For over a decade, one of Italy’s leading luxury hotel groups has been quietly sourcing the finest red wines direct from the country’s greatest producers. They have amassed a back-vintage hall-of-fame of Italian wine from some of Italy’s most iconic producers, including Angelo Gaja, Giacamo Conterno, Aldo Conterno, Luciano Sandrone, as well as cult vineyard sites such as Messorio, Tignanello and many more.
These now legendary single vineyard wines are difficult to find with such provenance and bottle age – having been expertly stored in their original cases in Florence, unmoved since they were bought on release. This rare collection is now perfectly matured and ready to drink. The collection also includes some large formats, including magnums of Sandrone’s Le Vigne Barolo and highly collectable consecutive vintages such as Gaja’s Sori San Lorenzo dating from 2006 to 2009, all available in magnums.
The wines were destined for the fashionable Riviera, to be sipped by holidaymakers admiring the vistas in Venice, Portofino, Florence and the Amalfi Coast; locations that have throughout history attracted the true pleasure-seekers of the day, from Byron and Shelley to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. But now the hotel group have decided to sell a portion of their collection, giving FINE+RARE’s customers the opportunity to add the glitz and glamour of the Riviera to their own personal cellars.
Key Vineyard Sites included in the Collection
Le Macchiole – Messorio
A Super Tuscan produced in the Bolgheri region and made from 100% Merlot. It remains one of Italy’s most representative Merlot-based wines, as well as one of Italy’s most sought after, with an incredible level of consistency in quality, receiving high 90s scores for every vintage. Vintages available in the F+R cellar include 2005, 2006, and 2007. All three vintages outstanding, with the 2006 arguably the best vintage ever produced, receiving 98pts from Robert Parker and the coveted 3 Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso. The first vintage of the wine was in 1994 and it has been made every year since. In an article published on Vinous about a vertical titled “a study in greatness”, Antonio Galloni was completely blown away by how the wine ages and develops. He states “In most vintages Messorio is expressive even when it is young, yet it also has demonstrated the ability to develop spectacularly well in bottle in a distinctly personal, intimate expression of Merlot from Bolgheri. Frankly, after tasting the 1994 and 1995 I found it virtually impossible to move on to the more recent vintages. Not that there was anything wrong with them. Far from it. It’s just that those older wines were at absolutely glorious peaks of expression, while every wine that followed was more about potential”. The F+R Italian Cellar contains top vintages from the estate already with 10 -15 years of bottle age. Whilst they are drinking beautifully now the wines will provide drinking pleasure for many years to come.
Luciano Sandrone – Le Vigne
Le Vigne by the legendary winemaker Luciano Sandrone is not a single vineyard at all, it is for Luciano the combination of sites that together produce the most quintessential expression of the Barolo region and the Nebbiolo grape. The single vineyard sites the grapes originate from, are fermented separately and only blended together following fermentation. According to Antonio Galloni “no one has managed to bridge tradition and innovation as brilliantly as Sandrone… Over the years Sandrone has turned out a stunning group of wines, often reaching stratospheric heights”. The 2006 available from the F+R Collection in magnums gets stunning reviews. Galloni describes it as “Stunningly beautiful and vivid, the 2006 possesses tons of pedigree… voluptuous Barolo that satisfies all the senses… the 2006 Le Vigne is in a gorgeous spot to deliver phenomenal drinking pleasure now and over the next 10-15 years, perhaps longer”. With over 40 vintages under his belt and a constant drive for perfection, Sandrone is one of Barolo’s brightest stars.
Ceretto – Prapò
The Prapo vineyard is located half-way between the hamlet of Baudana and the village of Serralunga d’Alba. The site has an unusually high percentage of silt and clay giving the wine a rare punchiness. Coming from the Serralunga commune of Barolo, the wine is defined by its limestone soils. The growers here talk about the vines feeling pain as the harder soils put more stress on the vine, producing wines of great depth and power as well as some of the highest tannin levels and the most full-bodied Barolos of any region. The wines from Serralunga can often have a distinctive bitter orange aroma. They are solid and austere but can also be elegant and expressive and the most terroir driven and long lasting of all the regions. The F+R Italian Cellar contains wines from 1985, 1998, 1999 and 2000 which will now be in their optimum drinking window, yet remain at very affordable prices.
Antinori – Tignanello
Tignanello remains one of Italy’s most iconic single vineyard sites. The Tignanello cuvee is Antinori’s predominantly Sangiovese dominant blend (Solaia being the estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend). The use of Cabernet Sauvignon in both Solaia and Tignanello, despite its location in the heart of the Chianti Classico region, means both wines are classified as IGT Tuscany. Accordingly, Antinori was one of the original estates to champion the term “Super Tuscan”. Both of the top wines Solaia and Tignanello are situated on neighbouring hillside vineyards. The 2007 Tignanello available from the F+R Italian Cellar, was recently identified as a cellar favourite by Vinous, following a recent revisit of the vintage: “Readers who own the 2007 can look forward to another 15+ years of fine drinking. This is an impressive showing. 95/100. Drink: 2017-2032”.
Isole e Olena – Ceperello
Cepparello is Isole e Olena’s flagship wine and according to Galloni one of Tuscany’s “most compelling wines”. It originates not from a single vineyard site but is the finest selection of grapes from the Isole e Olena property each vintage. Cepparello is widely seen as one of the great expressions of Chianti Classico. The 2007 in particular (available from the F+R Italian Cellar) is arguably the greatest vintage made at the property and currently in its perfect drinking window. The wine is 100% Sangiovese and aged in French oak barrels. The style emphasises finesse over and above power, with an ageing potential of 20+ years. RobertParker.com describes the 2007 as “rich, round and totally seductive… Layers of fruit build beautifully to an exciting crescendo of aromas and flavors. This is an undeniably sexy Cepparello. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2027”.
For more information on the availability of these wines, or others from the F+R Italian Cellar, please contact your Account Manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Wines are offered on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.