Super Tuscans came about as an act of rebellion--a story you might know by heart. Starting in the late 1960s, winemakers in and around Toscana chose to flout DOC rules and make the wines they wanted, often with international varietals or using methods that weren't strictly traditionally Italian. This school of winemaking stood so outside the established order that it soon got its own name, Super Tuscans, and a following that surprised everyone but those defiant Tuscan producers. Given Italy's millennia of winemaking, Super Tuscans' fifty years of history makes them complete upstarts, but their role has been revolutionary.
Like Piero Antinori, Alceo di Napoli made Chianti at his estate Castello dei Rampolla, fell in love with Sassicaia, and then, with the help of legendary enologist Giacomo Tachis, ventured into the world of Super-Tuscans with the 1980 creation of his Sammarco. In 1996, Castello dei Rampolla released its Vigna d'Alceo; it, like its inspiration Sassicaia, would soon achieve cult status. Castello dei Rampolla crafts some of the most highly regarded wines of Toscana, and the wine we feature today, the Vigna d'Alceo, wins awards, high scores, and, most importantly, devotes.
Castello dei Rampolla, an ancient estate devoted to biodynamic growing practices, sits on the edge between innovation and tradition, between old world practices and international grapes, between cult-like fame and relative obscurity, at least when compared to its more famous Super-Tuscan neighbors. Today, we're proud to present six vintages of the estate's Vigna d'Alceo, some as old as 16 years and as renowned as the 1997 vintage, but all of these wines transport you to Toscana in a red-hot flash. Vigna d'Alceo is a great wine, and these bottles taste like skill, passion, history and Italian rebellion.
Finally, you can't have the holidays without sparkling wine, and I'm happy to present an IWM exclusive, Barone Pizzini Rosé Franciacorta. It's from the only region in Italy to make its sparklers as they do in Champagne, and it's fantastic, organic, and a great value. I hope you'll pop one and toast to Italy, home to visionaries, upstarts, artisans, and us.