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.


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