Last May Michele and I were staying on Lake Garda. One day, we went to visit the Tommasi Winery in Valpolicella which is only a half hour away. Tommasi is a very traditional producer of Valpolicella and Amarone and I like their style of wine.
Annalisa Armani, the PR person and marketing director, greeted us and took us on a very nice tour followed by a tasting. She mentioned that the Tommasi family has other estates in Italy and that Pierangelo Tommasi was coming to NYC to speak about the Masseria Surani Estate in Manduria, Puglia.
When Pierangelo arrived in New York, he contacted me and we tasted the wines at lunch. Pierlangelo said that Tommasi Vinters is a family affair founded in 1902. The company has grown over the decades. It is a very large family working together, each member with a well-defined area of responsibility. I mentioned to Pierangelo that this was unusual because one hears often of Italian wineries where family members cannot get along. He said in Italian La Forza della Famigila, the strength of the family, is what makes the company a success
When the fourth generation of the family started to be involved, the company launched “Tommasi Family Estates project”, a major investment program dedicated to the acquisition of lands best suited for wine grapes which include:
Valpolicella Classica, DOC areas of Verona; Prosecco in Treviso; the Maremma Toscana; Manduria Puglia; and Oltrepò Pavese in Lombardy. Each Estate has its own history and identity.
He said that they acquired about 80 hectares in Manduria in the Salento area, the best zone for the cultivation of the Primitivo grape. There are 55 hectares of vineyards now: 30 hectares of Primitivo, 5 hectares of Negroamaro, 10 hectares of Fiano, 5 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 hectares of Chardonnay. They are in the process of planting another 25 hectares of vines. The soil is made up of limestone and clay. The training system is guyot and there are 5,500 vines/hectare. The vines are surrounded by nearly 25 miles of stonewalls, built from rocks pulled up when the vineyards were planted 10 years ago. In the center of the vineyards lies the Surani manor and a complex of buildings originally used for agricultural purposes, all of which have been newly refurbished with vinification facilities (including many Slavonian oak barrels that were brought down from the Veneto).
The wines are named after Greek gods because this part of Puglia was founded and colonized by the ancient Greeks about 700 B. C.
Arthemis (Goddess of the Moon) 2013 made from 90% Fiano and 10% Chardonnay. Pierangelo said that in the future it will be made from 100% Fiano. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and the wine matures is stainless steel tanks for about 4 months before release. It has cirtius aromas and flavors and hints of grass and herbs.
Helios (God of the Sun) 2013 Rose made from 100% Negroamaro. One day skin maceration and about 10 days of fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. I tasted this wine at the winery in May. The wine has nice fruit with hints os strawberry.
Ares (God Of War) Rosso 2012 made from 50% Primitivo, 30% Negroamaro and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and matures in oak casks for 6 months. Nice black berry flavors and sromas with a touch of spice.
Heracles (Son of Zeus) 100% Primitivo. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for 12 days. The wine matures in oak casks for 10 months before release. This was the most impressive of the wines a true Primitivo
Pierangelo also said that the family owns the Villa Quaranta Park Hotel not far from Verona, the Albergo Mazzanti and the Caffe Dante in Verona, and an agriturismo at the Poggio Al Tufo in Tuscany. All are run by family members. Pierangelo was right when he said La Forza della Famiglia!