UK meets Italy in the Name of Sparkling Wine

17th December 2018


XVIII century
It is 1730 in London, England.
‘Mr Woodbridge and Captain Holland’ a painting by William Hogarth depicts two men, a successful lawyer and a naval officer, sitting around an ornately carved wooden table in the middle of what must be Woodbridge’s office. A servant walks through the door with a note in his hand. On the table are a book, a scroll and a bottle of wine. Holland holds an empty glass in his right hand while Woodbridge holds a full glass looking at its content intently. By painting the gesture of contemplation Hogarth was certainly at the height of precision in capturing the connection between wealthy society and wine appreciation.

XIV century
It is 1390 in Trento, South Tyrol.
‘Cycle of the months’ a series of frescos by Master Venceslao illustrates the month of October showing the Buonconsiglio Castle’s economic and social life interwoven with rural village life in which the noble class, noticeable for their rich and multicoloured clothes, takes part in harvest along with farmers and artisans dressed up with simple and shabby style in a bucolic atmosphere.
Master Venceslao’s intention was to paint a dream whilst making it as real as possible, so the vivid attention to details and direct observation make it possible to catch the special connection between different social classes in grape harvesting.

Different time, different place, another story.
What do they have in common? A passion, a heritage from the dawn of history revealing affection for land while telling of the people’s goal of giving birth to a divine nectar. Something that through the centuries was named differently, adorned with a laurel wreath in the Greek period, found to be the mirror of truth during the Roman times from which the saying in vino veritas, moreover handed down from Benedictine monks in their codex to descendants.
At this point, gorgeous depictions and faded pages have told us a lot about wine, but more is yet to come…

XX century
It is 1989 in Bodmin Nanstallon, Cornwall
Bob Lindo ex-RAF pilot and his wife Annie decide to plant their first eight thousand vines in their 82-acre in the heart of the Cornish countryside striving to make a top-quality product epitomising the enchanting atmosphere of Cornwall.
When they started out there wasn’t an English sparkling wine industry, so it is thanks to their strong commitment that after only two decades they have achieved a global success producing remarkable wines that are even exported in Japan.
Over the years many awards have been given to Camel Valley, amongst others the first Royal Warrant in history for a UK wine. This great honour has been granted by the Prince of Wales just months before the royal wedding.
Recently Bob Lindo also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution in helping to drive the quality-focused rise of Britain’s home-grown sparkling wine.
Today along with Bob and his wife Annie the second generation takes part of this dream come true with Sam Lindo at the helm as Winemaker.

XIX century
It is 1893 in Oliva Gessi, Lombardy
The Boatti family has its own vineyards in the Cà del Tava district of Oliva Gessi.
In 1914 the Boattis decided to buy another farm called ‘Podere La Borla’ a few miles away in the town of Torricella Verzate. Here they built the winery that still makes wine from the grapes grown on the original farms and others acquired over the years. In 1959 Carlo Boatti gave a boost to the company’s growth by buying new land, expanding the range of varieties with new vines, building new cellar structures and a modern winemaking facility. Today Monsupello is managed by Carlo’s heirs, his wife Carla and children Pierangelo and Laura Boatti cultivating 50 hectares of vineyards to produce a limited quantity of grapes per hectare, harvested manually in crates with grape/wine yields below 55%. in order to make well-structured and harmonic wines.

Different territory, different background, another chapter.
What do they have in common? The same passion for sparkling wines, a pure and vibrant attitude for making the best bubbles.
It is my pleasure to introduce here these stunning sparklers fruit of a calibrated ensemble of passion, knowledge and unique terroir.

Camel Valley White Pinot Noir Brut Traditional Method
Aged 24 months on the lees. 100% Pinot Noir offers fine filigree mousse, profound minerality which permeates the palate with remarkable distinction. It recalls aromas of red fruits marvellously combined with creamy hues. It pairs wonderfully with oyster, lobster with fennel and mandarin or salmon with turnip tops and peanuts to bring out its unique character.

What is extra special about this glass…
You will imagine greenish slopes leading towards country paths where the rhythm slows and silence nests between the rows. You will feel the pureness of garden roses.
Morning rays of light illuminating the smiles of people who love this land.
A sense of beauty and peace will embrace you all around.

Monsupello Brut Pinot Nero Traditional Method
Aged 30 months on the lees. 90% Pinot Nero and 10% Chardonnay reveals lively perlage, awash with fine velvety texture opening into red fruits and cassis purity of exceptional length. It is a fabulous match with squid ink risotto, smoked mackerel and raw red shrimps.
What is extra special about this glass…
You will imagine sweet hills, some of which form rolling lines, others look toward boundless horizons. One of them holds secrets to reveal, experiences to enjoy, a winery hidden by soft lights to release vivacious bubbles to gladden hearts.

Through the pages of history, we may consider wine as being a staple in human life.
Making wine is more than a technical practice; it is a profound part of us from the beginning of civilisation as represented in mural Egyptian paintings, papyri and obelisk dated back XIII B.C. and afterwards bottled in Mesopotamian clay jar dated back 5400 B.C.
Since then many things have changed historically, geographically and in the human traditions. But one still remains the same: wine, a meeting point among people.
It only remains for me to say Merry Christmas from Italy to the UK and to the rest of the world raising a glass of bubbly to wish you the very best.

Stefania Ruffo
Photo credit: Tania Volobueva
Location credit: L’officina dell’arte 

Stefania Ruffo

Wine Educator at Università del Gusto, Wine Writer at Glass of Bubbly. Owner and Founder at Enjoyourwine. Find me on Twitter - @enjoyourwine