Marchesi Antinori, Cervaro della Sala

Marchesi Antinori, Cervaro della Sala, 2017

  • icon-type Type

    White

  • icon-year Year

    2017

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    Italy

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    13%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Chardonnay 100%
  • Rating

    JS 99, RP 94

The 2017 Cervaro della Sala vintage, characterised by a generally warm climate, nonetheless maintains the freshness and the typical Mediterranean style of Cervaro della Sala. The nose offers perceptible notes of chamomile and flint. The palate is savoury with the characteristic and delicate sensations of vanilla and butter which meld gracefully into hints of tropical fruit to compose a well-defined bouquet. The wine is still young, but will be able to evolve well for years to come as well

2017 was, on the whole, a dry year with a winter characterised by an absence of rainfall and temperatures which were below seasonal averages. A late frost, which struck particularly hard low-laying vineyard plots during the month of April caused a loss of grape production. The warm and dry weather of the summer months favoured an early ripening but guaranteed as well a very healthy crop. Drip irrigation was utilised to combat the scarcity of water which occurred in certain vineyard parcels.

The harvest took place with the picking of healthy grapes, capable of producing a wine with a notably positive balance between acidity and alcohol. The picking of the Chardonnay to be utilised for Cervaro della Sala began at the end of the second week of the month of August while the Grechetto was harvested during the first days of the month of September.

A lesser known detail...

The name Cervaro comes from the noble family that owned Castello della Sala during the 14th century, Monaldeschi della Cervara. A blend of Chardonnay grapes and a small quantity of Grechetto make a wine that can age over time and represent the elegance and complexity of this unique estate. Cervaro della Sala is one of the first Italian wines to have malolactic fermentation and aging take place in barriques. The first vintage of Cervaro to be produced was the 1985 vintage.

About Marchesi Antinori

Marchesi Antinori is an Italian wine company that can trace its history back to 1385. They are one of the biggest wine companies in Italy, and their innovations played a large part in the "Super-Tuscan" revolution of the 1970s. Antinori is a member of the Primum Familiae Vini and the 10th oldest family owned company in the world.

Estates:

  • Tignanello - is a 47 hectare vineyard acquired in 1900 and gives its name to Antinori's most famous wine, designated a Vino da Tavola since the mid-1970s and IGT Toscana since the early 1990s. Since 1982, Tignanello has been made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. The vineyard lies at 1150–1312 feet above sea level, within the Santa Cristina estate (also known as Tenuta Tignanello).
  • Solaia - 'The sunny one' is a 10 hectare vineyard adjacent to Tignanello in the Mercatale Val di Pesa zone of Chianti Classico. The eponymous wine was released in 1978 as an 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc blend, although that has now evolved to a mix of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 20% Sangiovese. Like Tignanello, fruit not used for the grand vin goes into Antinori's Chianti Classico Riserva, Tenute del Marchese and the IGT Villa Antinori (60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 5% Syrah).
  • Pèppoli Estate - Close to Tignanello, 55ha of the 100ha of the Peppoli estate are planted with vines. The slopes face northeast, but the unique microclimate of the valley produces a fruity Pèppoli Chianti Classico and contributes to Marchese Antinori.
  • Badia a Passignano - The Antinoris bought the 325 hectare estate around the historic Vallombrosian abbey in 1987, including the right to use the abbey's cellars. Fifty hectares are planted with Sangiovese from Tignanello which provides the grapes for another Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Badia a Passignano. Piero Antinori regards this as his testbed for the ultimate expression of Sangiovese in Tuscany. Some grapes go into Marchese Antinori.
  • Guado al Tasso - A massive estate of 900 hectares in the Bolgheri bowl, 60 miles SW of Florence, at just 150–200 feet above sea level. A third of it is planted with vines, mostly Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, grapes here ripen two weeks before the Chianti holdings. The best known wines are Guado al Tasso, the Scalabrone rose, Il Bruciato and Vermentino. Matarocchio is a lesser-known and rarer expression of 100% Cabernet Franc.
  • La Braccesca estate - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano La Braccesca, Vigneto Santa Pia, Sabazio, and the Bramasole and Achelo Syrahs.
  • Pian delle Vigne Estate - Sixty hectares of vineyard in a 186 hectare estate bought in 1995, which provides their Brunello di Montalcino.
  • Fattoria Aldobrandesca - Aleatico comes from this Etruscan vineyard near Sovana in Southern Tuscany.
  • Monteloro Estate - North of Florence, supplies the white wines Villa Antinori Bianco and Capsula Viola.
  • Castello della Sala - 500 hectare estate with 160 hectares of vineyard producing Orvieto Classico, Campogrande and Casasole, a Pinot Nero, the Chardonnay-based Cervaro della Sala, and the Sauvignon Blanc-based sweet Muffato della Sala.
  • Antica Napa Valley - Antinori's wine estate in Napa, California. Produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc on 600 planted acres in Atlas Peak AVA.
Grape variety
Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used in the production of white wine. The variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a ‘rite of passage’ and an easy entry into the international wine market.

The Chardonnay grape itself is neutral, with many of the flavours commonly associated with the wine being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis, France, to New World wines with oak and tropical fruit flavours. In cool climates (such as Chablis and the Carneros AVA of California), Chardonnay wine tends to be medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavours of green plum, apple, and pear. In warmer locations (such as the Adelaide Hills and Mornington Peninsula in Australia and Gisborne and Marlborough region of New Zealand), the flavours become more citrus, peach, and melon, while in very warm locations (such as the Central Coast AVA of California), more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out. Wines that have gone through malolactic fermentation tend to have softer acidity and fruit flavours with buttery mouthfeel and hazelnut notes.

Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne and Franciacorta in Italy.

Chardonnay's popularity peaked in the late 1980s, then gave way to a backlash among those wine connoisseurs who saw the grape as a leading negative component of the globalisation of wine. Nonetheless, it is one of the most widely planted grape varieties, with 210,000 hectares (520,000 acres) worldwide, second only to Airén among white wine grapes and fifth among all wine grapes.

Chardonnay lends itself to almost any style of wine making from dry still wines, to sparkling wines to sweet late harvest and even botrytized wines (though its susceptibility to other less favourable rot makes these wines rarer). The two winemaking decisions that most widely affect the end result of a Chardonnay wine is whether or not to use malolactic fermentation and the degree of oak influence used for the wine. With malolactic fermentation (or MLF), the harder malic acid gets converted into the softer lactic acid, and diacetyl which creates the "buttery-ness" that is associated with some styles of Chardonnay. The wines that do not go through MLF will have more green (unripe) apple like flavours. Oak can be introduced during fermentation or after in the form of the barrel aging. Depending on the amount of charring that the oak was treated with, this can introduce a "toastiness" and flavours that many wine drinkers mistake as a characteristic of the grape itself. These flavours can include caramel, cream, smoke, spice, coconut, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.

Other winemaking decisions that can have a significant effect include the temperature of fermentation and what time, if any, that the wine allowed to spend aging on the lees. Burgundian winemaking tends to favour extended contact on the lees and even "stirring up" the lees within the wine while it is aging in the barrel in a process known as bâttonage. Colder fermentation temperatures produces more "tropical" fruit flavours like mango and pineapple. The "Old World" style of winemaking favours the use of wild, or ambient yeast, though some will also use specially cultivated yeast that can impart aromatic qualities to the wine. A particular style of yeast used in Champagne is the Prise de Mousse that is cultivated for use worldwide in sparkling Chardonnay wines. A potential drawback of using wild yeast is that the fermentation process can go very slow with the results of the yeasts being very unpredictable and producing potentially a very different wine each year. One Burgundian winemaker that favours the use of only wild yeast is Domaine des Comtes Lafon which had the fermentation of its 1963 Chardonnay batch take 5 years to complete when the fermentation process normally only takes a matter of weeks.

The time of harvesting is a crucial decision because the grape quickly begins to lose acidity as it ripens. For sparkling wine production, the grapes will be harvested early and slightly unripe to maintain the acid levels. Sparkling Chardonnay based wines tend to exhibit more floral and steely flavours in their youth. As the wine ages, particularly if it spends significant time on lees, the wines will develop "toasty" notes. Chardonnay grapes usually have little trouble developing sugar content, even in cooler climates, which translates into high potential alcohol levels and limits the need for chaptalisation. On the flip side, low acid levels can be a concern which make the wine taste "flabby" and dull. Winemakers can counteract this by adding tartaric acid in a process known as "acidification". In cooler climates, the extract and acidity of Chardonnay is magnified which has the potential of producing very concentrated wines that can develop through bottle aging. Chardonnay can blend well with other grapes and still maintain some of its unique character. The grapes most often blended with Chardonnay include Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Sémillon.

Due to the "malleability" of Chardonnay in winemaking and its ability to reflect its terroir, there is not one distinct universal "style" or set of constants that could be applied to Chardonnay made across the globe. According to Jancis Robinson, a sense of "smokiness" is one clue that could be picked up in a blind tasting of Chardonnay but there are many styles that do not have any "smoky" notes. Compared to other white wine grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Viognier-Chardonnay has a more subtle and muted nose with no overwhelming aromatics that jump out of the wine glass. The identifying styles of Chardonnay are regionally based. For example, pineapple notes are more commonly associated with Chardonnay from Napa Valley while Chablis will have more notes of green apples. While many examples of Chardonnay can benefit from a few years of bottle aging, especially if they have high acidity, most Chardonnays are meant to be consumed in their youth. A notable exception to this is the most premium examples of Chablis and white Burgundies.

Alternative Names: Morillon, Pinot Chardonnay, Feiner Weisser Burgunder

Grechetto

Grechetto or Grechetto bianco is a white Italian wine grape variety of Greek origins. The grape is planted throughout central Italy, particularly in the Umbria region where it is used in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wine Orvieto and Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wine Valdichiana Toscana. It is primarily a blending grape, though some varietal wine is also produced. Grechetto is commonly blended with Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano and Verdello. The grape's thick skin provides good resistance to downy mildew which can attack the grape late in the harvest season. This makes Grechetto a suitable blending grape in the production of Vin Santo.

The thick skin of Grechetto grapes allows the grape to be harvested late with high sugar levels. This works well in the production of dessert wines. There are at least two sub-varieties of Grechetto-Grechetto di Todi and Grechetto Spoletino with the former being more widely planted in the area. The Grechetto vine is low yielding and able to produce concentrated flavours. The grape is primarily used as a blending grape where it adds richness and structure to the wines. It is most often blended with Chardonnay, Trebbiano, Malvasia and Verdello. In Umbria, Grechetto can add herbal and nutty flavours to the wine.

Alternative Names: Grechetto, Greghetto, Grechetto Spoletino, Greco Spoletino, Greco Bianco di Perugia, Grechetto Gentile, Pignoletto, Alionzina

About Umbria IGT

Umbria IGT is the region-wide Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) title for Umbria, central Italy. It covers every part of the region, from the tiny village of San Giustino in the north to Santa Maria delle Neve in the south.

Umbria is situated right in the middle of Italy (if this boot-shaped peninsula can be said to have a 'middle') and is the only Italian region with neither a coastline nor an international border. Its neighbours on the Tyrrhenian coast are Tuscany and Lazio, and it is separated from the Adriatic coast only by the Marche region.

Umbria's annual wine production of one million hectolitres (26 million gallons) makes it Italy's fourth-smallest wine-producing region by volume. By mid-2012, just one fifth of the region's wine was sold under its 15 DOC titles. Compare this to Piedmont, which had 15 DOCGs at that time, and more than 45 DOCs, which together covered almost half of its wine.

The majority of Umbrian was traditionally sold as Vino di Tavola (which commands neither respect nor high prices) so the arrival in the mid-1990s of the IGT category, with its modern, flexible approach to wine styles, was warmly welcomed here. IGT is widely viewed as a practical compromise – a 'middle ground' between the stringent DOC/G production conditions, which are balanced out by higher market prices, and the almost non-existent conditions of Vino di Tavola, for which the penalty is low market prices.

IGT wines from Umbria embrace the traditional as well as the modern, both in terms of grape varieties and winemaking techniques; traditional Italian varieties such as Sangiovese and Montepulciano are found in the wines alongside the internationally successful French varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. This is visible not only in the appellation's single-variety wines, but also in its more popular blends. The quality of the wines is rising, due largely to the engagement of consulting oenologists from other regions and even other countries. This investment has led to improvements particularly in the local Sangiovese.

White Umbria IGT wines tend to be made up of the ubiquitous Chardonnay and lesser-known Grechetto (the variety behind Umbria's most famous wine, Orvieto).

In addition its generic, regional IGT title, Umbria also has several more location-specific IGTs. These include Allerona IGT, Bettona, IGT, Cannara IGT, Narni IGT and Spello IGT.

Regular price $494.00

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