In September 2011, I was sitting in a small wine shop in Milano, tasting wines with my new friend Alberto, when I looked up on the shelf and spotted the wines of Antonio Ferrari. These wines were a sore spot for me, for I often thought back to them. Years before, I'd tried to secure all four bottlings, but I was only able to talk Ferrari's daughter into selling me the Solaria Jonica. I still felt that loss.
I asked Alberto what he was doing with them, and he answered that he only sold them to top restaurants like Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia for their wine list. He added that the Ferrari estate's owners really didn't have any connections and had no idea where they could sell their wines. I bought bottles of the three that I had passed on all those years ago, and I brought them home to enjoy with my family. On an autumn evening, sitting in the company of my beautiful wife and our dear new friends--a Chilean duo, an American expat, and an Italian--we drank the three bottles right down do the very last drop and then tried to squeeze the bottles, hoping to get more.
What I can tell you about the experience of these wines is simple. Older wines excite your brain. Beautiful older wines excite your brain and your heart. The Ferrari wines excite your brain, heart and stomach. They are delicious--warm, dense and steeped in brown spice and dried fruit. Unlike most old wines, these wines bestow a tremendous, brooding charm. It's instantaneous and obvious, and these wines make you blush before you realize what you're drinking. The first sip boggles your mind because you've probably never tasted anything like this before. But the mistake here is that you took a sip. These aren't sipping wines. You need to totally coat your mouth with them and allow them to affectionately embarrass you.
Today, I'm proud to spotlight the Ferrari Il Barone 1949, an amazing wine that shows its 64 years in its mellowness and complexity--and it belies those years in its acidity and energy. It's an extraordinary wine, and I'm glad I can offer it at seriously great pricing. You never get to drink a wine this old for under $120. It really is the quintessential holiday treat, as warm as firelight, as decadent as the day after Christmas, and as delicious as your childhood memories.