I went to visit winemaker Bibi Graetz of Testamatta yesterday in the hills above Florence near the town of Fiesole. Bibi, 38, is a cool winemaker and is producing some exciting reds from classic Tuscan varietals such as Sangiovese, Colorino and Canaiolo. He makes handmade wines with great depth of fruit and structure. It all comes from precision in the vineyard (low yields) as well as in the cellar (no-nonsense clean winemaking). I regularly score his wines in the 90s. And his 2004s that will be on the market soon are really excellent – his best ever. Stay tuned.
However, I was a little concerned when old Bibi started talking about the price of his 2004 Colore, which is a blend of Canaiolo and Colorino. It is a fantastic wine, and I can't tell you just yet how many points I gave it in a blind tasting in my office – but I gave plenty! Anyway, he said that he was going to sell the wine (he only made about 1,000 bottles) for 250 euros ex-cellar – one-third was already sold for 300 euros to his importer in Japan. The wine used to be only available in the mega-buck Florentine restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri. I think it went for 80 Euros a bottle.
“If Colore is like the Pétrus of Tuscany, then it should cost the same price,” he said with a grin. “It is a provocation. It may be crazy but I feel it is necessary to do…the best Tuscan wines are as good as the best of Bordeaux.”
I told him that I didn’t think it was a very good idea. And I hoped he was simply making a bad joke, or something.
Anyway, I hope that this is not a trend in the wine world as vintners look at the “success” of Bordeaux in selling the most expensive young vintage on earth.
Will winemakers in Burgundy, Tuscany, Napa, Barossa, Priorato, and other areas also double and triple their prices with new vintages? That’s a scary thought, but it’s possible.