Above the Sea
Bolgheri, August 2007
[ German - German ]
People used to grow tulips here, today winegrowing explodes: Bolgheri, a small village between Livorno and Piombino, close to the sea. During summertime only about twenty locals live here, and there are almost as many restaurants and wine shops. A holiday region, beach, view on the island.
Ten years ago there were scarcely ten winemakers, today there are almost fifty. Many vines are just a few years old, and experiments are still going on. The coming years are going to be exciting because with the increasing age of the vines Bolgheri will have to prove whether he is capable of producing further first class wines - like the fistful already famous Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Guado al Tasso - and whether the region can live up to the high expectations.
Due to San Guido's invitation I was able to stay at Castilioncello, a castle built around the year 750, together with the scholarship holders of the Florence Villa Romana. The castle is in the possession of San Guido, the wine-growing estate that produces the Sassicaia. It also is one of the most striking points of the region, and can be seen from a long distance. The castle is situated between Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci, 400 metres above sea level and features a sensational view of the hillside and the vines. On the hill, beneath the castle, but not visible from it, the Sassicaia vineyard is located. Its first vintages used to be stored in the cellar of Castilioncello. The five kilometres long, private road to the castle is rather bumpy and occasionally wild boars cross one's way there.
August is right in the holiday season, but nevertheless I was able to visit numerous local wine-makers, have a look at their facilities and cellars, and taste their current wines. The visited wine estates are listed from north to south.
English translation by Kilian Fitzpatrick