Matteo Lunelli, Chairman of Ferrari recently led a tasting of five sparkling wines over lunch at Perbacco in San Francisco.
Ferrari, located in northern Italy’s Trentino region (Trento DOC), is a premier producer of “Metodo Classico” sparkling wines; same process used by top Champagne houses. After studying in French Champagne village Épernay, Giulio Ferrari returned to Italy to establish Ferrari in 1902 with the intention of producing sparkling wine that rivaled the best in the world. Chardonnay grapes were first bought to Italy by Giulio Ferrari and for the next 50 years he established Ferrari as esteemed Italian sparkling wine producer. In 1952, Giulio who was childless, sold the winery to Bruno Lunelli, personally selected to carry on his vision. Today Ferrari, under 3rd generation Lunelli leadership, continues to produce stellar sparkling wines, continually striving to improve quality – through sustainable and organic agriculture, support and education to grape growers and vineyard workers, and by utilizing the latest advances in enology, while never straying from the principles established by Giulio Ferrari.
The Lunelli’s currently oversee 300 acres of vineyards in Trentino. The mountains of Trentino are ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir due to excellent soil and wide temperature variation between day and night, helping preserve acidity and in creating aromatic impressions. The Trento DOC imposes strict standards, ensuring high quality wines.
Ferrari as brand is synonymous with “Italian Art of Living” – fashion, design, food, wine, and hospitality. It is served at the Quirinale, home of the President of the Italian Republic; also used to toast many celebrations and achievements in Italian fashion, sport, culture, and design worldwide. Matteo Lunelli sums up during March 2012 “Italian Icons: from Fashion to Wine” keynote speech, “Luxury Italian products have a hugely evocative power: in the minds and hearts of global consumers they recall a feeling of tradition, a distinct sense of place, an atmosphere of inherent quality, and the poetic virtues of our way of life. Beauty and pleasure are mutual to one another and Ferrari wines want to stand with fashion and design brands as ambassadors of Italian lifestyle.”
Perbacco chefs created a specific menu to complement the wines; food delicious, pairings excellent.
First course: Piastra Seared Squid, Corona Bean Passatina, Celery Heart, Arugula, Preserved Meyer Lemon; paired with:
Ferrari Brut NV, Metodo Classico Trento DOC (100% Chardonnay) – Retail $25
Flagship wine of Ferrari. Pale yellow, bright, crisp, creamy, dry. Notes of apple, white flowers, and brioche. Elegant, complex, food friendly. Terrific value.
Ferrari Rosé NV, Metodo Classico Trento DOC (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay) – Retail $37
PInk salmon color. Bright, dry, fresh, creamy, balanced. Elegance from Chardonnay, structure from Pinot Noir.
Second course: Risotto, Seasonal Wild Mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano; paired with:
Ferrari Perlé 2004, Metodo Classico Trento DOC (100% Chardonnay) – Retail $35
An outstanding Blanc de Blancs, matured for 5 years on selected yeasts from Ferrari’s own cultures. Soft, round, elegant. Flavors of apple, almond, and brioche. Unbelievably complex for this price range.
Ferrari Perlé Rosé 2004, Metodo Classico Trento DOC (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay) – Retail $75
Matured for 5 years. Rich and creamy. Flavors of red berries, candied fruit, orange peel, marzipan. Extremely elegant rosé.
Third course: Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder, Baby Carrots, Cipolline, Fruit Mostarda; paired with:
Giulio Ferrari 2001, Metodo Classico Trento DOC (100% Chardonnay) – Retail $100
Ferrari’s Cru Blanc de Blancs with Chardonnay grapes exclusively from the Maso Pianizza vineyard which is located 1,800-2,100 feet altitude, surrounded by woodlands. Matured for 10 years on selected yeasts from Ferrari’s own cultures. Golden yellow color, aroma and flavor of ripe apple, honey, roasted pineapple, white chocolate, marzipan, toasted brioche, vanilla. Still in its youth, beautifully balanced, elegant, seductive.
This tasting was an absolute epiphany for me. From non-vintage to the Giulio Ferrari, each wine inspired me. These are sparkling wines that rival top Champagnes; in fact, I look forward to setting up a blind tasting for friends so they can judge for themselves. These are sparkling wines that I will actively seek out; very fairly priced for terrific complexity. Highly recommended!