For many, including myself, fine wine
doesn't just stop with the contents of the bottle, it extends beyond to the company itself. If a brand wants to set itself apart from the pack nowadays, not only does the product have to be fantastic and unique, the story behind it has to be personable enough to emotionally invest customers beyond the wine glass. Ferrari knows this and in inviting a select group of writers, reviewers, and editors to a wine tasting lunch at Busalacchi's A Modo Mio in Hillcrest, San Diego with Ferrari Chairman, Matteo Lunelli, they made a point to not only talk about the wine, but about the tradition and passion behind it.
Ferrari is a family owned and operated winery that was founded by Giulio Ferrari in northern Trentino, Italy in 1902. He was convinced that the region had the perfect climate and terrain for high-end sparkling wines that could rival the best of French Champagne and judging by their stellar lineup in place today, he was absolutely correct. As the first viticulturist to bring Chardonnay vines to Italy, Giulio brought his company much success, with awards popping up from international competitions. Since he never had any children of his own, Giulio handed Ferrari to Bruno Lunelli and since then, Lunelli and his children have built Ferrari into one of Italy's most prized and beloved wineries. The Lunelli family has stayed true to Giulio's attention to detail and never strayed from Trentino. Now run by Matteo Lunelli, Ferrari maintains their status as one of the country's best producers of Metodo Classico, while pushing to gain more solid footing on a global scale.
Ferrari presented us with five wines during the tasting: the Ferrari Brut NV, Metodo Classico Trento DOC: (100% Chardonnay) SRP: $25; Ferrari Rosé NV, Metodo Classico Trento DOC: (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay) SRP: $37; Ferrari Perlé 2004, Metodo Classico Trento DOC: (100% Chardonnay) SRP: $35; Ferrari Perlé Rosé 2004, Metodo Classico Trento DOC: (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay) SRP: $75; and the Giulio Ferrari 2001, Metodo Classico Trento DOC: (100% Chardonnay) SRP: $100.
Overall, all five of the wines were refreshing and bright. Fresh mountain fruit combined with complex tones meet your taste buds in a very surprising way. Even after hours at the table, enjoying conversation, the wines held structure. I was especially impressed with the Brut, which I would never guess costs a mere $25. It's very crisp and creamy, leaving a subtle almond aftertaste. For such a low price one would expect an inferior wine, but that's not the case. It really seems that Ferrari never sacrifices quality regardless of the price point, wanting to give Italians an everyday wine to enjoy alongside the special occasion wines.
Known as Ferrari's best, the Perlé is complex but elegant, smelling of ripe fruit (apples and pears) and tasting just the same. Very crisp and dry, it's slightly sweeter than the Brut and has a nice minerality with a surprising bit of spice to it. Very drinkable and priced at only $35, it was one of my favorites and would be a great choice for any occasion.
The Perlé Rosé was my other favorite, which tastes of candied oranges and raspberries and could be paired with a wide variety of dishes. It even worked well with my plate of spaghetti.
The Giulio Ferrari 2001 is aged for ten years and is very complex and refined. It brought forth white chocolate and bread, and has a very pleasing bright gold color. The minerality is tight and makes for a smooth finish that makes it a great choice for many savory foods.
You may not think of Italy when sparkling wine comes to mind but Ferrari knows that and uses it to set themselves apart. They purposefully link the wine to emotion and tradition, which has helped them become a favorite toasting wine during special occasions, like weddings. In fact, they've been the "toast of Italy" for years now and have been served at the Quirinale, the Home of the President of the Italian Republic, and was chosen to be the official toast to the 150th Anniversary of Italian unification. Hollywood and the glitzy world of celebrities have also taken notice, as Ferrari has appeared at Oscar night parties and the Venice Film Festival. They were even chosen by Prada to be the official wine for the Ukranian Foundation dinner and after-party that followed their spring exhibit "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" earlier this year.
If wanting to be seen as personable and inviting, there couldn't be a better choice for Chairman than Matteo Lunelli. Hands moving in rapid fire with excitement over every topic of conversation, he barely had time to eat between his personal slideshows of the gorgeous vineyards surrounded by mountains and his constant invitations to Trentino - which happened so many times that I may just show up one of these days for that private tour. I don't know if Matteo took on the wine's sparkling personality or if it's the wine that's the thief, but either way, the company is in direct correlation to the wine itself, creating a rare harmony in the world of fine wines.
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