• A rising wine producing star in Italy: Chiara Condello. Remember the name.


    A rising wine producing star in Italy:

    Chiara Condello. Remember the name.

    1. Intro

    A few years ago, during a tasting event in Belgium, I had the pleasure of discovering this young but extremely talented wine. At the event several wine makers ware present including some great Barolo producers. However, not the Barolo’s caught my attention but it were Chiara’s wines that immediately struck me.

    At that time I still had to start my Sommelier education and Born To Be Wine was not even ‘born’ yet. I did make the wise decision to immediately buy a large stock of her first Riserva vintage, the 2015 Le Lucciole, an amazing wine with a divine ever-lasting finish.

    With Born To Be Wine we now have the pleasure to offer you the last and limited stock of her 2016 and 2017 vintage, the Chiara Condello Pedappio 2016 and the Chiara Condello Le Lucciole Riserva 2017.

    In the coming weeks we will host a digital tasting with Chiara’s as our key note speaker, so keep an eye on our website and newsletter!

    For more information about the tasting notes, go to Predappio or Lucciole

    2. Don’t just believe our word, read what the world’s most famous wine critics have to say about Chiara:

    Decanter (91/100):

    “A rapidly rising star on the Romagna firmament, and just over 30 years old, Chiara Condello struck out on her own when she stumbled across an old vine Sangiovese vineyard in Predappio.”

    From the Decanter article “Central Italy best-kept secrets” (June 2020):

    “Chiara Condello makes her exciting portfolio of Sangiovese wines in Predappio, with hilly vineyards ranging between 150 and 300 meters in elevation, the vines digging their roots deep into a poor calcareous-clay soil, which is rich in Pliocene sandstones called spungone. Of her seven hectares of farmland, only 4.8 are planted to vines, entirely Sangiovese, and the rest are split between forest and olive groves. Condello farms organic, aiming to let each vintage to speak for itself, using indigenous yeast and Slavonian oak aging and bottling unfiltered. She is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting new producers in Romagna today.”

    Centered in the province of Forli, a new focus on terroir is emerging in Predappio, where we find Chiara Condello, who after only three vintages is already wowing Sangiovese lovers around the world. Here we are in the foothills of the Apennines, with sedimentary soils consisting of a unique formation of marine origin named spungone, made up of calcareous sandstone with large, porous seashells strewn throughout. The most interesting part is that these hillside vineyards have existed for decades; it simply took a new way of thinking to bring them to life. After 15 years of reading about the potential of Sangiovese in Romagna, I’m happy to report that today it has finally been realized within the region itself.

    Gambero Rosso (Chiara Condello Le Lucciole Riserva 2017, limited cases!): Maximum score of Tre Bicchieri!

    Vinous (92/100 for the Chiara Condello Predappio 2016, limited bottles!):

    “You can’t think of the Romagna Sangiovese Predappio as Chiara Condello’s ‘normale’ or ‘entry-level’ offering. This 100% Sangiovese hails from three specific vineyards, and Chiara explains that it is the balanced result of diverse soils, expositions and elevations. I have to agree. Here I’m finding a beautiful display of pure Sangiovese, featuring dusty black cherry, crushed stone and wild herbs, as hints of old leather and animal musk develop in the glass. On the palate, soft textures and fleshy red fruits are offset by zesty acids, spice and minerals. It finishes balanced, fresh and tactile, as notes of tart cranberry slowly fade, leaving hints of fine tannin in their wake.”

    New York Times (“Best wines under $20”: Chiara Condello Predappio 2016):

    In Italy, Sangiovese is not grown only in Tuscany. It’s the country’s most abundant red grape and has been cultivated in Emilia-Romagna for centuries. Chiara Condello, a young producer from a family of winemakers, makes this wine under her own label. It is 100 percent Sangiovese, and it’s more overtly fruity than, say, a Chianti Classico. But it carries similarly dusty tannins and is nuanced and energetic.

    3. Chiara’s story

    Chiara Condello’s wines were born from the awareness of being a keeper of a wine growing history that was written and handed down for hundreds of years in the Predappio hills and by her desire to give a revolutionary interpretation to this unique and generous land.

    Chiara works following her own concept: she wanted to produce a wine that expresses the high potential of her land, releasing it from all the things that are not essential. A Sangiovese that is translated exactly in her ideas of perfect winemaking.

    Therefore she has chosen a little piece of land close to a forest, in the heart of the appellation Predappio, in between 150 and 300 meters above sea level. Here the vines are deeply rooted in a poor calcareous-clay soil which is rich in pliocenic sandstones called Spungone. 3 million years ago there was a sea, and from here Chiara started working to produce a wine that is the expression of this uniqueness.

    In her wines Chiara seeks the authentic expression of her land, its history, its soul. She imagined a bright pure wine, that is born from the unrepeatable conditions of the vintage and of its terroir of origin. To reach that, Chiara decided to work in a simple way, following the dictates of organic viticulture and handcrafted winery management.

    Chiara thus followed her own path: organic viticulture, attention and respect for the plants and the soil, manual workings, organic fertilization, mechanical weeding and a very low use of sulphur and copper for crop-pest control. Before being a good winemaker, it’s important to have healthy and balanced vineyards. That’s why Chiara is present in the vineyards every single day, with the goal of bringing to the cellar a healthy and mature grape that does not require any correction.

    The harvest is manual and the works in the cellar are governed by the principle of respect for the grapes and the timing required by the Sangiovese grape. Fermentation vats are filled by gravity and Chiara is opposed to anything that can bring standardization, so her way of vinifying preserves all the sources of diversity: indigenous yeast fermentation, very little temperature control and long maceration. The ageing takes place in oak barrels before being completed in the bottle, where the wine is put without being filtered.

    The label of Le Lucciole is designed by artist Francesca Ballarini with whom Chiara works to tell each year a different story, as all the vintages are different and unique as well.

    Jan – jan@borntobewine.be


    Chiara Condello Predappio 2016

    Chiara Condello Le Lucciole Riserva 2017 (cases only)

  • Valentine par Valentine Wit

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    “Valentine par Valentine” – by Jan

    Finally ‘Valentine par Valentine’ is available in our web shop!
    I had the pleasure discovering this white Bordeaux wine during a digital tasting session earlier this year.
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    Château Lamothe’s foundations date back to the 16th century.

    Its renovation in the 19th century transformed the building into a charming residence whose facade is pictured on the label.

    Located in the commune of Haux, on top of a clay-limestone slope in the heart of the Bordeaux wine country, this estate has been devoted to winegrowing from the very beginning, and has belonged to the same family for 4 generations (as of 1956).

    The 80 hectares of vineyards, including those of neighbouring Château Manos, purchased in1991, are managed by Anne Néel and her children, Maria & Damien Chombart.

    As time went on, the owners of Lamothe expanded their vineyard holdings, renovated impressive underground galleries and turned them into cellars, and achieved a fine international reputation for their wines thanks to dynamic marketing both in France and abroad.

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    Wine making

    An unusual grape variety -Sauvignon Gris- makes up 50% of the blend, completed by 50% Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is fermented in new barrels and aged on its lees (also in new barrels) for approximately 6 months to produce a wine of considerable power and finesse. The oak is understated and combines beautifully with the fruit.

    Why Valentine?

    Why the name Valentine? Because that is the name of a pretty young girl who was born into the family in spring 2000. The family wanted to make a wine worthy of her with an elegant label, and she painted the “V” on it herself.

    Tasting notes

    Aromas: mineral, combination of exotic fruit & citrus, hints of oak
    Mouth feeling: round, fresh, elegant with long finish
    Alcohol %: 13
    Serving temperature: 10-12°C
    Drinking window: best to drink young, up to 3-4 years after vintage
    Food pairing: fish, lobster, crab, or a good ripe camembert or brie

    My assessment: 90/100

    A wine in this price range is worthy of an excellent score of 90/100.
    This white Bordeaux at only 12,50€ thus really is an excellent price-quality value.
    With my code “JVDB10” you get an additional 10%, a bargain for this great white wine.
    Jan Vandenbussche