Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fendi: Fashion and Wine

Several years ago, we had the pleasure of eating lunch with the enologist and the owner of Tenuta Le Corgne, Andrea Formilli Fendi at Enoteca Properzio. 
The winery was getting started, and the enologist was speaking about the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Noir that they were producing at that time, about 300 bottles.  This year we were fortunate enough to visit the winery, Tenuta Le Corgne in the Northern Umbrian town of Valfabricca.  You don't just drop into vineyards like this, you have to be invited, and getting there is an adventure since the road is narrow, twisty and mostly gravel. 
Fendi, is a luxury brand specializing in fashion and leather goods.  They were founded in 1925 by Adele and Edoardo Fendi.  The next generation were 5 daughters.  If you know anything about Italy, you know that the men usually take over the family business, but since there was no male heir, the girls continued the brands' overwhelming success.  Franca Fendi's son, Andrea decided to grow grapes at the estate his mother had bought in the 1990's.  Originally a country estate where the family would gather for holidays, now the estate is an organic vineyard producing world class wines. 

 The winery sits on a hill overlooking a valley, with only 24 acres of vineyards, growing Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and Merlot.  They have a few acres in Montefalco as well, growing some Sagrantino and Trebbiano Spoletino.
As you can tell it was a rainy, windy day up on the hill, and we were soon inside the winery discussing the process with the enologist, Martin.  Martin explained that the winery is all organic, the detris from the grape crush is put back into the limestone sandy soil, and to quote him, "this paradise must be maintained, not destroyed." 

Oak from Burgundy for the barrels

The grape crush had happened, and we were smelling the fermentation process as we came into the room filled with tanks.  This year there will be about 90,000 bottles of wine produced.  This wine will be hard to come by in the States, most is shipped within Europe and Asia.  

Our guide through the winery, Martin

Martin is the enologist at Formilli Fendi, and he is a genius.  If you have an opportunity to sample these wines, you will be amazed.  The Sauvignon Blanc is truly delightful, with a nose of white flowers, and citrus...many times a Sauvignon Blanc will be flat without any real flavor, acid or balance.  

We moved into the tasting room, and were surrounded by art, and wine; my favorite things

The door from the tasting room is historic, since it is the door to the original Fendi store in Rome

This white wine is Trebbiano Spoletino (indigenous to Umbria) and a bit of Sauvignon Blanc

Casa Franca is 50% Sagrantino, almost 50% Sangiovese and a bit of Merlot

Of course we tried these wines, and loved them, each with a distinctive nose and characteristics that make them unique and definitely worth buying if you can find them.  If you are in Italy, stop by Enoteca Properzio, they carry the wines and are happy to pour them for you.  

Another reason to love the Fendi family is that they provided 2.2 million Euro to restore the Trevi fountain in Rome.  
Our afternoon ended with us trundling down the hill to lunch with the administrator of the winery.  Grazie Tenuta Le Corgne for an unforgettable day.  

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