Cesari, 80 years of growth
Franco Cesari’s eyes may be small but they’re extremely sharp and while he may be small and appear calm he is full of energy and spunk. When he showed me his cellar, he and it had had just turned 80, both being born in 1936 on the western bank of Lake Garda, where Chiaretto and Gropello are produced. Franco became involved with the world of wine gradually before, still young, he took over the family business from his father Gerardo. And it was Franco who - with passion, tenacity and foresight – became one of the first to make Amarone known in the world, starting in England to then reach the much sought for American market, where it grew in popularity during the 1970s with great results thanks to a legion of fans who ensured its success.
The winery today has its headquarters in Cavaion Veronese where it processes grapes from over 100 hectares of vineyards spread out between Valpolicella and Lugana and subdivided into four Cru: Bosan, Bosco, Jéma and Centofiliari. A new era was ushered in three years ago when Caviro bought into the enterprise.
But it is still Franco who is calling the shots and for his recent and important milestone birthday a limited edition wine was produced. Only 1,000 bottles were made and he signed the label which was a version in negative, in other words with a white background, of the original one for the Riserva di Amarone Bosan.
This is the estate’s showcase wine and is a blend of 80% Corvina and 20% Rondinella, produced under the supervision of the winery’s enologist Luigi Biemmi. The wine is only available except as part of a six-bottle case of Amarone Bosan but I has the pleasure of sampling it during a recent vertical tasting.