IF BOTTLES COULD TALK
Uncorking the past of two international wine brands
The selling point behind many reds and whites is becoming more about the story rather than the flavor.
If it were possible to encapsulate passion and philosophy in a bottle of wine, Jané Ventura certainly attempts to do that. From the way the winemakers boast of the uniqueness of the landscape of their vineyards in the Lower Penedés region of Spain and their organic approach to production to their strong advocacy for music and the arts, the intent is not just to make wine but also to promote a way of life.
The town of El Vendrell, where the Jané Ventura head office and winery are located, has produced several notable artists; one in particular has greatly inspired them, the late great cellist Pau Casals. Benjami Jané Ventura knew Casals personally and admired his ability to use music to convey a message of unity between people and a harmonious relationship with nature. The family’s fascination of Casals’ life and thinking had inspired them to select musical names for their cavas, such as Reserva de la Musica and the “Do” Gran Reserva Vintage. The labels of the cavas symbolize rhythm, scales, and the movement of the carbon bubbles in relation to music, signifying the importance of its marriage to the winemakers, so it was no surprise that the Gran Reserva Do Cava was launched at Barcelona’s Museum of Music. Jané Ventura also actively participates in promoting young musicians and holds events to preserve important musical instruments. In 2010, they produced a special release of Cava Gran Reserva of the Organ, in honor of and to help finance the third restoration of the El Vendrell church organ.
BCN-MNL, distributor of Jané Ventura in the Philippines, hopes to encourage local consumers to enjoy the cavas with music, starting with tasting events around Manila. The bottles are delightful enough on their own or with any kind of melody, but they believe that sharing its inspiration and creating the proper ambience will enhance appreciation for each bottle’s history and message.
Raising the bar
It takes audacity to improve on a classic, and that intent to take something good and make it better is the story behind Tignanello. Originally named Chianti Classico Riserva vigneto Tignanello, the blend was an attempt to refine the formula on which the Chianti production was based.
In the late ‘60s, the makers of Chianti were facing difficulties in coming up with a good quality product because of the changes in weather, vine training systems, and other factors. Piero Antinori was convinced that it was time to make changes such as altering the composition of grapes. While Chianti consisted of up to 30 percent white grapes to soften the flavor, Antinori focused on pure Sangiovese, enriched with Cabernet Sauvignon. It is one of the first red wines in the Chianti area that was made without white grapes, resulting in less acidity and a dark, ruby red color with highlights of purple.
Another significant change made by Marchesi Antinori was the aging process. Instead of aging the wine in huge, century-old barrels over long periods of time, they started using small, new carati barrels and further aging wine in bottles for at least one year. The winemaker also considered less traumatic stirring methods and soft crushing for the grapes. This, with the process of fermentation, was aimed towards creating a wine with a welldefined personality.
It took years before the recipe was perfected, and in 1975, Tignanello, named after the estate where it was created, was introduced to the public. As expected, such deviations from a classic drew skepticism from wine consumers, who would still request Chianti Classico from the sellers. In 1984, though, the Chianti Classico DOC regulations increased the standard percentage of Sangiovese grapes to 90 percent and reduced the amount of white grapes to two percent. The remaining eight percent counts for the possible addition of alternative grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2002, the regulations were again modified, allowing up to 20 percent of non-native varieties to be used in the blend. These regulations seemed to agree with the formula that Piero Antinori and Giacomo Tachis perfected and advocated.
The rewards of the hard work and commitment to better quality wines are still being reaped by Marchesi Antinori— and wine lovers all over the world as well. Wine Spectator magazine called Tignanello “the most influential wine in the history of Italy,” and acknowledges how it has revolutionized the way the world perceives Tuscan wines. The concept was to yield a wine that was better than a Chianti Classico, and it resulted in raising the category in general.
AS RICH AND BOLD AS THEIR FLAVORS ARE THE HISTORIES OF TIGNANELLO AND JANE VENTURA WINES