The world of Italian wine is mourning the loss of Abruzzese pioneer winemaker Gianni Masciarelli, who has died of a heart attack aged 53.
The winemaker died on 31 July while on a business trip in Munich.
‘To all those who knew him Gianni was an inspiration, a force of nature, and of course an excellent winemaker and a good friend,’ said Francesco Ricasoli, CEO of Barone Ricasoli. ‘It’s a tragedy.’
Masciarelli was born in San Martino della Marrucina, near Chieti in Abruzzo.
He began making wine at his father’s winery in 1978 and has long been credited as a visionary, masterminding the revival of winemaking in Abruzzo, and the refashioning of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo as a grape that could produce world-class wines.
In 1984 he launched his Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Villa Gemma, a new benchmark in quality for the appellation.
In 1991 he released the first vintage of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Marina Cvetic, named after his wife, a wine that set a new standard for ‘modern’ expressions of the grape variety.
Today the Masciarelli estate comprises 140ha and produces some 1,100,000 bottles of wine a year.
‘He was an exceptional man,’ said Lamberto Frescobladi, CEO of Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi. ‘If the vintage this year is a five-star one, I am going to dedicate it to Gianni Masciarelli.’
He is survived by his wife Marina and his three young children, Miriam, Chiara and Riccardo.
Written by Michele Shah