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Denominación de Origen
Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Bolgheri DOC
Vial San Guido, 3/A - C.P. 57020 Bolgheri (LI), Italia
Tel.: +34 0565/749600
Fax: +34 0565/749600
Geography and climate
The production area runs parallel to the beaches of northern Maremma, located in the province of Livorno, in the town of Castagneto Carducci. To the east, a chain of hills runs between Bibbona and Castagneto, protecting the vineyards and olive groves from the cold winds from the north, which often provoke lethal freezes during the winter. In the summer, on the other hand, this corridor is swept by cool winds that are generated between the valleys of the Cecina river to the north, and the Cornia stream to the south.
The elders used to say that you couldn't make great wines close to the sea. For this reason, the first Sassicaia vineyard was planted in 1944 in Castiglioncello di Bolgheri, facing east at an altitude of 400 m. above sea level. Today, it has been shown that vicinity to the sea is precisely what makes great wines. The highest-quality vineyards are all at the feet of the hills and in the plane between Bolgheri and the southern part of Castagneto. The cool winds which come from the sea, and the moderate temperature range in August and September provoke slow and regular maturation of all of the qualitative components of the grapes: sugars, polyphenols and fragrances, and contribute to keeping the acidity high, which is necessary in order to give balance to the wines.
The Bolgheri microclimate receives a great deal of light: in addition to direct sunlight, the land benefits from the effects of the reflection of light from the stretch of sea located to the west. The average annual temperature is approximately 14°C, with 18.6°C from April to September, 7.5°C from December to January, and 24°C in August. Average annual rainfall is approximately 600mm, with rain that is well-distributed statistically: more abundant during the vegetative growth, less frequent during the period of maturation of the fruit, and then abundant again after the harvest. The driest month is July.
The zonation research carried out by Prof. Attilio Scienza in cooperation with the University of Milan has shown that the soils in Bolgheri have a great variety in a relatively limited area. There are alluvial soils, of fluvial origin, with round pebbles deposited by the ancient waterways. The name Sassicaia (sasso=stone) comes precisely from this characteristic. There are soils which originated from the sea, with Aeolian sands, limestone and clay. And also volcanic rock which comes from the Metalliferous Hills to the east.
Thus, we find soil which is clayey, clayey-sandy or sandy-clayey, clayey-muddy, or completely sandy. As a result, the water reserves and nutritive elements vary significantly from one area to another. These soils are found on terraces at different levels, such that on average, the general structure succeeds in maintaining the humidity at a deep level, and returning it during the dry periods.
According to the research of Lizio-Bruno, three major areas can be found: the hills, the intermediate area, and the area close to the sea. On the hills we find the oldest alluvial deposits. The pebbly alluvion on which the Sassicaia vineyard is found is also characterized by a significant presence of iron oxide. Further down, the fluvial deposits are younger, and to the west, they mix with the marine deposits.
Vineyard and vines
The density of cultivation in the vineyards is very variable. The oldest have a density of 5,500-6,000 grapevines per hectare, while some of the most recent reach the level of 10,000 grapevines per hectare, and require the use of long arm tractors. Most of the new cultivation systems have a density of approximately 7,000 grapevines per hectare.
The predominant cultivation system is the cordon spur system, but there are also examples of guyot, and even free-standing systems(gobelet).
This means Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. The experimentation which has now been taking place for almost twenty years, has shown the great potential of other varieties such as Syrah and Petit Verdot. And Sangiovese continues to have a hard core of supporters. For white wines, Vermentino is currently the most planted. Sauvignon Blanc, after changing fortunes, is recovering a highly-qualitative dimension, and is often accompanied by Viognier
La viticoltura dovrebbe essere vista in funzione dell’obiettivo enologico che si vuole ottenere ed ogni obiettivo dovrebbe essere realizzato in un determinato ecosistema viticolo.
THE STYLE OF BOLGHERI WINES
The current configuration of the DOC regulation, with the possibility of using up to 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, up to 70% Merlot, and up to 70% Sangiovese, does not allow for defining a single style for Bolgheri wines. As we have seen from the ampelographic structure, the wines are generally based on the Cabernet blend (Sauvignon and Franc) and Merlot, often accompanied by Petit Verdot. And there are also blends with Sangiovese, and even Sangiovese as a single varietal wine.
In reality, we are always dealing with red wines with intense, dark, ruby red, and often impenetrable colors, which demonstrate great ageing potential. The aromas are characterized by ripe berries, at times with balsamic notes of Mediterranean maquis, with well-integrated oak spices. The palate is struck by the round and smooth nature of the wine, the sweetness of the fruit which is always lively due to the freshness of the acid component, the layered and velvety tannic texture, and the long finish. The elegance and the powerful but slender structure, thanks to the acidity, are the most frequent positive characteristics, even though the Mediterranean climate always offers respectable alcohol contents. The ideal style can however be sought in the wake of the line traced by the Bolgheri Sassicaia and the great, historic "Bolgheri Superiore" wines, although we mustn't forget the IGT (Protected Geographical Indication) wines, which by now have become famous around the world, with names such as Masseto and Messorio (Merlot 100%), Paleo (Cabernet Franc 100%), and Cavaliere (Sangiovese 100%). The characteristics described above find their maximum elevation in these wines, and the future structure of the Specifications will necessarily have to take this into account.
Below the Bolgheri Sassicaia, Bolgheri Superiore and great IGT wines, we find the broad range of Bolgheri Red wines, which are less demanding than the "Superiore" wines, but still able to accompany savory cuisine consisting of red meat and game. It is important to specify that most of these wines currently come from young vineyards, which, year after year, show constant improvement in quality due to the increasing maturity of the vines. International critics agree that the potential of Bolgheri wine is "gigantic."
The rosè has a tradition which goes back to the 1970s, when the production of "Rosè di Bolgheri" by Antinori was famous. The most commonly used grapes are Sangiovese and Malvasia nera, but also Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, which produce fresh, fruity and savory roses, that go perfectly with the many recipes of the cuisine along the sea coast.
Vermentino is the mainly used white grape variety in Bolgheri. Usually it is produced with 100% of Vermentino variety or blended with Sauvignon Blanc and Viogner. Freshy and fruity wines, whose grapes are fermented in stainless steel vats, represent the most common typology which can accompany several fish dishes. Beside these, some example of Vermentino and Viogner fermented in oak barriques. These wines present more complexity and they can be accompained to more elaborated fish dishes or to white meat such as poultry dishes.
Mario Incisa della Rocchetta planted the first Cabernet vineyard in Castiglioncello di Bolgheri in 1944. The first bottle of Sassicaia, with the same label we know today, appeared in 1968.
The DOC certification for the red wine came only in 1994, and regulates Bolgheri Superiore and Bolgheri Sassicaia wines, as the first example of Italian cru. It took many years to recognize that the brilliant insight of the Marquis Incisa had created a unique phenomenon in the history of Italian wine: that phenomenon which makes Bolgheri wines a full and grand expression of terroir, wines which are deeply linked to the soil and climate of their territory.
Wines with an original and personal character and raced, the most famous of which are the result of a perfect adaptation of the Bordeaux grape varieties to the Bolgheri climate, a Mediterranean expression of Cabernet and Merlot, which is just as fascinating as the Atlantic expression offered in their original territories. The vocation to greatness though, is also expressed with the traditional autochthonous Sangiovese and Vermentino varieties, which are still very common in the area.
Sassicaia is among the greatest wines in the world, but it is not alone. Starting already in the 1980s, other producers, who are also famous now, joined together with the "legend" to prove that the entire territory, and not just one wine, is "great." The area covered by the DOC Bolgheri certification has expanded rapidly in the last ten years, going from 250 hectares at the end of the 90s, to 960 hectares today. There are currently 33 members of the Consortium, out of 45 companies which operate in the territory.
THE CONSORTIUM AND THE REGULATIONS
On December 14, 1995, the official wine-growers association for the protection of Bolgheri DOC Wines was founded. The founding members were the Marquis Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta, Rosa Gasser, Eugenio Campolmi, Enio Frollani, Michele Satta and Federico Pavoletti.
The symbol adopted by the Consortium was the cypress, the element which characterizes the Tuscan countryside, and which has become celebrated in this area due to the famous road which connects Bolgheri to San Guido.
The straight, six-kilometer long road, a national monument consisting of almost three thousand plants, was conceived by Guidalberto della Gherardesca in the second half of the 1800s, and made famous through the poetry of Giosuè Carducci.
This long and united procession of plants represents the cohesion of the producers who decided to join together in a close-knit group, with the aim of enhancing, promoting and defending quality wine production in the territory.
The Consortium, whose operational offices are located right on the famous Cypress lane, brings together the three professional categories involved in the production process of Bolgheri DOC wines; the vine growers, wine producers, and bottlers. It is interesting to note that most of the producers in the area do their own bottling, and thus complete the production cycle of growing the grapes, producing and bottling the wine, while there are no wine grower's cooperatives.
The companies which belong to the Consortium make up the vast majority of those which operate in the territory, especially in terms of the quantity of wine bottled. Alongside the large companies which have written the history of wine in the area, and which by now are well-known internationally, there are many small companies, which, however, have the characteristic of having always followed the same path of quality set by the more celebrated producers. Among the Consortium's stated aims, research and development of vines and structures necessary for experimentation in the field and in the cellar, for the development and continuous improvement of the quality of the grapes and wines, is considered highly important.
In this regard, the Consortium has carried out two zonation campaigns in cooperation with the State University of Milan and Prof. Attilio Scienza. On June 27, 2006, the Consortium made some amendments to its regulation, in order to comply with the provisions of the Ministerial Decree of 5/29/2001 regarding the control plan. The Consortium is currently taking all of the steps necessary in order to obtain authorization for the performance of erga omnes controls.
Otras denominaciones de Vino de Italia
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Acqui or Brachetto d'Acqui
Albana di Romagna DOCG
Bardolino Superiore DOCG
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG
Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit DOCG
Chianti Classico DOCG
Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore DOCG
Fiano di Avellino DOCG
Gavi or Cortese di Gavi DOCG
Greco di Tufo DOCG
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG
Morellino di Scansano DOCG
Recioto di Soave DOCG
Sforzato di Valtellina or Sfursat di Valtellina DOCG
Soave Superiore DOCG
Torgiano Riserva DOCG
Valtellina Superiore DOCG
Vermentino di Gallura DOCG
Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG
Vernaccia di Serrapetrona DOCG
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG
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