There are few stories more enchanting in the Italian wine industry than when a family decides to exercise their passion for wine and start producing their own vintages. The struggles of being recognized in an industry that is often dominated by some of the larger producers, particularly on an international level, are very real so we at Xtrawine are always keen to shine the spotlight on companies that may not be as easily recognizable as some of the behemoths of the Italian wine industry but are no less remarkable thanks to the quality of wine that they can produce.
With that in mind, we have decided to place our focus on the brother and sister duo who have been responsible for the rise of the Collemassari wine producer in recent years, placing particular focus on their ever-expanding collection of vineyards that they use to create some truly wonderful wines.
The story of Collemassari starts in 1998, when Maria Iris and Claudio Tipa made the decision to take their passion for great wines and nature and create their own company out of it. Since those early days they have established themselves as excellent wine producers, purchasing two more estates so that they could cement their position in the world of Italian wine.
The brother and sister duo fulfilled their dream of creating a domain of their own in Tuscany when they purchased the Castello di Collemassari in 1998. The estate is part of the Montecucco DOC area, which is well-known as being an area that is ideal for growing Sangiovese grapes. After spending a little bit of time establishing the estate, the duo released their first wine in the year 2000 to a rather excellent reception, allowing them to quickly start building on what they had established and found a number of other estates to bring them up to speed with a number of the other larger wine producers in Tuscany.
In 2002 they expanded their reach by purchasing the Grattamacco estate. The estate itself had actually been founded in the 1970s and allowed the duo to expand into the DOC area of Bolgheri while offering them a number of new possibilities for the wines that they produce. The region is particularly suited for the growing of Cabernet Sauvignon, with the quality of grapes grown at the estate being the reason why it managed to achieve its early popularity. The first vintage from the estate was produced in 1982 and was a blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon and the duo have taken it upon themselves to take over its operations and continue producing wines of extremely high quality to complement the ones that are produced at Castello di Collemassari.
As with all great winemakers, Mario and Claudio were not satisfied with simply resting on their laurels having established two remarkable estates that allowed them to create some unique blends. In 2011 they made the decision to expand their reach even further with the purchase of the Poggio di Sotto estate. Established in the 1980s, the estate is situated in the territory of Montalcino, which is well-known for being the first DOCG that was ever established in Italy. This lends it a history that few other estates have, despite its fairly young years. The area is best known for the production of the great wine Brunello, but the estate itself did not produce its first vintage until 1991. However, it wasn’t long before the winery had established itself for the quality and complexity of the wines it produced, making it a perfect choice for Collemassari in their continued quest to expand their own estates and offer a wide variety of wines that will appeal to as many people as possible.
With those three estates fully established, the family has focused its efforts on creating spectacular wines and working alongside other producers to enhance the reputation of the industry and their own estates. Most notably, the duo have worked alongside Alinghi as their official supplier during that groups victorious journeys into the America’s Cup both in 2003 and 2007, which ably demonstrates the respect that the pair have earned from more established peers in such a short period of time.
Today the Callemassari estates continue to produce grapes of remarkable quality that are used to create wines that offer a true reflection of the land from which they originated. Both Maria and Claudio continue to focus on running the estates and expanding the business through the creation of great wines that have enabled them to create quite the reputation in their native country. Over the course of the next few years it appears likely that we will be hearing much more from Callemassari and hopefully their wines will start to achieve the international recognition that they so richly deserve.
With such an interesting collection of great wines it is difficult to choose a vintage to recommend from the Collemassari estates, but we have settled on Collemassari Montecucco Sangiovese Poggio Lombrone 2012 as a quality DOC wine that is worth investigation by anybody who is a fan of the region or those who are simply looking to explore a new red wine.
The wine itself features the intense ruby red colouring that you would expect from a complex drink that has the ability to challenge anybody who drinks it. The bouquet is at once complex yet clean, offering a range of delicate scents that focus on charry and violet, before engaging the drinker further by revealing more refined mineral and spice notes that are indicative of the quality of the land where the grapes were grown.
When introduced to the palette the wine is no less complex, offering a persistent taste that constantly evolves as you allow the wine to explore your palette. The interesting tannins create an interesting body and character to the wine that we are sure that you will enjoy, with an aftertaste that is extremely enjoyable as well. All told, the wine is a great reflection on the efforts that Maria and Claudio have made to establish themselves in an industry, making it well-worth a purchase from people who are looking to explore an interesting new Italian red wine.