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The modern history of Sangiovese is closely tied to the life of Giulio Gambelli. Born 1925 in the centre of Tuscany, Poggibonsi, Gambelli began working with the grape variety at the age of 14 as a cellar hand at what was then one of the largest wineries in the region, Enopolio.

Never having received any official training as oenologist, his talent and his fabled capacity as a taster soon got the attention of the winery’s director, Tancredi Biondi Santi, who appointed him as his assistant in Enopolio’s laboratory. This phase proved seminal for Gambelli’s belief and love for Sangiovese, as Biondi Santi was also the custodian of a Sangiovese clone he had isolated in one of his vineyards, Il Greppo, and which would become world famous under the name Brunello di Montalcino.

Giulio Gambelli is, so to speak, Italian HENRI JAYER.

Gambelli’s knowledge of the grape variety is second to none and he has consulted some of Tuscany’s most famous estates(ex : SOLDERA, POGGIO DI SOTTO, MONTEVERTINE and LA PORTA DI VERTINE), which have all one thing in common: Sangiovese as the expression of the Tuscan terroir.



Giulio Gambelli和桑嬌維塞的關係息息相關。Giulio Gambelli出生於1925年於托斯卡納的中心﹣波吉邦西,他在14歲的時候便在Enopolio ﹣當地其中一所最大的酒莊 工作。

雖然他從來沒有受到任何正式的釀酒師培訓,但他的天賦和非凡的品酒能力很快被酒廠的董事 ﹣坦克雷迪比昂迪桑蒂所注意,並在Enopolio的實驗室任命他為他的助手。比昂迪桑蒂把他的桑嬌維塞園﹣ IL Greppo分離出他的葡萄園之一,這不但造就了世界上著名的品牌﹣Brunello di Montalcino,也開創了Gambelliti 對桑嬌維塞的信念和愛。

Gambelli對葡萄的知識是首屈一指的,他曾經做過一些托斯卡納最著名的莊園的顧問(例如:SOLDERAPOGGIO DI SOTTOMONTEVERTINELA PORTA DI VERTINE)。它們都有一個共同點:以桑嬌維塞表達出托斯卡納的風味。
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5357 MONTEVERTINE IGT ROSSO TOSCANA LE PERGOLE TORTE 2011 3000ml 3912 LA PORTA DI VERTINE IGT ROSATO TOSCANA ROSATO 2014 750ml 3911 LA PORTA DI VERTINE IGT ROSATO TOSCANA ROSATO 2013 750ml
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Price HK$190.00
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5357 MONTEVERTINE IGT ROSSO TOSCANA LE PERGOLE TORTE 2011 3000ml 3912 LA PORTA DI VERTINE IGT ROSATO TOSCANA ROSATO 2014 750ml 3911 LA PORTA DI VERTINE IGT ROSATO TOSCANA ROSATO 2013 750ml
Pristine cherry, anise seed, cola, balsam herb and almond paste. There’s a touch of softness buried within what is otherwise a tightly textured tapestry of flavors. In terms of texture, the wine is infinitely silky and long. RP95,AG97 Made from highly concentrated 100% Sangiovese. It was like "juice" before, but now it's a serious wine. This Rosé wine could age well. Made from highly concentrated 100% Sangiovese. It was like "juice" before, but now it's a serious wine. This Rosé wine could age well.
3904 LA PORTA DI VERTINE CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2010 750ml 3921 LA PORTA DI VERTINE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 1500ml 3908 LA PORTA DI VERTINE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 750ml
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3904 LA PORTA DI VERTINE CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2010 750ml 3921 LA PORTA DI VERTINE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 1500ml 3908 LA PORTA DI VERTINE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 750ml
The 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva delivers impressive richness and concentration. It offers an incredibly smooth and pure quality of fruit with loads of fresh berry, espresso and leather. I loved the impeccable smoothness of this wine. RP92 Rare magnum from wineries heritage stock. / Just mid crimson. Savoury and spicy and subdued. Brooding layer of cherry with quite a complex oak note underneath. Crunchy red fruit. Closes up quickly. Elegant, yet a little wild. by Walter Speller for Jancis Robinson 17.5/20 points The 2013 Chianti Classico is a wine of profound character and depth. This expression is only Sangiovese, whereas other vintages see a tiny addition of Canaiolo for extra color and intensity. This vintage reveals excellent fruit quality with an earthy, iron-like note that sets it apart. The wine offers great richness in the mouth with elegant contours and bold fruit flavors. It is aged in oak for 18 months. RP91
5032 MONTEVERTINE IGT ROSSO TOSCANA LE PERGOLE TORTE 2008 750ml 1725 LA PORTA DI VERTINE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2010 750ml 1528 LA PORTA DI VERTINE IGT ROSATO TOSCANA ROSATO 2012 750ml
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5032 MONTEVERTINE IGT ROSSO TOSCANA LE PERGOLE TORTE 2008 750ml 1725 LA PORTA DI VERTINE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2010 750ml 1528 LA PORTA DI VERTINE IGT ROSATO TOSCANA ROSATO 2012 750ml
More expressive in its bouquet than the Montevertine. Hard candy, sweet red berries, flowers and spices are some of the notes that emerge from this unusually open, accessible Pergole Torte. RP92,JS93 The 2010 has different character from 2009. It has same level of great concentration and purity as 2009, but texture is finer and smoother. Though I don't know whether it is good expression, it is closer to Brunello di Montalcino. RP90,WS90 Made from highly concentrated 100% Sangiovese. It was like "juice" before, but now it's a serious wine. This Rosé wine could age well.
1184 MONTEVERTINE IGT ROSSO TOSCANA 2009 1500ml 3525 LA PORTA DI VERTINE IGT ROSATO TOSCANA ROSATO 2011 750ml 3520 CASE BASSE DI GIANFRANCO SOLDERA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA 2006 750ml
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1184 MONTEVERTINE IGT ROSSO TOSCANA 2009 1500ml 3525 LA PORTA DI VERTINE IGT ROSATO TOSCANA ROSATO 2011 750ml 3520 CASE BASSE DI GIANFRANCO SOLDERA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA 2006 750ml
Sweet red cherries and freshly cut flowers. The 2009 is a highly attractive, oozes class and elegance. RP94
Made from highly concentrated 100% Sangiovese. It was like "juice" before, but now it's a serious wine. This Rosé wine could age well.
Expressive, floral and impeccably perfumed, the 2006 Riserva is surprisingly mid-weight and gracious in this vintage. Layers of sweet fruit with Burgundian overtones emerge as the wine gains depth and volume in the glass. Wines have a way of putting on weight in the bottle. RP95+
   
 
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Sangiovese Story (by La Porta di Vertine)

Italy’s most widely planted, and therefore, arguably, its most important red grape variety. Approximately 10% of Italy’s total vineyard area or 100,000ha are devoted to this varietal. It is the main grape in Chianti Classico, its 6 sub zones, as well as Brunello di Montalcino and the most important part of the blend that is Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. In addition to these internationally well known wines Sangiovese features as an either large or small ingredient in a staggering 259 DOC’s according to the Ministero delle Politiche, Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali. This means that Sangiovese can virtually be found in every corner of Italy, and more and more in wines from abroad.

Because it is so prolific, Sangiovese may seem an undemanding grape, easily adapting itself to very different soil and climatic conditions. However, judging from a sea of indifferent wines made from this grape, it is far less accommodating than the statistics suggest.

Sangiovese’s main draw back is that it ripens very late, making it generally unsuitable for more northerly, cooler regions, or altitudes over 350m. As it is literally all over the place, many of the sites planted with Sangiovese may not be able to provide the long autumnal seasons needed to ripen Sangiovese properly. When not fully ripe, Sangiovese can be marked by high, almost tart acidity, and drying astringent tannins. The rains that come with the change of seasons complicate matters further, as the grape is thinly skinned, and prone to rot. As the variety doesn’t show an enormous amount of pigments, the wines tend to be very light in colour, especially from overcropped vines and the main reason for compromising its reputation as one of Italy’s outstanding grape varieties.

Sangiovese has been known in Central Italy, and especially Tuscany, for many centuries. Research suggests that the Etruscans already were familiar with the grape. The grape’s name allegedly stems from “Sanguis Jovis”, or “blood of Jove”, but in general its skin does not possess the amounts of colour pigments, which could satisfactorily support the traditional explanation, which refer to this. Unfortunately, deeply coloured red wines are, often erroneous, associated with quality, which is why the medium coloured Sangiovese is not seldomly judged at face value.

Sangiovese has been the subject of official recordings describing its characteristics from the 18th century on. Already at that time the acidity of the grape was noted, and ways to mitigate it discussed. In the 19th century Barone Bettino Ricasoli, proprietor of the Brolio estate in Gaiole, formulated the classic Chianti “recipe”, in which he suggests blending Sangiovese with softer grape varieties like Canaiolo as well as the white Malvasia and Trebbiano, which were present in abundance in Tuscany’s vineyards at that time. Although this “recipe” became a very prominent chapter in the history of Chianti, it is often overlooked that Ricasoli thought blends including white varietals suitable for wines destined for early consumption only. Unfortunately, no such exception was taken in consideration in the Italian wine law that followed in the 20th century. It is here that most of the damage was done, as the law not only allowed high yields, but also forced the inclusion of white grape varieties in the fermentation vat, the reason for this extreme measure being a historical one: for a very long time the cultivation of grapes in Tuscany was but one of the agricultural activities of any estate. Systematically planted vineyards, devoted to one single grape were a very rare sight indeed.

Things got worse after the war, where socio-economic changes saw cheap labour disappear into the cities, and many estates changed hands. To make them profitable, monoculture was introduced with an emphasis on quantity. Vineyards were planted with inferior Sangiovese clones, which could nevertheless produce very high yield. The resulting wines appeared as Chianti at the lowest price point possible in retailers around the world. The region soon became the hunting ground for supermarkets looking for large quantities of wine dictated by a price the consumer was willing to pay for Chianti. Supermarkets work with contracts that are drawn up long before the first flowering of the vine. When the following harvest produces less volume than sold on contract, it is clear that some creativity will be required to fill the gap.

In an environment like this, estates focusing on quality were either unwilling or unable to label their produce under the Chianti Classico name. Unwilling, as the reputation, or rather its absence, would make these high quality wines a hard sell, and unable as the wine law didn’t allow new practices as small oak casks, nor in a bizarre way, would legally recognise a wine made of 100% Sangiovese. So poor was the general reputation of Chianti Classico at this time, that many quality producers would shun Sangiovese altogether and plant international grape varieties, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to attract the attention of an international market. These wines could only be labelled under the lowest wine category possible, Vino da Tavola, but bizarrely represented the best Tuscany had to offer, and therefore became known as “Super Tuscans”.

The Vino da Tavola category became a playing ground for experiments with international grapes, modern vinification techniques and maturation in the French Barrique. The government put an end to this by introducing amendments to the original laws that had only favoured “traditional methods and grapes”. These amendments removed the obligation of adding white grapes to the Chianti blend, as well as stating a minimum for Sangiovese and not a maximum. In this way 100% Sangiovese wines became a legal reality. The Vino da Tavola designation was made impotent by banning the name of the grape as well as the vintage on the label and introducing the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica), which is nothing else but a Vino da Tavola with a geographic description, allowing for enormous flexibility in grape variety choice and vinification methods. The origin of the grapes, or the concept of terroir, plays virtually no role as the IGT’s demarcation in general can encompass the whole region, and wines with an international profile are the rule under the IGT banner.

Eventually, more producers grew tired of the dominant impact of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which, even when used in small portions in the blend, easily mask Sangiovese’s subtle qualities, and started to focus on a 100% Sangiovese blend. As a result, Sangiovese was increasingly recognised as an outstanding grape variety, its true qualities having been obscured either by high yields, the addition of other grape varieties (notably white ones) or a combination of the two. Analogies with Pinot Noir were explained to an audience used to the international blend the true characteristics of Sangiovese in general and Chianti Classico in particular: perfumed, elegant wines, with acidity as a structuring element, qualities that could easily be overshadowed by too enthusiastic oak ageing. Therefore, many producers started to steer away using new French oak and reintroduced the traditional large Slavonian oak casks.

The turning point in Sangiovese’s re-appraisal came, when at last the region turned its attention to clonal selection. A long term research project on the easily mutating Sangiovese was implemented by the Consortium of Chianti Classico producers. The project was triggered by the inescapable realisation that by the year 2000 the low quality but high yielding Sangiovese clone, with which most vineyards in the Classsico area were planted since the 1970s, would be more than 25 years old. As most vines become uneconomical and low yielding at that age and are often grubbed up to be replaced with new vines, the Consortium foresaw a planting wave at the beginning of the 21st century, and was well aware, that the chance to promote superior clones of Sangiovese had come. In order to be able to advise its members on the right choice, several member vineyards were selected to plant different clones on different rootstocks.

In a period of 20 years the Consortium collected a wealth of information on all aspects of plants, exposure, soil type, yield, temperatures and climate, etc, and made all this information available to its members. It is safe to say that this has been the most important single action the Consortium has taken in its entire history and with considerable success. The project, although now terminated, still continues in some vineyards, notably with Cannaiolo, Colorino and other grapes considered indigenous to the region.(by La Porta di Vertine)



桑嬌維塞是在意大利中最廣泛種植的葡萄,亦是其最重要的紅葡萄品種之一。它的種植大約佔了意大利的葡萄園面積約10%或10萬公頃,致力於種植這個品種。它是在古典基安蒂和它的6個子區中最主要的葡萄,包括了良好的Brunello di Montalcino,和用作Vino Nobile di Montepulciano的混合。在國際知名的葡萄酒層面上,桑嬌維塞用在葡萄酒上不論多與少的成分,也達到了驚人的數量,共259 DOC(根據環境,農業,食品和林業)。這意味著,桑嬌維塞幾乎可以在意大利的每一個角落中找到,也續漸出現於國外的葡萄酒。

正因為它是如此多產,桑嬌維塞看起來似乎是一種次要的普通葡萄,能適應於不同的土壤和氣候中生長。事實上,它是被用作釀製無數紅酒,因此它的數量是遠遠低於數據的要求量。

桑嬌維塞的主要缺點是慢熟,它成熟得很慢,因此一般不適合在北方,寒冷的地區,或高度超過350米地區上生長。事實上,很多的地區也可能無法提供長期的秋季來讓桑嬌維塞健康地成熟。沒有完全成熟的桑嬌維塞可以被標記為高酸度,以及乾燥發澀的單寧酸。季節變化而帶來的雨量會進一步使問題複雜化,因為桑嬌維塞是薄皮的葡萄,缺點是易腐爛。由於桑嬌維塞皮的色素很少,因此它的葡萄酒往往顏色很淡,尤其用因過度種植而貧瘠的土地上所種植的葡萄,這也是損害了其作為意大利優秀葡萄品種之一的聲譽的主要原因。

桑嬌維賽在意大利中部,特別是托斯卡納,已經在許多世紀中聞名遠播。研究亦顯示,這是伊特魯里亞人已熟悉的葡萄。葡萄的名字據稱源於“Sanguis Jovis或blood of love,桑嬌維賽的皮只有很少色素,因此亦圓滿地支持傳統上的解說。不幸的是,深紅色的葡萄酒通常也錯誤地被人們用作與質量掛上關係,這就是為什麼中紅色的桑嬌維塞被人們以外表判斷其價值。

桑嬌維賽的特徵從18世紀已由官方所記錄。早在那個時候人們已開始討論葡萄的酸度和如何減輕它。在19世紀,Gaiole的Brolio業主﹣Barone Bettino Ricasoli制定了經典基安蒂的“秘方”,他建議把桑嬌維塞與柔和的葡萄品種,像Canaiolo以及白色馬爾瓦西亞和特雷比亞諾混合一起,它們也是當時托斯卡納著名重要的葡萄。雖然這個“秘方”在基安蒂的歷史上成為重要的一環, 可是有點經常被忽視-Ricasoli認為混合了白葡萄品種的葡萄酒只適合於早期或即時飲用。不幸的是,在20世紀的意大利葡萄酒法律沒有考慮這點。正是在這裡引發了最大的傷害,因為法律不僅允許高收益,而且迫使酒莊在發酵缸中加入白葡萄品種。這歷史性的極端措施的原因:托斯卡納葡萄的種植長時間被視為農業生產活動之一,葡萄園由系統所分配種植,使專門種植單一葡萄的葡萄園變成一個非常罕見的景象。

當戰爭結束後,隨著社會經濟的變化,廉價勞動力於城市消失,很多物業轉手。為了賺取較高利潤 ,葡萄園採取了單一種植的方法。葡萄園都種植了比較次等的桑嬌維塞,以賺取非常可觀的利潤。結果基安蒂葡萄酒在世界各地的零售商手上也呈現了最低的價格。該地區很快就成為超市大批量訂貨的基安蒂葡萄酒狩獵場,而價格取決於消費者願意支付的價錢。超市工作合同在葡萄開花前便已制定,當收獲少於合同所訂立的數量,很顯然需要一些創意來填補差額。

在這樣的環境下,專注於質量的酒莊無法或不願意把他們的酒以Chianti Classico來標籤。這樣的情況使這些高質素的酒以硬銷的方法賣出去,而且葡萄酒法律不容許在小橡木桶或以其他奇怪方式釀製的酒在法律上承認為100%的桑嬌維塞。所以當時Chianti Classico質量的整體聲譽是非常差,許多生產商乾脆種植像赤霞珠和梅鹿輒這些國際葡萄品種以取代桑嬌維塞,目的是吸引國際市場的關注。這些酒被標籤為最低層的葡萄酒類,塔沃拉標記,卻被奇怪地代表為托斯卡納最好的酒,因此亦被稱為“超級托斯卡納”。

塔沃拉標記成為酒莊對國際葡萄品種試驗,配合現代化的葡萄酒釀造技術和在法國木桶中成熟。政府後來通過了修改原有的法律,始用“傳統的方法和葡萄”。這些修訂取消了強制混合白葡萄在基安蒂,和最高桑嬌維塞的限制。在這種方式下,100%桑嬌維塞的葡萄酒成為合法的事實。塔沃拉隨著葡萄品種名稱,年份被禁用和引入IGT認證而變得無力,但塔沃拉與它的地理描述,造就了葡萄品種選擇和釀造方法的巨大靈活性 。原產地的葡萄或其沃土,幾乎不能發揮作用,因為IGT的劃分一般可以涵蓋整個地區,和其他國際知名度的葡萄酒的規則的IGT旗幟下。

最後,愈來愈多的生產者厭倦了佔主導地位的赤霞珠和梅鹿輒,即使它們在混合中只佔一小部分,也很容易遮蓋了桑嬌維塞的那微妙的素質,因此他們開始專注於100%桑嬌維 。因此,桑嬌維塞續漸被視為一個優秀的葡萄品種,它的真正價值往往被高產量,和其他葡萄品種(特別是白葡萄)或兩者的組合所遮蓋,它與黑比諾的融合卻為國際葡萄酒的知音帶出桑嬌維塞和Chianti Classico的真正個性,特別是:香氛,優雅的葡萄酒,配合酸度作為結構元素,和很容易被熱情橡木桶中陳釀所掩蓋的品質。因此,許多生產商開始避免使用新的法國橡木桶和重新開始用傳統的斯拉沃尼亞大橡木桶。

當最後該地區的注意力轉向了克隆, 桑嬌維塞的重新評估的轉折點來了。Chianti Classico的生產商聯合會為容易變異的桑嬌維塞實施了一項長期研究項目。該項目是發現了很多素質低但高產的桑嬌維塞葡萄﹣其中大部分也從70年代在Classsico地區種植,到了2000年將會超過25歲。這些葡萄大部份會失去經濟效益和變得低收益,往往要被挖走而種植新的葡萄。聯合會預見在二十一世紀將開始有新的種植波,亦是一個促進種植優良桑嬌維塞的機會。為了能告知其會員正確的選擇,它選擇了幾個成員的葡萄園在不同的根莖上種植不同克隆。

在20年期間,這聯合會收集了大量的信息,日照,土壤類型,產量,溫度和氣候等資料,以及提供所有這些信息給其成員。事實上,這行動已在聯合會的整個歷史上取得相當大的成功。該項目,雖然現在已經結束,仍然繼續在一些葡萄園進行,特別是種植Cannaiolo,Colorino和其他葡萄的本土葡萄園。(by La Porta di Vertine)