While we tend to place a lot of focus on the winemakers who create DOC wines, it is important to remember that there are many great Italian wines that have not achieved this classification, instead carrying the IGT denomination. This is not always a measure of quality, as the early days of the great Tignanello can attest to, so such wines should most certainly not be ignored when you are looking for a new bottle to try.
Such is the case with Anselmi and their wines made using the Garganega grape. By ignoring such wines you will be missing out on some truly stunning drinks, so let’s take a look at the Anselmi family’s journey and one of the wines that they have produced.
The story of Anselmi starts in earnest in 1975, when Roberto Anselmi graduated from university and decided that he wanted to join the family winery. However, while his father’s work was done on a much more local level, Roberto had grand designs for what he wanted the winery to produce. In particular, he wanted the family to once again own their own vineyards, rather than simply working to bottle wines that came from vineyards owned by others.
This desire likely came due to memories of his grandfather. Anselmi Sr. had been recognised as an excellent vine grower in the years before the Second World War, coming to particular prominence through the 1920s-40s. Unfortunately, the economic instability of the region following the war forced a sale of the vineyards that were in the family, meaning that they no longer had full control of the wines that they were producing. Instead, Roberto’s father continued the family’s tradition in the business with his winery, bottling and selling wines using grapes that were not grown by the family.
While Roberto massively respected his father’s dedication to the industry and how he had managed to keep the Anselmi family in the business following the tough economic times, he had ambitions for bringing back the former glory of the name and hopefully expanding upon the work both his father and grandfather had done. In particular, he dreamed of one day buying back the vineyards that his grandfather had been forced to sell, using them to create a high quality wine that would be recognised as the Anselmi family’s masterpiece. From there, he hoped to expand on those initial lands, offering the family the flexibility to create more wines at higher volumes than ever before.
With all of this in mind, Roberto began planning to earn the money required to buy back his family vineyards. For a number of years he worked on the same side of the industry as his father, acting as purely a trader while working on rented vineyards. While this certainly taught the young Roberto a lot about the business side of the Italian wine industry, he still harboured those dreams of striking out on his own and creating wines that were associated with the Anselmi name and nobody else.
After just a couple of years, Roberto finally achieved his dream by purchasing beautiful vineyards that had years of tradition behind them. Located on the hillside, the vineyards that he came to own were perfect for the Anselmi family, particularly as they are more than capable of growing the Garganega grape that is so prominently used in their wines.
Now the owner of his own vineyard, Roberto focused on producing quality over quantity. He worked with the vines in order to ensure that only the best grapes were used in the production of his wine. This led to a more selective approach that caused for less bunches to be yielded per plant, but it also ensured that the quality of the resulting wine would be of a standard that he could be proud of.
In doing this, he aimed to improve the reputation of the Soave wine region in the eyes of both domestic and international consumers, so much so that his first wines carried the Soave name rather than his own. Unfortunately, by the time the 1990s had rolled around, the DOCG classification had been introduced and it was proving immensely difficult to gain the reputation that he believed the Soave region deserved.
Considering all of these external factors, Roberto made the decision to attach his own name to the wines that he produced, rather than that of the Soave region. This not only allowed him to take further ownership of the wines that he produces, but also ensured a level of personal responsibility had to be taken with every bottle that came from his vineyards. No longer would the Soave region’s reputation affect the opinions that people have of his wine. Instead, they stand on their own strengths, associated directly with the family that produced them. Thankfully, the move proved to be a success and the wine’s produced by the family have now developed a stellar reputation.
The Anselmi Garganega Capitel Croce 2013 is a stunning example of a quality white wine made by a producer who has a true passion, both for the grape and the idea of enhancing his family’s reputation through the wines that he produces.
This IGT wine is straw yellow in colour and offers stunningly refreshing hints of grapefruit and yellow apple on the nose. This offers only a hint of what the wine has to offer though, as you will also note hints of lavender, minerals from the wonderful land on which the grapes are grown and wisteria cedar if you investigate a little further.
The wine also achieves spectacular balance on the palette, offering a refreshing taste that makes it ideal for sharing with family and friends or to simply enjoy following a stressful day. The long finish only serves to remind you of what a truly wonderful achievement this wine is.
The Anselmi family are still establishing themselves in Italian wine culture, but they have already begun to produce wines of exceptional quality. They are certainly a winemaker to keep an eye on, if you haven’t already heard of them.