Antinori, Gaja, Donnafugata, Masi, Biondi Santi and other great names from every region of Italy poured their wines yesterday at Decanter’s latest event.
Grandi Marchi, the Institute of Italian Wines, is a unique group of 19 family-owned wineries whose express purpose is to promote each region of the country via their wines.
Yesterday at the Institute of Directors in Central London they welcomed press and public for an afternoon and evening of tasting some of the finest wines in the world – poured by their owners.
On the Biondi Santi table, owner Jacopo Biondi Santi and his son Clemente, 17 – the seventh generation of the family to farm in their Montalcino estate – poured two vintages of their Tenuta Greppo Brunello di Montalcino.
‘It’s very important to us to be able to show our wines here,’ the elder Biondi Santi said. ‘We’re ambassadors for Tuscany.’
Tuscany, with four producers in the group – Antinori (represented yesterday by Marchese Piero Antinori, who along with Biondi Santi founded Grandi Marchi), Tenuta San Guido (producers of Sassicaia), Ambrogio & Giovanni Tenute and Biondi Santi – perhaps needs less publicity than most.
But Grandi Marchi seeks to promote every region; from Friuli – where Jermann produces aromatic whites like Friulano and Pinot Bianco – via Lombardy (Ca’ del Bosco) and Marches (Umani Ronchi) to Apulia, Sicily and Sardinia.
‘It’s my first time here,’ Antonio Argiolas of Argiolas, the newest member of the group, said. ‘Most people ask where we’re from and are fascinated to hear we’re in Sardinia.’
‘The great value of the event is that we’re here alongside such well-known wines,’ Marco de Corato of Rivera in the north of Apulia said. ‘So it attracts professionals. We’re not from a famous region and we have to work hard to get our grapes known.’
Further south, Alberto Tasca at Tasca d’Almerita in Sicily said an event like this was the best way ‘to explain the complexities of Italian wine. We’re not promoting our brand but our region. There are more than 35,000 producers in Italy and it’s difficult to coordinate them, so doing it region by region is the best way.’
Such a roll call of renowned names attracted the wine press in force, as well as 200 Decanter readers and the wine-loving public.
‘To be able to meet the producers and taste their wines all at once is incredibly valuable,’ Spanish-Italian wine and food journalist Meritxell Falgueras said.
‘Also, being English, it’s very well organised. I go to the same events in Spain and Italy and they are normally chaotic. People are far more polite here.’
The criteria for joining Grandi Marchi, which was formed in 2004, are that the winery has to be family owned and with a long-established international market, Giancarlo Voglino, who administers the group said. ‘Most importantly, we have to be able to work well together.’ Its great value lay in its size, he added. ‘We will never exceed 20 members.’
View the Great Winemakers of Italy booklet, listing all the producers and their wines
Written by Decanter.com staff