For over 100 years, since 1902, Ferrari, using the Metado Classico, has been the ‘Premier’ sparkling wine of Italy.
In 1906 Ferrari won their first Gold Medal at the International Exhibition in Milan. Since the early days, Ferrari has been recognized as a leader in the Italian sparkling industry.
In fact, after receiving ‘Three Glasses’ from Gambero Rosso, the guide suggested that the Ferrari sparkling wines are ‘The Best Sparkling Wines in Italy and also one of the Best in the World’.
This is high praise for the wine icon.
The legend of Ferrari is with us today.
Did you happen to see Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love?’. If you did, you would have noticed Mr. Allen pouring a bottle of Ferrari.
The history of the company starts with Giulio Ferrari, its founder. His dream was to create a wine in Italy modeled after the finest French Champagne. Giulio was a skilled enologist who had studied at the prestigious School of Viticulture in Montpellier (France). He studied Champagne making and returned to Alto Adiage (Trento) with Chardonnay cuttings, the first in Italy.
Flash forward to 1952 when Bruno Lunelli, owner of Trento’s best-known wine bar agreed to take over and grow Ferrari’s operation, keep Giulio on staff and increase production to meet the demand.
His entrepreneurial skills, in short time, reached production of a hundred thousand bottles.
Today, the third generation of the Lunelli family, Matteo, Camilla (the first female) and Marcello guide the 21st century family-owned company into the future.
I visited the region two years ago, after Vinitaly and witnessed the natural beauty of the sloping vineyards. The region is unlike others.
The first Ferrari I sampled was the NV ‘Ferrari Brut D.O.C.’. This is the original, first produced in 1902. Hand-harvested Chardonnay grapes are used exclusively for the production. This is the real ‘Classic’ Ferrari Brut that has been the stepping stone for the company. Small bubbles create an effervescence with an intense fragrance of yeast, wild flowers, peaches and apples. My palate exploded with ripe stone fruit (white peach and apricot), a hint of yeast and smoke, which added another dimension to this well-balanced, crisp, mouth watering sparkling wine. At under $25 a bottle, who could go wrong?
The final wine I sampled is the ‘2004 Ferrari Perle’, a vintage Blanc de Blanc from Chardonnay grapes grown on the Lunelli family’s own vineyard. The bottle is aged for a minimum of five years with the yeast in the bottle before it is disgorged. Elegant, dry and crisp make this yellow-gold wine a true classic. My palate had a faint hint of yeast mixed with a nutty taste followed by light fruity notes of ripe pears and peaches. The Ferrari Perle tastes double its price tag of under $50, a true value and a rival to Champagnes. Giulio Ferrari and the Lunelli Family have created, hands down, ‘Italy’s ‘Best Sparklers’.
Philip S. Kampe