touch with Moscato, Barbera, Nebbiolo and, more recently, Sangiovese, Colorino, Vermentino and Sangiovese Rose have taken the wine world by storm. He produces approachable yet age-worthy wines that command the attention of wine critics and consumers alike, year-in and year-out. Their lushness, aromatics, concentration, and length are unrivaled. Rivetti's speedy ascent, from Moscato producer in the 1970's, to venerated Barbaresco and Barolo vigneron today, is studded with success. The genius of La Spinetta encompasses a vast array of great wines, all boasting Giorgio Rivetti's inimitably approachable and voluptuous style. From Moscato to Nebbiolo to Sangiovese, whatever Giorgio touches turns to gold. His pioneering single-vineyard Barberas and Barbera/Nebbiolo blend Pin are considered to be the best of the Langhe. His Barbarescos and Barolo are at the very top of their category. In fact, his wines are among Italy's most celebrated, as he has attained the coveted "Tre-Bicchieri" award for more than 30 of his wines throughout his relatively short career. Click here for more information about the La Spinetta winery.
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Italian Winery Profile: Marchesi de' Frescobaldi

Marchesi de' FrescobaldiThe history of the Frescobaldi family begins around the year 1000,during the same time period as the birth of the banking industry of Medieval Florence. The Frescobaldis quickly became the absolute protagonists of political and economic life earning them the right to the title ‘treasurers to the English Crown’. They inscribed their name in the history of Florence commissioning grand public and architectural works such as the Santa Trinità Bridge on the river Arno, and the construction of the Church of Santo Spirito designed by Brunelleschi. Among the most illustrious representatives of the family, Dino Frescobaldi played an important role: poet of the dolce stil-novo, he was celebrated for having recovered and returned to his friend in exile, Dante Alighieri, the first cantos of the Divine Comedy, allowing Dante to continue his work. The family’s start in wine production is documented at the beginning of the year 1300 at the historic estate of Tenuta di Castiglioni in Val di Pesa, southwest of Florence. From the beginning, the family has demanded that their wines be of quality and reflect the uniqueness of their terroirs, and by the beginning of the 1400s great Renaissance artists such as Donatello had become faithful clients. A century later, Frescobaldi wines were served at the tables of the Papal Court and the English Court of Henry the Eighth. Click here for more information about Marchesi de' Frescobaldi.
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Italian Winery Profile: Il Borro

Established more than one thousand years ago, Il Borro has ancient and mysterious origins, now lost in the mists of time. Perhaps the Etruscans founded the settlement, but there is no concrete evidence to support this thesis. What is certain is that Il Borro was a lookout point on the Roman road Cassia, where a fort was built, due to its strategic location. Records show that the Mascagni family owned the castle until 1254, when Marchese Borro Borri, a Milanese nobleman, bought the property. He later became the Mayor of Arezzo. By1512, the property had passed through his family to Girolamo del Borro, philosopher and scientist. But it was under the patronage of his son Alessandro, that the Il Borro we know today was established. Alessandro dal Borro, visionary and an important figure in Tuscan politics, is the true “father” of Il Borro. The Il Borro family eventually sold the domain and were succeeded by some of the most famous and revered families in Europe: the Medici of Florence, Tornaquinci, the Torriani of Milan, the house of Waldemburg Hohenlohe, and since 1904, the Savoy dynasty. Finally in 1993, and having visited the property many times, Ferruccio Ferragamo bought Il Borro, determined to restore the estate to its former glory. Click here for more information about Il Borro.
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Italian Winery Profile: Poggio Scalette

Poggio Scalette takes its name from the landscape, which is characterized by dry, stonewalls supporting terraces on which the vineyards and olive groves are planted. From a distance the impression is of a series of stairs climbing the slopes of Greve. After the death of its previous owner, Poggio Scalette remained abandoned for years until Vittorio Fiore, one of Italy’s most famed winemakers, discovered the property in 1991 with his wife, Adriana. In 1996, 42 additional acres of land became available, enabling them to expand. It was discovered that the plot of land known as Il Carbonaione was the first area to be replanted after World War I (1914-1918), which means these vines, more than 90 years old, are a rare example of the original clone of the famous Sangiovese di Lamole variety in the Chianti Classico area. Il Carbonaione, Poggio Scalette’s signature wine, is the culmination of knowledge and experience and therefore an important message of quality. Vittorio Fiore dedicates this wine to Tuscany and to Sangiovese — the region and the variety that have allowed him to fulfill his aspirations to produce superb wine. Click here for more information about the Poggio Scalette winery.
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Italian Winery Profile: San Polo

San Polo is a beautiful estate located in the southeastern part of Montalcino at 1,300 feet above sea level overlooking the Sant’Antimo Valley and Mount Amiata. It is comprised of 52 acres, 40 of which are dedicated to vines. Twenty acres are currently producing Brunello di Montalcino, while the rest are dedicated to Rosso di Montalcino and IGT wines. The vineyards at San Polo were planted between 1990 and 2000 and the first wines were produced in 1997. All vineyards have been planted at high density and are sustainably farmed. Winemaking at San Polo takes a comprehensive approach of quality and sustainability. Natural compost and nitrogen-rich plants have replaced chemical treatments in the San Polo vineyards. Picturesque olive groves and a magnificent farmhouse enrich the property with genuine Tuscan charm, while the modern, underground winery and cellar provide the best environment and technology for state-of-the-art winemaking. Winemaker, Nicola Biasi, meticulously manages the estate-grown fruit and strives to keep energy consumption to a minimum during the winemaking process. The ultimate goal at San Polo is to maximize the expression of the unique hilltop terrior of Montalcino, while preserving it for future generations. Click here for more information about San Polo Montalcino.
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Italian Winery Profile: Zardetto

Located in the heart of the famous Prosecco territory between Conegliano and Valdobiadene, Zardetto has been a leader in sparkling wine for more than 40 years. This vibrant and refreshing off-dry Prosecco is produced from carefully selected grapes grown on the finest hilltop vineyards, after which Zardetto’s state-of-the-art winery blends modern techniques and traditional practices that result in an acclaimed brut. As one of the first companies to introduce and distribute Prosecco outside Italy, Zardetto continues to conquer the global market with a wide portfolio of high-quality products. Owner Fabio Zardetto made his way to the forefront of modern Prosecco production thanks to a long lineage of winemaking. The Zardetto philosophy is steeped in the potential of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene hills, aiming to make sparkling Prosecco that truly emphasizes the characteristics of the beloved land. This requires a consistently high level of quality, from exploring new soil in search of unique characteristics, to a significant investment in technology. Fabio personally oversees the entire process, from the vine to the final customer, utilizing his rich knowledge of every hill and terroir in the Prosecco DOC to source the best grapes of the region. Click here for more information about Zardetto wines.
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Italian Winery Profile: Zenato

Founded in 1960 by Sergio and Carla Zenato, the Zenato winery was originally based on the production of quality wines from an indigenous varietal, Trebbiano di Lugana. Over time, the winery has been passed to Sergio and Carla’s children, who have maintained and expanded upon this vision. Zenato has also explored another important area of Italian wine production — Valpolicella. It is here that they have dedicated endless efforts to the improvement and success of Amarone production, a wine of noble attributes and prestige. The Zenato winery possesses a strong link to the richness of its local history and culture, and continues to develop this connection today. The estate is based in a territory that surrounds Lake Garda, with an extraordinary microclimate that allows for an optimal growing season. Cherishing a ‘frank and simple’ approach to life, Zenato is committed to producing affordable wine of exceptional quality. Click here for more information about Zenato wines.
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Il Borro - Familia Ferragamo

Michael and Terri arrived in Italy today, September 1, 2014, to connect with Malaka and Ryan Hilton of Admiral Travel International as they jointly lead the Summer 2014 Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club journey through Northern Italy. The group began their travels together at Il Borro in Arezzo, Italy. Click here for photos from their first winery visit. Il Borro WineryEstablished more than one thousand years ago, Il Borro has ancient and mysterious origins, now lost in the mists of time. Perhaps the Etruscans founded the settlement, but there is no concrete evidence to support this thesis. What is certain is that Il Borro was a lookout point on the Roman road Cassia, where a fort was built, due to its strategic location. Records show that the Mascagni family owned the castle until 1254, when Marchese Borro Borri, a Milanese nobleman, bought the property. He later became the Mayor of Arezzo. By1512, the property had passed through his family to Girolamo del Borro, philosopher and scientist. But it was under the patronage of his son Alessandro, that the Il Borro we know today was established. Alessandro dal Borro, visionary and an important figure in Tuscan politics, is the true “father” of Il Borro. The Il Borro family eventually sold the domain and were succeeded by some of the most famous and revered families in Europe: the Medici of Florence, Tornaquinci, the Torriani of Milan, the house of Waldemburg Hohenlohe, and since 1904, the Savoy dynasty. Finally in 1993, and having visited the property many times, Ferruccio Ferragamo bought Il Borro, determined to restore the estate to its former glory. Click here to learn more about the close friendship our colleagues Malaka and Ryan Hilton of Admiral Travel enjoy with the Ferragamo family.
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Michael's Wine Cellar
1283 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34239