Fausto Maculan: 40 harvests with an eye on the future
A pleasant evening to taste the wines of Breganze produced by the area’s iconic estate: Maculan.
Have you ever had a love at first sight experience to then, because of laziness or superficiality, not followed it up to understand exactly what it was that inspired this? It has happened to me more than once and only later did I realize I had not discovered all the qualities of the subject. In this case it happened to me in regard to a wine estate.
Years ago I worked in a well-known Roman establishment where I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of wine. I was bowled over by the sweet wines from Maculan because of their characteristic finesse and balance. My passion for cooking even led me to “sacrifice” a 0.375-liter bottle of Torcolato , which I has bought and kept in my small cellar, to prepare a terrine with fresh foie gras that I had brought back from a trip to Budapest. But it was well worth it.
The Maculan family selects the best grapes to produce the most famous and best quality wines of Breganze, a charming village at the feet of the Asiago plateau where the climate, very mild, favors the cultivation of grapes and olives. The estate was founded in the early 1950s by Giovanni Macula and in 1973 Fausto took charge and his skill, tenacity and great passion led him to find and apply cutting-edge technologies and instruments to boost quality in Breganze appellation and make it what it is today. Since 2007, his daughters Angela and Maria Vittoria have been involved in running the estate and with them Fausto today has a new project: shift cultivation towards Merlot Khorus and Sauvignon Rytos, two special and resistant varieties developed by the University of Udine. Over the next ten years, this conversion progressively resulted in a drastic reduction in the need to treat the vines.
On June 14, I had the pleasure, and the luck, to take part in a dinner at Achilli al Parlamento, an historic wine shop--restaurant in the center of Rome, to mark Fausto Maculan’s 40
After an aperitif with the new Brut Tre Volti , a 100% Chardonnay traditional method bubbly that takes its name from Breganze’s coat-of-arms, the faces of three women who represent the town’s three historic neighborhoods.
Vespaiolo 2016 , with its intense aromas of citrus and citron, harmoniously paired well with creamed cod but not so much with the fish marinated with olive tapenade, white chocolate and powdered pesto because the wine’s acidity was a bit aggressive. The sole “mugnaia”, with greens, caper aromas and an unusual addition of crispy yeast, went nicely with the Sauvignon Ferrata 2016 , while the lamb sirloin with an anchovy sauce was paired with Crosara 2010 , a 100% Merlot which, thanks to its soft and elegant tannins, was not intimidated by the scorbutic salted fish.
The seductive character of Torcolato 2012 held up well to the provocative dessert with foie gras. All the elements worked well with each other thanks to the strong, at times bold flavors that were always pleasing to the mouth and soul.
In order to celebrate this important milestone, Angela and Maria Vittoria dedicated to their father XL Vendemmia , the name not a reference to the size of the bottle, even if only magnums were used for this wine, but to the Roman numeral 40. Production was limited, only 300 bottles, and the wine was their Cabernet Sauvignon Breganze DOC 2013 , made from a selection of the best grapes from the Branza vineyard. The lovely label was designed by the Brianza Vincentino artist Pino Guzzonato and made with fibers from the same grape bunches used to make the wine. Each bottle is different from the other and thus unique.
Before the evening ended, however, there was another surprise: the unforgettable Acininolili 2011 . This wine needs no introduction only a religious silence to appreciate its refinedness, the balance of its sweetness that is never sickly sweet and wrapping aromas and to “meditate” on the enormous expressive capacity of the Veneto region and Italy in general.
An impressive vertical tasting of nine vintages of Fratta , from between 1979 to 2015, along with one of XL Vendemmia preceded the dinner but unfortunatly I was unable to take part in.