“The jewel in the crown”.
You have to think pretty highly of one of your wines to grant it that grand moniker. But that’s exactly what Ca’ dei Frati thinks of the wine that we’re going to examine in today’s article.
Ca’ dei Frati has a history that stretches back over the centuries. It is a history that is imbued into every wine that they produce, allowing them to create special drinks that few can resist.
So, let’s not waste any time.
Let’s jump straight into the story of this wonderful company and what they consider to be the best Italian wine that they’ve ever produced.
We must go all of the way back to 1782 to find the origins of the Ca’ dei Frati story. The company’s research has turned up documents that tell of a “house with a cellar located in Laguna in the Sermion district”.
That house was not always owned by the family that now operates Ca’ dei Frati.
However, it had long stood as an Italian wine-making powerhouse. It was about 160 years later, in 1939, that a many named Felice Dal Cero moved into the property to make it his own.
A wine grower hailing from the Montecchia di Crosara region near Verona, Felice moved into the house as he recognised just how much potential it, and the land surrounding it held. For 30 years, Felice cultivated the land, restoring it to the glory it had enjoyed so many decades ago, before his son, Pietro took over the reins.
It was Pietro who started to really build the modern prestige that Ca’ dei Frati now holds.
In 1969, Pietro was directly involved in the creation of the company’s first DOC. He personally bottled a wine called Lugana Casa dei Frati, which was later renamed to Ca’ dei Frati.
That name may be familiar to anybody who has read the title of this article.
Pietro worked hard to build the reputation of the wine that would be his company’s jewel. This work continued until 2012, when Pietro sadly passed away. Today, the company’s legacy is in the hands of his wonderful wife, Santa Rosa, and their children, Gian Franco, Anna Maria, and Igino, who now operate the vineyard with the same passion and intensity as their father.
That takes us through a quick journey of the family’s history.
But what of the grapes that it grows?
For Ca’ dei Frati, time is an ally.
The many decades that the company’s vineyards have been in operation benefit the wines it makes directly. The land is primed for the cultivation of grapes, with the men and women behind Ca’ dei Frati having done all they can to realise the potential of their land.
Gaining a clear vision of the terroir is the primary goal for Ca’ dei Frati.
This is why all of its grapes are vinified separately. Each grape used in the company’s wines has been designed to be a perfect expression of the land that it came from. This process is more time-consuming than that undertaken by many other winemakers. However, it also perfectly encapsulates the love and respect that the people of Ca’ dei Frati have for their land.
Innovation lies at the heart of this technique of individual vinification.
Using techniques created and refined over decades, the company shows respect to its rawest materials to create full-bodied wines that have remarkable longevity. They also work alongside a superb viticulturist, named Gino Veronelli, who helps them to plan their wines to ensure that every grape has an opportunity to display its qualities.
And so, we have a wine company that has built its reputation over four generations. Not only that, but the land that they tend has been used to make Italian wines for centuries.
Now, how about we take a look at what the company calls its “jewel in the crown”?
The Ca’ dei Frati Lugana Frati 2020
What makes a jewel?
For Ca’ dei Frati, it is a wine that symbolises everything that the company stands for. For them, the jewel in the crown is the first wine to bring them both national and international recognition. It is also a wine that has come to define the company’s very image.
In the Ca’ dei Frati Lugana Frati, we have a wine with a lineage that can be traced back over the centuries. Using the company’s native grape, the Turbiana, this wine is the closest representation to the wines that the land was used to make back in the 18th century.
It expresses everything that makes the company so special.
The respect for the terroir, the special bottling processes that the company uses, and the sophistication in which it approaches the great art of Italian winemaking.
So, what can you expect when you crack open a jewel?
Pour the wine and you’ll see a beautiful Italian white wine. The light-yellow colouring hints at the ageing potential of the bottle, which can be stored for between five and 10 years to realise its true potential.
But if you’d like to try it right now, prepare yourself for a fresh wine that will knock your socks off. The youthful version of this wine combines floral notes, specifically of white flowers, with notes of almonds and apricots. The mineral notes inherent in the wine begin to express themselves more deeply with time, along with subtle notes of candied fruits and spices.
This is a wine that has a stunning amount of complexity for what many would consider a standard white wine.
To the taste, the wine expresses a gorgeously balanced acidity that both refreshes and tempts you in for another taste. The lively flavours dance around your palate, demonstrating exactly why Ca’ dei Frati classes this as their most important Italian wine.
Perfectly combining with a range of dishes, including pasta, fish, and cheese, the wine has received high ratings from many publications over the years. Xtrawine would like to add its voice to those publications by awarding the 2020 vintage an 89/100 rating.
And you can find it today for €10.15 in the Xtrawine catalogue.
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