When you think of that most famous Italian wine companies you think of exactly that – companies. Most people associate the wines that they drink with the businesses that are behind them. It is rare indeed for a single individual to rise so highly in the industry that his or her name become synonymous with the wine they produce.
However, that’s exactly what has happened with the individual that we are going to shine a spotlight on this week. Elena Fucci has spent the better part of 20 years building a stellar reputation in the Italian wine industry. Building on the lessons she learned from her family, she has taken the Fucci name to places it has never been before and accolades have followed from all over the global wine community.
So, how did it all get started? Let’s try to answer that question by taking a look at the history of Elena Fucci before we dive into one of the best vintages of wine she has produced so far.
Elena Fucci grew up around wine. Her family had owned vineyards for several generations. However, they had never really pushed to develop their own wines for release to the general public. In fact, the grapes grown on these vines had been sold to other producers, with just a few left over for personal consumption, ever since the days of Fucci’s grandfather, Generoso. He had purchased the vineyards in the 1960s and cultivated grapes on them for many years.
By the time the new millennium rolled around, the family was discussing selling the vineyards. Both of Fucci’s parents worked as teachers. She and her siblings were studying at university. All believed that there was no point in trying to maintain six hectares of land when they couldn’t dedicate the time needed to do the land justice.
Potential buyers were numerous and the land was about to be sold. Then, at the last minute, an overwhelming passion for the vineyards she had grown up with overwhelmed Elena Fucci. She found that she could not stand the idea of somebody else taking over vineyards that had been in the family for over 40 years.
This feeling prompted a complete change in Fucci’s direction. Where once she has dedicated herself to her university studies, she now endeavoured to make the most out of the vineyards. They were taken off the market and she steeled herself in preparation for devoting her life and livelihood to what had previously been a bit of fun for the family.
Fucci may have felt wary that her parents would not agree with her. However, she found they were delighted with her decision to study enology and build the vineyards into something the entire family could be truly proud of. She learned much from her father during this period. In fact, Fucci believes that her decision took her in the direction her father had always wanted to go in himself and the experience bonded the two of them tightly.
Fucci brought the winery to life in the year 2000, working there while studying for her degree in Enology. Though she brought in an external consultant to lighten the load in those early years, she was ready to take the reigns herself by the time 2004 rolled around.
She made the decision to base everything she produced around the burgeoning TITOLO label. The aim was to create exclusive wines of such great quality that nobody would be able to ignore this small vineyard that had previously been known for supplying grapes.
In doing this, she committed to making her wines a true representation of the Contrada Solagna del Titolo. Little known outside of Italy, the region has a unique mix of terroir and microclimates that lend the grapes grown there a certain special something. Fucci has always known this and now, in control of her own winery, she was determined to show it to the world.
Today, the Titolo brand has been recognized among some of the best modern wines to emerge from Italy. Elena Fucci’s wines confidently stand alongside the best produced in any country and she has proven that her decision to dedicate herself to the land that was almost sold was the right decision to make.
People are now keen to visit Fucci’s winery. Not only do they get to enjoy the unique wines that she makes there, but they also take in the remarkable scenery. The prominent Vulture Volcano, which lends Fucci’s land much of its uniqueness, has becoming a star attraction alongside the company’s wines.
Fucci’s approach to her work is modern, though she still has great respect for the traditions of Italian winemaking. Even today, she works alongside her grandfather Generoso. Together, they have ensured the land he purchased back in the 1960s has finally reached its fullest potential. One only wonders what the future has in store for the Fucci family. If the first 17 years of the company’s existence is anything to go by, we predict they will be a household name sooner, rather than later.
We’re betting that you want to know what makes the work of Elena Fucci so special. Let’s now take a look at one of her best wines.
Carrying the name of both the Titolo region and the volcano that so many now know it for, the Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo 2014 is as representative of a single region as any other wine produced in Italy.
This beautiful red wine massages the senses with an elegant bouquet that brings to mind the fruity scents of juniper berries and red plum. A little more exploration reveals that rhubarb lies somewhere in this inspired cacophony and you will soon find eve more subtle notes of china and the rocky minerals you would expect from such a volcanic area.
The wine itself features rather dense tannins that achieve perfectly balance inside the mouth. The fruity and spicy notes eventually give way to a pleasurable warmness. An immaculately long finish leaves your mouth watering as you enjoy the final notes of vanilla, grains, and a touch of smokiness.