The Grandi Marchi comprises a who’s who of the Italian wine scene – family estates who exemplify the highest quality of Italian wine from through the country. Presently made up of 19 members, the wineries represent 12 of Italy’s 20 wine regions and are some of the most widely recognized names in the business.
This week, 15 of those members journeyed to New York to share some of their iconic wines with members of the trade and press. Those assembled had the privilege to taste such revered wines as Tenuta San Guido’s category-making (Super Tuscan) Sassicaia; two exquisite Barolos (one from Michele Chiarlo, the other from Pio Cesare); Lungarotti’s mouth-filling (and perhaps tongue-tying) Torgiano Rosso Riserva Rubesco Vigna Monticchio; Tasca d’Almerita’s historic Rosso del Conte; the luscious Ben Ryè dessert wine from Donnafugata; and a very special cuvée from Franciacorta producer Ca’ del Bosco, among others.
In addition to showcasing the heights of vinous pleasure afforded by these wines, the event also served as a reminder of the diversity of Italian wines as well as the fact that beautifully made wines hail from northern, central and southern regions. Moderator Gloria Maroti Frazee of Wine Spectator suggested that it was, “…a insiders’ guide of where to go in Italy.” And, certainly, these wineries are located within some of most wonderful places to visit, such as a trip to Piedmont to not only taste Barolo, Barbaresco and other prized wines but to also enjoy the white truffles of Alba.
For each of the wines tasted, a representative of the winery – often the owner of the estate and frequently a member of a multi-generational winemaking dynasty – shared some history of the producer and the wine itself. The wines tasted at the event hailed from vintages ranging from 2006-2014. As relatively young wines, the most common question posed to each representative centered on how long the wines would age and when they would be at their peak. In many cases, it was agreed that the wines would be long-lived, with the ability to age for decades, depending upon palate preferences. In particular, Piero Mastroberardino noted that he prefers to taste his Radici Taurasi wines at 20 years old, while the gentleman from Rivera advised that the Il Falcone Castel del Monte Riserva had an aging potential of 30 to 50 years.
While the winemakers and estate owners have the opportunity to conduct vertical tastings (tasting of the same wine, but from different vintages), the majority of the consumers don’t have the luxury of such deep cellars. However, older wines from some of these esteemed producers are occasionally available at retail and this week’s newsletter from NYC retailer Chambers Street Wine & Spirits offered a treasure trove of options to test their theory.
Admittedly, their availability will have changed since Wednesday, but, for example, at the event, participants tasted the Masi Riserva di Costasera Amarone Classico DOC 2009, while Chambers offered up the Masi 1970 Amarone della Valpolicella for $99.99. Similarly, tasters enjoyed the Radici Taurasi DOCG 2009 from Mastroberadino, with a variety of Mastroberardino Taurasi vintages (not necessarily the Radici) listed at Chambers – 1964 ($139.99), 1965 ($119.99), 1966 ($139.99), 19702 ($139.99), 1977 ($179.99) and 2007 ($39.99), among others.
While not presented at the event, Grandi Marchi member Biondi Santi was also listed among the Chambers Street selection of vintage Italian wines, along with equally stellar names.
The current members of the Grandi Marchi include:
Alois Lageder, Alto Adige
Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute, Tuscany
Biondi Santi, Tuscany
Biondi Santi Tenuta Il Greppo, Tuscany
Ca’ del Bosco, Lombardy
Carpenè Malvolti, Veneto
Jermann, Friuli Venezia Giulia
Masi Agricola, Veneto
Michele Chiarlo, Piedmont
Pio Cesare, Piedmont
Tasca d’Almerita, Sicilia
Sassicaia-Tenuta San Guido, Tuscany
Umani Ronchi, Marches