Allegrini 2024

From Fontanafredda to Biondi-Santi to Bertani to Tedeschi, wineries are rediscovering the value of time

Big brands investing in wine “libraries” to look to the future while maintaining their roots and enhancing their heritage

The story of bottles and seasons through the years to look to the future, while remembering the enormous value of the past and its heritage. The top Italian wine brands from Fontanafredda to Biondi-Santi to Bertani to Tedeschi are investing in wine “libraries”. These are actual archives of their historical wines, indispensable to fully understand a territory and its stylistic evolution. The aim is to develop an unprecedented narrative as well as to create an invaluable deposit to draw from to be able to taste the extraordinary, targeted to exceptional customers, important buyers and key journalists. The most recent brand to revive its iconic Barolos is Fontanafredda, which, sixty years later has brought back to light several rare bottles of Barolo Vigna La Villa, Vigna La Rosa, Vigna La Delizia and Barolo Riserva.
Fontanafredda, in the heart of the Langhe, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1858 - the year it was founded by the then King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II. The fine wines in the area have continued to represent one of the most fascinating territories in the world, enhancing its unique characteristics. Rare vintage wines, the guardians of the historical memory that responds to the challenges of the present. Fontanafredda is now ready to reveal them to the world, by reviewing over 60 years of fine Barolos from the MGA (Additional Geographical Mentions) of the agency. “How can we rediscover the value of time? There are very few things in the world that can give us back the concept, and wine is one of these”, Andrea Farinetti, at the helm of Fontanafredda, stated, “time cannot be bought. Time passes, time changes, the climate changes, and this tells us that we must change, too. We must be more careful, more meticulous and give more value to what surrounds us. We have been collecting and holding exceptional vintages from different vineyards for more than sixty years, thinking that tomorrow would be the right time to show that these bottles have something to say not only about their quality, but also about the ethical sense they symbolize. Now, however, ethics tell us that we must slow down, be less superficial and appreciate time. We are hoping that these photographs from the last 62 years of our historical reserves will help us reflect, and enjoy”.
Fontanafredda is not the only brand to invest in its past. In the Amarone della Valpolicella area, one of the leading and most famous reds in Italy, the Tedeschi winery has decided to open its historical archive and to enhance a heritage that is cultural as well as economic. The archive has preserved fifty years of Amarone’s history, and therefore its evolution as well - 15 wines from the 2017 vintage backwards, decade by decade, to 1974. The collection highlights the surprising longevity. The archive has 27.000 bottles of old vintages, of which 6.800 are housed in a room in which the light metal structures on which they rest in rows - divided by vintage and wines of the different crus - are artfully illuminated to create a cozy and suitable atmosphere for tasting. It is an organoleptic deposit open to the public of collectors, haute cuisine operators and enthusiasts, and also available for sale. “We want to reach the catering sector through the vintages in our archive”, Sabrina Tedeschi said, “primarily the Italian one, where the old vintages are missing. Offering verticals is a rarity. There is actually more sensitivity abroad, especially in Japan and Germany, and even in Mexico City. They are looking for old vintages and some importers have asked us for en primeur sales”.
Bertani (Angelini Wines & Estates) is also in Valpolicella and has invested for 10 years, starting in 2012, in the book-tool of the “Library”. It is an encyclopedia that has collected 64 years of history and 43 harvests (and many of them are available on the market), and was created to give value to each single vintage, putting it into its environmental context. “The Library”, edited by Nick Jackson, Master of Wine, former author of Beyond Flavor, former Sotheby’s buyer and extraordinary expert in fine wines, is the story of how Bertani’s style has managed to maintain its unmistakable identity over the decades. Cavalier Bertani began the collection because of his vision, and it has gradually been carried forward over the years, also by the Angelini Group, maintaining faith in the value of transparency and identity that have distinguished the company and ensured that Amarone Bertani has continued to be considered a fine wine worldwide. There are very few wineries in Italy that can boast such a long and distinguished history, and afford a structured archive of old vintages. One of these few is undoubtedly Biondi-Santi, the iconic brand of Brunello di Montalcino. The collection of old bottles kept in the company’s vault is quite precious (now owned by the French EPI Group of the Descours family, which also owns Isole and Olena in Tuscany, in Chianti Classico, ed.), including wines such as Riserva 1888, or the first Brunello in history, or the legendary Riserva 1955, the only Italian wine selected among the 12 best wines of the twentieth century by “The Wine Spectator”. The bottles of the old vintages are accompanied by the “La Voce di Biondi-Santi” project, an audiobook of wine and stories that accompanies the release of new wines on the market. The objective is to narrate the harvests of a fine wine, which are themselves different stories each year, linking them to a value, to a real story and to a story through a voice (in 2023, it was the voice of the Italian actor, Neri Marcorè).

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