A cellar, especially in Trentino, is a reverent, worshipful space, full of mythology and stories. I like the quiet echoes and the damp chill in the air- equal parts excitement and foreboding. The descent itself into any wine cellar reminds me a little of the myth of Persephone- all those bottles and barrels and tanks, brimming full of the joy of life, patiently waiting for their days among the living.
I remember my first trip into the belly of the Ferrari wine cellar so clearly. Matteo and Alessandro Lunelli leading the way, much like Virgil solemnly, yet confidently leading Dante across the Universe of space and time. It’s a magical place underground. Miles of rock carved out of the Dolomites to make room for millions of bottles to patiently wait for time and fermentation to painstakingly craft the perfect bubbles inside each bottle. After all, patience is the last and most precious of all ingredients for making sparkling wine in this traditional way.
When you witness the extent of Ferrari’s winery in Trentino, you may ask yourself, “What is this special breed of insanity?” First the most perfect grapes must be hand-harvested from impossible vineyards, clinging to the mountainsides at dizzying angles. The growers must contend with altitudes and temperatures that make achieving full ripeness a likely impossibility. Add to that, a secondary fermentation in the bottle that can last from 2-more than 20 years before the product is released for sale. It sounded like madness to me- until I tasted the wines.
There is a special kind of devotion at this winery- a palpable passion for sparkling wine that shines in the finished product. Perlage, fruit, acidity, minerality- there is a tension and a precision in these wines that is difficult to define, and even harder to benchmark. Ferrari is unique in this way. The wines simply taste of Trentino.
In the end I know I emerged from my passage into the other-world of Ferrari’s caves a little bit changed. Wines made with this kind of care and devotion will do that to you. How can you remain unmoved in the face of this intense pursuit of excellence and the absolute absence of compromise?
Wine is Art, especially at this pristine and focused level. At Ferrarithere are literally millions of bottles awaiting their Spring, hidden away under a mountain in Trentino. Each represents a promise of joy, beauty, culture and history. Art for Art’s sake. At some point in reliving this experience I find I have answered my own question. Yes, this is madness.
And this is also the beautiful wonder of our human experience.
You can taste this beautiful bottle of Rosé bubbles from Ferrari as part of Le Metro’s December wine club selection. This boutique wine seller carefully curates monthly shipments that will keep you learning about wine, and discovering real gems every month. Check it out (there’s even a special price if you order before December 1, 2015.)