Imagine delicate golden bubbles dance across your tongue as they cascade down your throat. The texture is mousse-like in quality with fine yet persistent perlage. Aromatically rich of crisp orchard fruits are harmonious blended with soft floral notes and buttered brioche with perhaps a touch of citrus or marzipan, beaconing you to take a sip. The palate is overcome with delight as it is caressed by the round acidity and persistent effervescence. A sparkling wine of this quality and perfection can only be one thing…or can it?
In 1936, Champagne became the first designated wine region in the world specifically created for using the classic method (or as the French say Méthode Champenoise) to produce sparkling wine. That designation stood alone until 1993, when the world recognized a second region for its outstanding sparkling wine production using the classic method; that region was Trento DOC in Trentino, Italy and the designation was awarded to Ferrari Trento for their production of world class sparkling wines.
Protocol Winestudio’s November session featured the outstanding wines of Ferrari Trento. I enjoyed my first Ferrari sparkling wine last year, please read The Holiday’s Sparkle on #WinePW for my review. Last year the Ferrari Perle 2007 was the best sparkling wine I had all year from all wine regions. It was truly outstanding. Therefore, when Protocol announced it was going to feature Ferrari wines for an entire month I knew I had to join in the conversation to learn and taste more of these very high quality wines!
“What is #WineStudio? PROTOCOL Wine Studio presents an online twitter-based educational program where we engage our brains and palates! Its part instruction and tasting, with discussions on producers, varieties, tourism, terroir, regional culture, food matching and what all this means to us as imbibers.”
I have shared the classic or traditional method for producing sparkling wines a few times. Here is brief refresher as best explained by Winefolly:
This method involves allowing the wine to continue fermenting in the bottle for a period of time (months to years). During this time, the bottles are capped with crown caps (like for beer) to withstand the pressure that is building inside the bottle. The bottles are also slanted down, so the yeasts eventually settled in the neck of the bottle. When the wine is judged ready, the bottles are kept in this position with the yeasts at the neck. Through several different processes, the neck of the bottle is submerged in a freezing solution, which only freezes a few inches of the wine inside at the neck which contains the yeast. Then, with the yeasts trapped in a short plug of ice, the bottle can be turned upright without the yeast swirling into the wine. The crown cap is removed, and as the plug of ice starts to melt every so slightly, the pressure from the gas inside will actually expel the plug. Then, the winemaker can top up the wine with the same wine or can give it a dose of wine with some sugar to increase fermentation or to add sweetness. What is important to know about the Méthode Champenoise is that the bubbles in Champagne occur naturally from the wine continuing to ferment in the bottle, not from some carbonation method of adding CO2 under pressure.
“The sound of opening Ferrari, is like the sigh of the Sirocco winds as its dying breath reaches the Dolomites and surrenders.”
Week 1: The Origins of Ferrari TrentoDOC: In 1903 Giulo Ferrari realized the climate of Trento was perfect for crafting high quality Chardonnay destined for sparkling wines. Ferrari Trento sparkling wines are produced in the Dolomite region of the Alps. In 1906, Giulo Ferrari won his first gold medal at the World’s fair after producing the first Chardonnay based metodo classico sparkling wine in Italy. Trento has a similar climate to Champagne in terms of temperature; however, the soil and altitude are quite different. Moreover, Champagne region produces 400 million bottles of annual, whereas TrentoDOC produces 8 million. Though Ferrari wines are often compared to Champagne in structure and technique, they are “proudly Italian, reflecting [Trento] territory; arboreal scents, strong citrus notes, deciduous forest peripheral notes, firm high altitude structure.” Today, Ferrari is the toast of Italy but “maintains the deep tradition and mountain terror of Giulio’s original sparklers.” Ferrari Trento was the first DOC designated sparkling wine in Trento. Today Ferrari leads the way for 41 other TrentoDOC sparkling wine producers.
“There are far worse strategies in life than to try to make each aspect of one’s existence a minor work of art.”
Ferrari Brut NV: Crafted of 100% Chardonnay; poured a vibrant golden yellow into the glass; fresh fruit basket aromas of green apples, pears, and citrus are met with a touch of honeysuckle, along with mouth-watering buttery almond croissant; these aromas blend as harmonious flavors on the palate with rigorous acidity that is crisp and vibrant with a clean and effervescent mouth-feel. A perfect wine to pair with oysters, popcorn and fried chicken or just sip and enjoy! SRP $25.
Week 2: Bottle Expectations – Palate Talk: Ferrari Trento embodies the “Italian Art of Living: a profound appreciation of who we are – our history, culture, cuisine; living life every day in the moment, of valuing your surroundings and the people in them; savoring small bites, good company exquisite wine; the daily celebration of life, friends and family; it’s when you stop, breathe and realize that there’s nowhere else you’d rather be!” ~ Bellisimo Italia Ferrari Trento crafts all their wines with intention to capture the essence of the Italian Art of Living! Watch this short video to learn more:
Ferrari first crafted their Brut Rosé in 1969. The wine was very well received by all, including me, on Winestudio. Our conversation quickly turned to the limitless food pairing possibilities, which lead me quite hungry even though I had already eaten dinner. The simple idea is acidity likes fat. Here are some awesome suggestions for Ferrari Brut Rosé: common to northern Italy is risotto eaten and made with Ferrari Brut Rosé, squash pasta with salmon herb cream with artichokes and asparagus, fettucine with walnut pesto, popcorn, southern fried chicken with biscuits, roasted root vegetables, and finally dark chocolate from Piedmonte! For perfect non-food pairings the winners were laughter and well lit long walks in the park late at night. If these wonderful suggestions are not enough for your visit the Ferrari Trento web site for recipes to pair with all of their wines.
Ferrari Brut Rosé: This wine was crafted of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay; delicate salmon color in the glass with tiny, persistent perlage, layers of aromas cascade from the glass including wild strawberries, rhubarb, red currants, dried rose petal, candied violets, and orange zest, dancing on a bed of crisp minerality provided by the high altitude and the mountain terroir, a real sense of time and place; with a persistent acidity that pleases the palate and begs for food; mouse like texture that provides a slight creamy quality and a long, pleasing finish. SRP $36.
“Do not harm is integral to everything. The voice of our wine is our land. Anything alien to that has no place.”
“Agriculture is sustainable when it balances environmental, social and economic components.”
Week 3: Sustainability – Respectfully Cultivating what Nature Provides: Every grape is hand harvested and all 500+ partner growers follow sustainable farming methods. Strict controls like no crop forcing, irrigation only allowed in emergencies and hand harvest are TrentoDOC regulations. Furthermore, weed killers, insecticides and acaricides have been completely eliminated from all Ferrari vineyards; instead Ferrari uses natural ground cover to fertilize and manage pests. The further explore sustainability of food as well as wine we were joined by Slow Food USA. Originally founded in Italy by Carlo Petrini, Slow Food expanded into the US and now has over 150 chapters. The Slow Foods movement is a “movement for a world where all people have food that is good, clean and fair.” This idea is shared by Ferrari in their sustainability practices that not only seek to do no harm; moreover, to “protect and contribute” positively to the environment. Slow Foods believes “we must learn the names and faces behind our food, more we must love and respect them.” Ferrari Trento supports this idea by understanding “sustainability is not only giving back to the earth, its creating a sustainable community of people.” Moreover, Slow Foods states, “Biocultural diversity means that humans and environments are inextricably linked, they can only flourish together.” And flourish is exactly what is happening in the Dolomites where Ferrari Trento is crafting elegant wines with a great community of people!
“Our vineyards are home to honeybees, contributing to natural balances and overall health of the ecosystem.”
“The honey bee is essential for biodiversity and consequently maintenance of a natural balance. The bees help to pollinate the biodiverse plants and maintain the general health of the environment.”
Ferrari Perlè 2007: The elegant wine poured a delicate gold into the glass. It was quite effervescent with bright aromas of orchard fruit, citrus and a touch of brioche. On the palate the elegant wine offered flavors of crisp apples and pears with lemon custard and mascarpone along with a touch a honey and crème brulee. It was expressively light and refreshing with round acidity that lingered on the palate, begging for another sip. The Ferrari Perlé was crafted of 100% hand selected Chardonnay grapes; 12.5% alcohol. SRP $38.
“This is our home, and in order for our wines to express their terroir we must treat it with respect.”
“The farmer must transform from product supplier to custodian of his or her own land.” Marcello Lunelli
Week 4: A Talk of Dolomites – “Il vigneto Ferrari” All Ferrari Trento vintage wines come from grapes grown in their biodiverse estate vineyards. The mountain terroir has gravelly, porphyrous soil as well as clean fresh crisp air and crystalline water that produces lean, crisp, pure expressions of fruit character in its wines. The soil in Trento includes dolomitic rock, fluvial deposits, porphyry, moraine debris and volcanic deposits. Because the wine was exceptional most of our final session’s conversation focused on the beautiful Giulio 2001!
Ferrari Giulio Riserva del Fondatore 2001: This wine was crafted of 100% Chardonnay from grapes grown in Maso Pianizza, single vineyard at 500m, homage to founder Giulio Ferrari. All Ferrari vintages spend at least 5 years on the lees; Giulio spends at least 10! It poured a penetrating golden yellow in the glass. Crisp apples, anjou pears, lemon zest, nutmeg, praline and a touch of honey rest peacefully on top a slice of crisp, lightly buttered toast with a creamy, velvety persistence that feels like a soft mousse on the palate; elegantly fine perlage; with round acidity leaving a long, mouth-watering finish. It is like drinking a delicious slice of panettone! Ferrari described it as a wine that exhibited “broad and lively mouth-filling texture;” I completely agree! A truly sublime sparkling wine that exhibited the juxtaposition of power and elegance with a youthful playfulness that pleased from first smell to the end of the bottle. 12.5% alcohol. SRP $120
It is easy to see why Wine Enthusiast Magazine chose Ferrari Trento as their 2015 Wine Star Award European Winery of the Year! Head to your favorite local wine retailer or favorite internet wine source and stock up on Ferrari Trento sparkling wines for the holidays and the coming year! And remember if you want to WOW your friends and ring in the New Year with the “Italian Art of Living” then Ferrari Trento sparkling wines are a must!
My Song Selection: What better expresses the “Italian Art of Living” better than fine wine, delicious food, magnificent art and Pavarotti! This song is featured in the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, and when I heard it I knew it was the perfect song to pair with Ferrari Trento’s elegant and sophisticated wines! So grab a glass and enjoy!
Get your bottles of Ferrari Trento sparkling wines and let me know what song you pair with them! Cheers!