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Salvatore Ferragamo to make amphorae wines in Il Borro

Salvatore Ferragamo, grandson of the acclaimed fashion legend of the same name, is trying his hand at making amphorae wines made from Sangiovese and Chardonnay at his estate in Il Borro in Italy.

Salvatore Ferragamo holding a bottle of his wine, Il Borro, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot, in front of a Salvatore Ferragamo shop in Hong Kong

Speaking at an event hosted by its importer Watson’s Wine today, the younger Ferragamo, revealed that he is making an amphorae wine with Sangiovese with the skins kept in contact with the clay vessel for one year, mimicking the traditional style of winemaking commonly found in Georgia.

“Unlike French oak, amphorae doesn’t give the wine notes of tobacco or spices, it focuses more on the fruit notes of the wine,” he explains, adding that the inherent structure of the amphorae he is using allows wine to have ‘subtle’ contact with oxygen, giving it a different character, which is something that he is eager to explore.

The clay is sourced locally and is made by a local amphorae maker in Italy. It’s not uncommon to see wineries in northern Italy making amphorae wines.

Named ‘Petruna’, the red wine only produces 3,000 bottles a year and made its debut in 2015. Expanding on the subject, Ferragamo added that he is experimenting with “a secret project”, which is making a Chardonnay with the same method.

Jokingly describing himself as “the farmer of the family”, different from other family members who followed patriarch Ferragmo’s footsteps into the glamourous fashion industry, the younger Ferragamo dipped his toes in wine industry at an early age.

In 1993, the family has purchased a property in Il Borro in Tuscany, roughly 45 minutes’ drive from Florence, and turned it into a luxurious leisure complex, Il Borro, with 45 hectares under vine.

Tasked with the agricultural side of the family business, he said, “I have one twin brother. He likes fashion, and I like wine, so it worked out perfectly,” expanding that for any family members who wish to join Ferragamo empire, he or she must have a university degree, an MBA and three years of working experience outside of the group.

But Ferragamo is not the only Ferragamo that has experience in the wine industry; his uncle Massimo has been making a Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany since 2003 at his winery Castiglion del Bosco.

Unlike his uncle’s estate, the younger Ferragamo planted Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Chardonnay in addition to Sangiovese, making a total of 11 wines including a sparkling wine made from Sangiovese, a ‘Pian di Nova’, a blend of Syrah (75%) and Sangiovese (25%), and a 100% Syrah called ‘Alessandro’, which is only available in magnum format.

Harvest for the 2017 has already started this year, much earlier than normal, but the quality of the vintage still remains to be seen, he said, given the winery was hit earlier with frost, affecting one third of its vineyards, and the subsequent drought that swept across Italy.

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