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Ferrari Trento Doc: the fine mountain bubbles of Italy that outpaced Champagne

Last September I attended one of the most formative and mesmerising press trip ever, the so called Ferrari Camp. It’s a four days event with the Ferrari winery in Trento to discover what’s behind their award winning Metodo Classico sparkling wines and to know viticulture, history and gastronomy of the Trento Doc area. Seminars, tastings, Michelin star dinners, helicopter tour, harvest and pic nic in the vineyards are only some of the amazing activities we experienced with the Ferrari team. You can watch them all in the Youtube video linked below. Here you can find a useful overview about Trento Doc and Ferrari winery. 

Sparkling wines have been made in Trentino for over a century. Giulio Ferrari, a visionary winemaker introduced to the region the Chardonnay grape and the Metodo Classico method of production that represent the backbone of Trentodoc appellation’s wines. Today the blend of Trentodoc can also include Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier and Ferrari winery is undoubtedly the first world class ambassador of the wine region. Recently Ferrari has been awarded with “Producer of the Year” at “The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships” 2019 outpacing champagne’s Louis Roederer. Ferrari is also “Winery of the Year” by Gambero Rosso and a perennial recipient of Tre Bicchieri, Italy’s highly wine accolade. 

If you like Champagne, prepare your tasting buds to be amazed by Ferrari’s Trentodoc wines. Many of these sparklers are decidedly crisp, complex and delicious, like the French iconic ones. A few simple reasons explain why. Although these vineyards are located at lower latitudes than those in the relatively cool region of Champagne in France (46 versus 49 degrees latitude), they grow at higher altitudes above sea level—ranging from 800 to 2600 feet (250 to 800 meters). Because higher and cooler altitudes can mimic the effects of higher latitudes in terms of temperature, moving upward hundreds of vertical feet can approximate similar conditions of more northerly latitudes.

Another reason for quality relates to the underlying complexity of soils and geology. Millions years ago, this region was located below ocean waters. When marine organisms with calcium shells died, they fell to the ocean floor, generating marine fossils. Over time this accumulation of calcium transformed into layers of limestone sedimentary rock. Yet below these layers a frenzy of volcanic activity spewed magnesium-rich waters upward, displacing much of the sedimentary calcium with magnesium, enhancing local geologic complexity.

Finally, local mountain winds mitigate extreme temperatures. Two daily winds blow on the terrain north of Lake Garda—the north-to-south morning Pelèr, and the south-to-north afternoon Ora, blowing mostly from March through September.

This combination of cool climate, complex soils, mitigating winds allows for sparkling wines to be produced that are generally fresh and lively with bracing acidity.

The grapes to produce Trento Doc grow in four diverse subregions: the northern Adige Valley, its subsidiary Cembra Valley, the southern Brentonico Plateau, along the valley of lakes, Valle dei Laghi, and around the city of Trento. Chardonnay thrives better at higher altitudes with sunnier exposures, and provides an acidic backbone to the wines; Pinot Noir enjoys lower altitudes, less sunshine and gives more body to wines. Most wineries focus primarily on Chardonnay, although a few (including Ferrari) highlight Pinot Noir.

In 1952, Giulio Ferrari, having no children, sold his winery to Bruno Lunelli. The third generation Lunelli family now own and operate Ferrari winery and a Michelin starred restaurant Locanda Margon (as well as the 16th century Villa Margon, where Emperor Charles V spent time during the Council of Trent). The family is nowadays the most renowned ambassador to Trentodoc wine in the world (Ferrari is the official sparkling wine of the Emmys’ Awards in Los Angeles, for the fifth year). “Over a century ago our founder Giulio Ferrari understood the vocation of our land to produce world class sparkling wine and now we are proud that over 50 wineries are part of the Trentodoc Institute – explains Matteo Lunelli, President of Ferrari Trentodoc. 

“We aim at emphasizing our identity, history and tradition, The elegance, finesse and longevity of our sparkling wines are the result of the unique climate and soil of our vineyards on the foothills of the Alps. We do not only want to represent our homeland of Trentino, but we also want to be a symbol of Italian lifestyle and ambassador of the ‘Italian Art of Living’ on a global scale”

A special combination of art, history and culture. It expresses a taste for the fullness of life and is reflected in the obsessive attention to every detail as well as in the indefinable yet irresistible “Italian touch”:  this is what Lunelli means by “Italian Art of Living”.  Who can resiste to the Italian touch? Can you? 

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