Official Debut of Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore
2nd July 2020
This June 2nd, the day of the Feast of the Republic, saw the symbolic launch on Italian soil of the country’s most revered sparkling wine, first created by Giulio Ferrari, the father of Trentino classic- method cuvées in 1902. His successors, the Lunelli family now into in the fourth generation produce ‘Giulio’ their prestige jewel, which regularly scores extremely well alongside the greats of Champagne. The Ferrari team will be hosting a virtual online tasting with samples for the English Press, wine lovers and sommeliers in the coming weeks of high summer. Watch this space.
Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2008
2008 was a year of warm-to-hot temperatures and above average rainfall, the rains particularly heavy in the spring and early summer, requiring great attention to the care of the vines. Stable, sunny weather in August brought excellent ripeness in the 100% Chardonnay grapes. The wine’s appearance is arresting; a golden yellow hue traversed slowly by a super-fine delicate perlage (mousse) Aromas begin with apricot and pineapple, then a whiff of freshly baked apple crumble and cinnamon. Nuances of butter and mountain herbs emerge with extra aeration. In the mouth, there is real opulence of fruit tempered by elegant acidity. The finish is long and multi-faceted. Great with rich scallops or classically roasted turbot. **** 2020 -2030
Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2004
Tasted with Marcello Lunelli, wine director and Ruben Larentis enologist on a memorable occasion at Ferrari Casa in April 2018
2004 was a year that started with a mild clement winter, says Marcello, “allowing for an even germination stage of the grapes.” À summer of scarce rainfall and cooler below- average temperatures – uncannily akin to what they call in the Marne typical ‘Champenois’ weather. All this made vineyard management easier, resulting in a perfect, gently warm September harvest of healthy grapes. Tiny sparkling bubbles, brilliant to the eye. A broad, infinitely varied palette of aromas to delight the true connoisseur: Rennet apples, citron fresh and confit, lifted by floral tones of the Alpine highlands. Exquisite purity of Chardonnay flavours because of low dosage. On the mid palate, dried apricot and even peach emerge. Subtle taste of vanilla from discreet oak. Long multi-toned finish. A masterpiece, one of the great sparkling experiences of my life. ***** 2020 -2035
Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore, the story behind the legend
This great wine is actually a cru (as in Burgundy, Alsace and the Rheingau) – here a Blanc de Blancs produced solely from Chardonnay and the fruit of a single vineyard, Maso Pianizzo on the hills neighbouring Trento. It’s considered a natural masterpiece by experts on account of the area’s soil, composition and climate. The 12 hectares of vines face south west, benefiting from gentle afternoon sunshine, not the full heat of midday – a keen advantage, now mitigating the force of modern climate change.
‘Giulio Ferrari’ as a salute to the founder was created by Mauro Lunelli, head oenologist at the Trento Casa. As Camilla Lunelli, Mauro’s daughter explains, “ few people know how this bubbly masterpiece was created, although it is a story worth telling.” For as a result of his studies and the experience he gained in France, Mauro became convinced that a great traditional method sparkling wine can stand the test of time, no more or less successfully than a great red. So after a few years, in 1972, he bottled a few thousand bottles secretly without telling brothers Franco and Gino, who managed the business, for fear that they would disapprove. Eight years later, in 1980, he had some of the bottles tasted together with the brothers. Everyone was delighted and Mauro had to confess his secret. And those unsung bottles that had defied time were given Giulio’s name and put on the market.
Now forty years on, Giulio Ferrari has turned out to be the most highly praised of Italian sparkling wine, giving my favourite great vintage Champagnes from Maisons and growers the urge, as always, to rise to still greater heights.
Internationally respected Champagne, Sparkling Wine and food author & journalist. Ex Chief Inspector & Wine Editor for the Egon Ronay 'Restaurant Guide'.