The last time that we saw Maja and Roberto Guldener was close to 20 years ago, but we remembered how much they loved our island.
Last Thursday, I picked them up at the airport and bought them to our home where they were to spend a few days. On Friday morning we had a wine tasting and seminar with our sales group and Saturday evening was a sell-out winemaker’s dinner at the Little Venice.
In Roberto’s words: “In 1988, we established the Azienda Agricola Terrabianca at Radda in Chianti. I met the oenologist Vittorio Fiore, who introduced me to the secrets of grapes and wine. For us it was all new and worth learning.
“Wine means effort, imagination and creativity. It is a work which we start and nature completes. People often ask me: ‘How did you become interested in winemaking?’ It is actually a hard question to answer. Everyone has feelings, sensations, memories and impulses. Campaccio is the result, and its elegance represents my concept of creativity; on the other hand, Croce Chianti Classico Riserva, with its strong connection to the region, represents my view of traditional wine.
“In 2009, Maja and I sold the majority of shares in Terrabianca. In 2017 wine captured us again and we were able to buy Terrabianca back. Wine is a lifestyle, a creation which needs to match life; this is what makes it so fascinating.”
When Roberto addressed the large dinner crowd, he wanted to convey how passionate he is about gathering the unique microclimate of their rolling hills and adding all that the Tuscan soil can contribute. To him, it was this passion that was more important than actually describing his wines. He feels that if he does his job well, the wine will speak for itself.
Let me explain why wine can evoke such a response. Firstly, we are really smelling far more than we are tasting. For many years I have told folks that humans can identify up to 10,000 smells; a 2014 study confirms that we can distinguish over one trillion, although our language does not have the words to describe most of them.
Most of our senses work by going directly to the gateway of consciousness called the thalamus, but not smell. Smell, the one sense that we can never turn off, goes to areas that arouse memories and emotions. Smell can deeply influence our feelings without us realising what is happening.
At any of our stores, you may see Terrabianca Piano or Scassino, La Fonte or Ceppate. As the saying goes, once they are gone, they are gone. The new Terrabianca will consist of Croce Chianti Reserva, Campaccio and Campaccio Reserva. Roberto wants to concentrate all his energy in these three and it is my belief that Bermuda’s favourite Super Tuscan will get better and better.
Croce 2014 is brilliant ruby red with slight violet highlight; sour cherry, plum, vanilla and liquorice on the nose, confirmed on a full, round, smooth and persistent palate showing fruity notes and pleasing structure. It is 100 per cent sangiovese. $28.30.
Campaccio 2013 IGT is a blend of 70 per cent sangiovese and 30 per cent cabernet sauvignon. Roberto pays particular attention to the clonal varieties that he plants and this cabernet comes from some of the finest that Bordeaux has to offer. The wine is lively with a deep ruby colour; bouquet of brushwood and berry fruit, cocoa, toasted almonds and leather; structure, concentration and freshness are perfectly balanced on the palate. Complex, elegant, with full body and smooth tannins. $31.35
Campaccio 2011 Riserva IGT consists of 50 per cent sangiovese and 50 per cent cabernet sauvignon. It is intense in colour with deep ruby and garnet hues. The bouquet of red fruits includes notes of vanilla and liquorice. There is toasted coffee (the Guldeners drank plenty of that in our home) and unbelievable richness and complexity on the palate. It ends with a structured silky texture. Really wonderful. $54.55.
Even under other ownership, this beautiful 300-plus-acre estate could not help but give us very enjoyable wines and I would have to say that Campaccio has been the “go-to” Super Tuscan in Bermuda for a very long time. It is only getting better now.
This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail email@example.com or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit wineonline.bm.