Chianti DOCG - Primizie - 2014
For our first vintage, we have produced one wine, a Chianti DOCG. The grapes were hand picked and selected, carefully destemmed and fermented in temperature controlled tanks. Fermentation was done at relatively low temperatures to extract maximum aroma and qualitative tannins while leaving rough and bitter elements. Once fermented, the grape skins were lightly pressed keeping only the free run juice for our wine. Press wine was sold bulk to friends and family (who happened to enjoy it immensely!). The wine was blended at that point and aged 50% in stainless steel tanks and 50% in 500L french oak barrels. Using stainless steel allows one to keep all the freshness and fruit of the wine while the large barrels bring roundness and elegance without the overpowering oaky flavors usually associated with barrel ageing. After 9 months, the wine was racked, blended and lightly filtered before bottling. Very low amounts of sulfites were used throughout the winemaking process which makes the wine easily drinkable without causing any sense of disconfort or heavy-headedness.
The story behind the label and the name of the wine
The person on the right of the picture is Giustino, Lara's father. The picture was taken during a high school outing; the class was going on a hike and had a picnic so of course, wine was part of the menu, and even though there was only a bottle, it was a 30 liters one! When we found the picture, we immediately thought that it encompassed everything wine meant to us: friendship, nature, adventure, sharing... Moreover, looking at it, Eli thought that this was probably what people going to bring their bikurim or first fruits to the temple in Jerusalem looked like and since this was our first wine, we called it....Primizie, or bikurim in Italian.
The grapes we used
Sangiovese, pronounced San-joe-vay-zay, makes up 70% of our blend. It is the main grape in Tuscany. It brings delicate aroma and a strong backbone of tannins and acidity which make good Sangiovese based wines very age-worthy. However its qualities are also its default as high yield vineyards will usually have too much acidity, inexistent flavor making insipid, low bodied wines. It thus requires a lot of care in the vineyard to keep yields low and maturation high, often meaning taking the risk of losing part of the harvest because of september rains.
Merlot is one of the most beloved grape varieties today, for a long time, it was almost exclusively used in the region of Bordeaux in France. In the last 50 years, Merlot has been widely planted in Tuscany and it has led to some of the most famous and succesful 'Super-Tuscans', for example, the Sassicaia or Ornellaia amongst others. We use it for the roundness and richness it brings to the wine. It counterbalances the austerity of Sangiovese and allows us to release the wine sooner with less fining and bottle ageing necessary to soften up the edges.
Ciliegiolo, pronounced she-liay-joe-lo, is a grape found exclusively in Tuscany and more precisely on the coast and the southern parts of the region. It takes its name from the ciliegia, cherry in Italian because of its big dark berries that not only look like cherries but bring to the wine deep and enthralling aromas of ripe dark and bitter cherries. One of the wonderful things about making wine in Italy is the huge number of local grape varieties not found outside of their home and Ciliegiolo is one of them. It's historically used as a partner for San Giovese to bring color, aroma and roundness.
Our wine is under the strict supervision of Rav Eliezer Wolff, Dayan of Amsterdam. He follows very closely the production process, sending shomrim when necessary and keeping a sharp eye on everything we do. Rav Wolff is famous all over Europe for his high level of professionalism and knowledge and his disdain for the politics and buisness side of the kashrut world. He has been extremely helpful and supportive of our project and of our desire to bring more artisanal productions to the kosher table.
We also have the hashgacha of the OU whose mashgiach comes a few times a year to check on what we do.
Our Consultant Winemaker
Our consultant winemaker, Luca D'Attoma is one of the top 5 consultants in Italy. He works with some of the most prestigious wineries in Tuscany and Spain. The wineries he works with regularly attain 95+ points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. His own winery, Due Mani, on the Tuscan coast makes three wines, all three of which have 92+ points from Parker. We are excited to be lucky enough that he took such an interest in our project! Today more than a consultant, Luca has become a friend, always pushing us to better ourselves and to never settle for what we thought was good enough.