Ferrari: Sparkling Wine at its Best

Ferrari produces some of the best Metodo Classico sparkling wine in Italy and their Giulio Ferrari Riserva Del Fondatore may be the best sparkling wine produced in Italy. When I received an invitation to The Ferrari Art of Living Party at the Glasshouses in NYC where there would be food, music and best of all Ferrari Metodo Classico sparkling wine, I was happy to accept. Then I received another invitation from the President of Gruppo Italiano Ristoratori, Gianfranco Sorrentino, owner of Il Gattopardo restaurant, inviting me to a tasting before the party of Ferrari Perle and Giulio, I could not wait to go.


The speakers were Matteo Lunelli, President of Ferrari, and a member of the Lunelli family that owns the Ferrari winery,Marco

and Marco Sabellico Senior Editor at Gambero Rosso. Marco announced that Ferrari is the 2019 Gambero Rosso “Winery of the Year.”

Matteo told us that Giulio Ferrari, the founder of the company, returned to Trentino after studying in France and was convinced that the local terroir was perfect for the Chardonnay grape. He felt that by using the Metodo Classico (Méthode Champenois) he could make great sparkling wine there. He became the first person to plant Chardonnay in Trentino. In 1902 he began the company and it became very successful.

In 1952 Bruno Lunelli, the owner of Trento’s best-known wine bar, took over Ferrari from Giulio, who continued the work at the winery until his death. Today the third generation of the Lunelli family runs the company. It has a 40% market share of all the Metodo Classico made in Italy.

With the exception of the Ferrari Rosé and the Ferrari Perlé Rosé all the wines are Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay.

Matteo said Ferrari is a member of Istituto TrentoDOC, which has 53 sparkling wine producers in Trentino, and they are the only sparkling wines produced in the mountains. The TrentoDOC wine area is in Northern Italy and is surrounded by the Dolomite Mountains. The vines there are trained mainly using the Trentino pergola system and are grown at an altitude of 200 to 800 meters. With global warming, this may be the only area where grapes can be planted higher up where the temperature is cooler. Matteo said that when you go up 100 meters the temperature drops about one degree.

The Ferrari Sparkling Wines

Ferrari Perlé TrentoDOC Metodo Classico Vintage Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay. The grapes are harvested by hand in the middle of September from a hillside owned by the Lunelli family around the Trento vineyards. The vineyards are 300 to 700 meters above sea level with a southeasterly or southwesterly exposure. The wine remains for about 5 years on the yeast, which are selected from their own strains. It is a crisp dry wine with hints of apple, almonds and pleasant touch of yeast. The best Chardonnay grapes from the family’s vineyards are used to make this wine. Matteo said that it is the wine that best summarizes the art of Ferrari.

Ferrari Pérle 2013 TrentoDOC made from 100% Chardonnay. The first vintage was 1971. The wine has hints of apple, mango and pineapple with a touch of honey.

The 2013 Vintage: Marco said the ripening of the grapes during August was slow, resulting in a relatively late harvest with slightly higher yields, healthy grapes and excellent quality.

Ferrari Pérle 2007 TrentoDOC The wine has hints of lemon, apple, white melon and sage.

Ferrari Pérle Zero, Cuvée Zero 11 made from 100% Chardonnay from the slopes of the Lunelli families own vineyards of the mountainsides of Trentino. Marcello said it is a mosaic of vintages, and an extreme example of the refined art of creating cuvees. Part of the wine is in stainless steel to highlight the fruit and the aromas; the wood provides structure and richness of flavor, while glass confers concentration and depth. Each cuvee takes its name from the year it was bottled, in this case 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. Once it is bottled, it matures for at least 6 years on the yeasts selected from Ferrari’s own cultures. The wine has hints of citrus fruit with notes of sage and good minerality. This is a wine that can be drunk with food.

Giulio Ferrari Riserva Del Fondatore 2007 TrentoDOC is a single vineyard reserve aged wine. The grapes are picked at the end of September in the Maso Pianizza, a vineyard owned by the Lunelli family. The vineyard is in the commune of Trento and is between 500 and 600 meters above sea level with a southwesterly exposure. The wine spends at least 10 years on the lees. This wine is not made in every vintage. The wine has hints apricots, grapefruit with a touch of honey and lightly toasted bread.

The 2007 Vintage: Marco said the weather during August was rather cool and punctuated by several thunderstorms, contributing towards maintaining good acidity levels and an interesting development of aromas in the grapes.

2004 Giulio Ferrari Riserva Del Fondatore TrentoDOC   this wine has a very low dosage, which gives it a complexity of aromas. This is a crisp, fresh, yet elegant wine with hints of apple, citrus fruit, a touch of chamomile, a note of toast and a striking long finish. I was very impressed by the 2004, it is fantastic!

The 2004 Vintage: Marco said it was characterized by a mild winter and a reasonable rainy spring that allowed for an even germination of the grapes and high bud fertility. Later in the year, the summer was characterized by scarce rainfall accompanied by below average temperatures. This made the agronomic management of grapes easier, leading to a harvest of healthy grapes. September was filled with sunny days providing the perfect conditions for harvesting.

1999 Gulio Ferrari Riserva Del Fondatore TrentoDOC This is a wine for those who like more mature sparkling  wines. as I do.  It is a complex wine with a creamy bouquet, hints of white chocolate, candied citrus fruits, almonds and brioche.

The 1999 Vintage: Marco said the dry and windy climate and the marked difference between day and night time temperatures resolved any earlier weather problems regarding the health of the grapes, allowing them to ripen perfectly.

After the tasting I attended the party and enjoyed drinking some of the other sparkling wines produced by Ferrari.


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2 responses to “Ferrari: Sparkling Wine at its Best

  1. Love those wines!

    Have you sampled any Alta Langa Spumante recently? Those few small producers are starting to make a run for the money in re: best Italian sparklers. Try the Matteo Giribaldi if you can find it.

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