Written by Guillaume Celante with Gabriele Ferri
July issue ‘Italian’, 2023
In this issue of Gastronomer Lifestyle, we’re taking a journey to Italy, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! My guest for this Italian adventure is none other than my colleague from The Wine Merchant, Gabriele Ferri. We not only share a passion for fine wines but also a friendship that enriches our working relationship. Gabriele brings an authentic touch to our exploration of Italian wines with his deep-rooted connection to his homeland and its rich wine culture.
Italian wines are big, diverse, and always of good, if not great, quality. It’s really no surprise, considering Italy is often neck-and-neck with France as the world’s largest wine producer. The variety of Italian wines is truly mind-blowing. You can find everything from a light, bubbly Prosecco to toast a special moment, to a rich and robust Barolo, perfect for a cosy dinner. It’s all about quality with Italian wines. Perhaps because Italy has been in the winemaking game for such a long time—since the Roman Empire. The rich tradition adds a unique depth to their wines that’s hard to beat.
In modern-day Italy, wine is a big deal for the country’s economy. From vineyards to bottles, wine production supports a tonne of jobs and brings in serious export cash. Italy wineries are also tourism hot spots, the diversity of landscape and the food pairings making it all a living dream.
So, whether you’re a casual sipper or a serious enthusiast, Italy brings plenty to the world of wine that’s worth exploring, and we’re very proud to be able to bring some of the nation’s finest right to your doorstep in Thailand.
Idda Etna Rosso DOP 2020
Nerello Mascalese & Nerello Cappuccio
A beautiful collaboration between the Gaja and Graci winemaking families, “Idda” is an affectionate term used by the locals for Mount Etna, an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily. This particular wine combines Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grape varieties, harvested from the southwestern slopes of Etna. The label design highlights a red spiral, symbolising the lava-coloured terraced vineyards from which the grapes were grown as well as the eternal expansion of life. A hailstorm led to a 20 per cent loss of production, which has only amplified this vintage’s rarity and preciousness.
The Idda Etna Rosso DOP 2020 offers concentrated notes of juniper, graphite, cinchona, and orange, leading to a delicate rose finish. It’s a medium-bodied, creamy, and enveloping experience. Fermented and macerated in both oak and concrete for three weeks and aged for 24 months, the wine boasts a rich flavour profile that speaks of its careful creation process.
The Wine Merchant recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Giovanni Gaja. The family has been producing wines in the Piedmont region of Italy for generations and is known particularly for their extraordinary contributions to Barbaresco and Barolo wines. Recognised as one of Italy’s most iconic wine producers, Gaja wines are highly sought after by collectors worldwide for their quality, complexity, and ageing potential.
Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2016
The Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2016 is a standout white wine from Abruzzo, in the east of Rome. What makes this wine so special are the people behind it and also the place it comes from and how that affects its taste. On the first nose, pick up scents of sage, chamomile, and dried fruits, before the aroma shifts to flint and hydrocarbon.
When you take a sip, expect a lively, salty taste and a deep mineral flavour that lingers. This is a wine that can be kept for many years and will only get better. The folks at Emidio Pepe take great care in making their wines, growing their grapes naturally and according to the lunar calendar, which is all part of their organic and biodynamic approach. They also do everything by hand, from the growing to the bottling, showing their commitment to making a high-quality product. If you ever get the chance to buy a few bottles of this producer, make sure to get as many as possible.
Selections of Gabriele Ferri, Sales Manager for The Wine Merchant Thailand:
Stella di Campalto Brunello di Montalcino Podere San Giuseppe 2016
From the town of Montalcino in Tuscany comes the Stella di Campalto winery, which produces an outstanding Brunello di Montalcino. This 2016 vintage is a testament to their commitment to quality and tradition; one sip instantly takes me back to my first trip to Tuscany, when I visited Stella’s winery. An unforgettable memory (as I truly love the juiciness of this Brunello), the palate brings a symphony of flavours, from ripe red berries and cherries to subtle hints of spice. Earthy undertones add depth, while the wine’s fine tannins and balanced acidity create a velvety texture and harmonious finish. It’s a true masterpiece.
Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Chardonnay 2010
Located in the heart of Tuscany, the Isole e Olena winery crafts exceptional wines, including the distinguished Collezione Privata Chardonnay. Personally, this wine reminds me of my sommelier graduation in 2014, as we drank so many bottles of this unique Italian chardonnay. The 2010 truly showcases the artistry of Isole e Olena’s chardonnay winemaking. Aged in oak barrels, it presents a rich and creamy texture that envelops the palate. Flavours of ripe citrus and tropical fruit harmonise with delicate notes of vanilla and toasted oak. The wine’s well-integrated acidity adds freshness and balance, leading to a lingering finish. This chardonnay embodies the perfect union of fruitiness and minerality.
Nicola Gatta Rosé de Noirs Nature 60 Lune
The Nicola Gatta winery embraces organic practices and minimal intervention winemaking, and their Rosé de Noirs Nature 60 Lune offers an intriguing and distinctive expression of rosé. Tasting this wine for the first time this year with the arrival of Nicola Gatta in Thailand actually marked my return to Italian bubbles after a long time of drinking champagne only. Finally, Italian bubbles with a fair price and outstanding flavour! It’s a captivating rosé made from red grapes, featuring a delicate pale pink hue. The wine entices with aromas of red berries, floral notes, and subtle earthiness. On the palate, it surprises with freshness, elegance, and a savoury character. Aged for an impressive 60 months on the lees, it reveals a complexity and depth rarely found in rosés. This exquisite wine exemplifies Nicola Gatta’s commitment to craftsmanship and sustainability.
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