The long-established Lombardy family of Gussalli Beretta, known for five centuries of entrepreneurial leadership, have always been engaged in agriculture producing, amongst other things, small quantities of wine for their own use. This passion took a clear shape in 1974, with the foundation of the wine estate at the family property in Franciacorta and, in the years that followed, with the creation of a group of wineries which extends from the Alto Adige to the Langhe and from Chianti Classico to Abruzzo. The below is a selection of the current releases from three of the estates, all in top DOCGs and each showcasing the Gussalli Beretta dedication to the expression of terroir and the sense of place.
Lo Sparviere, Monticelli Brusati, Franciacorta
Lo sparviere is the sparrowhawk sculpted on the monumental fireplace of the hall of the 16th century villa of the Gussalli Beretta family, which gives its name to the estate. The property (pictured above) counts 30ha of vineyard on slopes in the eastern corner of the DOCG, planted principally to Chardonnay and managed organically since 2013. The soils, which give the Sparviere wines their structure and longevity, are calcareous marls typical of the pre-alpine chain of Lombardy, but rare in the Franciacorta area south of Lake Iseo. The complexity of the house style, on the other hand, comes from the separate vinification of up to 15 different plots assembled in the final cuvées.
For more information visit losparviere.it
Lo Spaviere Franciacorta Brut Millesimato 2016
This classic blanc de blancs is made from low yield, hand-selected grapes from the estate’s vineyards at Provaglio d’Iseo. Four years on the lees has produced a rich mousse, super-fine perlage and complex, mature aromas which open with buttered toast and follow through with notes of honey and beeswax, sweet herbs, fresh apricot and citrus peel. The palate has a lovely round, creamy texture, but also firm underlying structure and a finish which contrasts tangy sapidity with a delicate note of liqueur.
Castello di Radda, Radda, Chianti Classico
Radda is one of Chianti Classico’s most fascinating terroirs and the source of wines with an unmistakable character which derives both from the lean calcareous-clay soils and also – perhaps above all – from the climate. Altitudes stretching up to 450m and the proximity of the Monti del Chianti make Radda one of the coolest and last-picked growing areas of the denomination. Gussalli Beretta arrived here in 2003, replanted the vineyards and built state-of-the-art underground cellars with the aim of creating a range of wines which speak of this unique terroir. The organic-certified estate extends over 40ha, in an area of rugged beauty and extreme biodiversity – Radda is the most densely wooded comune of the entire DOCG.
For more information visit www.castellodiradda.it
Castello di Radda, Chianti Classico 2020
This is a young Chianti Classico with all the nervy energy of the wines of Radda. Bright in the glass, the nose opens with damson and black cherry, a touch of earthiness. In the background there’s the hint of iris typical of cooler climate Sangiovese. Powdery fine tannins bring texture to the palate, underscored by an acidity which gives the wine a lovely juicy quality. Bone dry, tangy finish with a return of the plummy fruit. Drink 2023-2026
Castello di Radda, Chianti Classico Riserva 2016
Here one sees the complexity and depth of flavours of a Riserva from a great vintage. There are wild berries on the nose, a touch of newsprint and the delicate sweet spices of the perfectly judged handling of the oak. Seamless integration of the tannins gives suppleness to the palate and the succulent acidity a progression towards a long aromatic finish. Thoroughbred Sangiovese, drinking now but with no fear of further bottle time.
Fortemasso, Monforte d’Alba
Gussalli Beretta acquired this estate in the prestigious comune of Monforte d’Alba in 2013. The original vineyards were maintained, but completely new, eco-sensitive, underground cellars were built and entered into production in the same year. The property extends over 5ha on the top and central slopes of the Castelletto MGA, faces east across the valley towards Serralunga, and includes 1ha in the historic cru of Pressenda. It counts a further 3ha in San Sebastiano di Monforte d’Alba. The high sand content of the Arenaria di Diano soils gives the wines a characteristic sapidity and finesse which is carefully nurtured in the vinification and ageing through submerged cap maceration and the judicious mix of barriques and larger casks.
For more information visit www.fortemasso.it
Fortemasso, Barolo Castelletto 2017
A nose of medium intensity and great purity opens with notes of moss and violets, and there is a hint of slightly smoky, charred steak before the wild berries emerge. The palate has the soft, round tannins of the vintage and bags of energy in the progression towards a warm, grippy finish with a return of the ripe fruit and a touch of aniseed. Great drinkability. Ready now, but no hurry to open a bottle which will continue to develop in the mid-term.
Fortemasso, Barolo Castelletto Riserva 2016
The nose opens slowly, but then reveals all the classic descriptors of a Barolo from a superb vintage in which bright fruit mingles with aromas of laurel, wood ash, camphor and a touch of white pepper. There is restrained energy in the beautifully balanced palate and great length in the concentrated aromatic finish. A wine which combines power and finesse, with the sleekness of contemporary Barolo. Drinking now, but with notable ageing potential.
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