It is something of a given that the world of Italian winemaking is dominated primarily by the men. Of all the great winemakers of years gone past it is rare to hear a woman’s name mentioned in the pantheon of the greats.
However, that is all changing in recent years and female winemakers are becoming increasingly prominent. Perhaps none more so than Elena Fucci, who is leading this charge of new blood in the Italian winemaking industry and developing some of the Italian wines of the current generation.
So how did Elena Fucci enter the winemaker’s world? Here we take a brief look at how she got started and also shine a spotlight on the spectacular Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo 2012, which is a truly great Italian red wine for the modern era.
The history of the vineyards owned by the Fucci family stretches back to the 1960s, when Elena’s grandfather Generoso purchased the highest part of the Contrada Solagna vineyard in Titolo, which is located right at the base of the famous Mount Vulture, which is an inactive volcano that also serves to make the vineyard an excellent tourist attraction for those who want to enjoy a little bit of natural scenery while learning about the history of this great wine.
The grapes produced at the vineyard were generally sold to other winemakers, with some being kept aside so that Generoso could craft wines for his family’s personal use. It is likely this that inspired the young Elena Fucci to learn more about the craft of winemaking.
By the late 1990s the family were considering selling the vineyard, as they were not using them to the degree that they deserved. This decision to sell clearly lit a fire under Elena Fucci and she instead opted to keep the vineyards in the family by founding a winery that would bring some of the family’s personal creations to the public at large.
Sentiment likely played a large role in the decision, as Fucci herself has stated that she could not bear to lose the vineyards that she had grown up around despite the fact that they attracted plenty of interest from potential buyers. Having originally intended to move away from the area following her studies, Elena instead decided to invest in the land that her family had owned since the 1960s and develop it into something great, partially due to fears that another winemaker may do exactly that.
Luckily, Elana found her family to be completely supportive of the idea and she went on to study Enology at university to adequately prepare herself for the trials ahead. The winery officially came into being in the year 2000 and was initially run with the help of an external consultant while the Elena completed her studies and put the many processes into place that would be required to make a success of the venture.
In 2004 she took complete control of the winery and decided to stake its future on the Titolo brand of wine. It was a wise decision, as the vintage had an obvious quality that marked it out as a potentially great Italian red wine. It was chosen by Elena because she believed that the wine best highlighted the many qualities of the Agllianico grape and thus would be able to bring a touch of Vulture into the homes of those who drank it.
The wine was quickly earmarked as being of particularly high quality, both thanks to the excellent work of Elena Fucci in terms of its creation and because it also had the benefit of the gorgeous volcanic land that has created a high quality soil in which the grapes could grow.
Perhaps the greatest feat achieved by the winery is that the wine is still very much a family affair. Generoso, who started the family’s love affair with wine all of those years ago, continues to work alongside Elena in its development and can regularly be found tending the vineyards and imparting his wisdom on his young granddaughter.
Combining that with the knowledge that she has gained both through education and experience, Elena’s respect for the great craft of winemaking has ensured that she would accept nothing less than the best from the wines that the family produces. This has been rewarded with a number of awards from various respected wine guides, allowing the wine to build a stellar reputation despite the fact that it doesn’t carry the level of history that some of the other more famous Italian red wines can boast. Each vintage is remarkable for the level of quality it displays and it is truly a testament to the talents of Elena Fucci and her family that they have managed to craft a truly great Italian red wine.
As mentioned previously, the Titolo is perhaps the most famous of the wines produced by the winery and the 2012 vintage in particular is one to be savoured and experienced by any true connoisseur.
This stunningly intense red wine is a deep ruby colour and offers strong notes of rocky minerals that instantly lend the wine a distinct personality that ensures people remember where the grapes were grown. This is complemented by further notes of juniper berries, rhubarb and red plum to lend the wine a distinctly fruity flavour to go along with the complex notes created as a result of its origins.
Featuring dense tannins, the wine makes an excellent accompaniment to many dishes and is practically made to be enjoyed with rich meats and game. It concludes with gorgeous notes of vanilla and grain, with a warm aftertaste that is sure to stay with the drinker for a long time to come.
Better yet, the wine also ages extremely well and can be kept for quite a while in the bottle before it is brought out for those special occasions. It is truly a wine that is well worth the time of any true connoisseur and could be considered something of an undiscovered treasure for many international wine lovers. Be sure not to miss out and sample it for yourself should you ever get the opportunity.