I am writing this letter to share with you a deep emotion, unpredictable given the terms in which it occurred, which I felt a few days ago and which I believe will move you too.

Baffonero su Les Echos
It was Saturday 17 March and Delia Demma, communications manager and Enea Silvio Tafuro, the marketing manager of our four wineries (in addition to Rocca di Frassinello, Castellare di Castellina in Tuscany and Feudi del Pisciotto and Gurra di Mare in Sicily), sent me an article published on Les Echos, the leading French business newspaper owned by Bernard Arnaud, chairman and CEO of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company, but also owner of top wine brands such as Chateau d’Yquem, Cateau Cheval-Blanc, Moët Chandon champagne and so on. The title reported on the full-page article, signed by the great journalist Jean-Francis Pecresse, is the following: “Vin: Baffonero, bravissimo”.

Jean-Francis Pécresse

Jean-Francis Pécresse, direttore di Radio Classic

And the article starts with these words: “I am unforgivable because I didn’t know Baffonero. I had two 2015 bottles in my cellar and, the other evening, to accompany an Osso Buco, I brought them up without knowing what awaited me… And then, what a surprise! I immediately realized that I was in front of a great wine, which immediately made me think of Petrus and Masseto, the Italian Petrus. I told myself that I shouldn’t keep this discovery to myself and I immediately wrote the article for the weekend edition of which I am editor…”.

Jean-Francis Pécresse, who was a wine reporter and then a wine columnist, before becoming director of Radio Classic and then of Les Echos weekend magazine (Les Echos in France is like the Financial Times in London or The Wall Street Journal in New York) scrupulously wrote at the end of the article these words “Rocca di Frassinello, Baffonero 2015, Maremma Toscana. 240 euros for the bottle.”.

But as a great wine expert he also wrote: “A sign that does not deceive: further south of Bolgheri, in Gavorrano, not far from Grosseto, there is a vineyard, also like in Bolgheri, about a hundred meters away height, above the maritime plains of the Maremma, with plots that form the Baffonero cuvée; sometimes to the north, sometimes to the west, the soil is made up of clayey shale”. According to Pecresse, this soil, made of clayey shale, is the sign that does not deceive in terms of quality. And that’s exactly how it is.

Paolo Panerai, Presidente di Rocca di Frassinello

Paolo Panerai, Presidente di Rocca di Frassinello

If Pecresse could not refrain from writing on Les Echos pages his enthusiasm for the discovery, I could not refrain from writing to him a message to say thank you: “Dear Colleague, double thanks as I am also a journalist, but on economics and finance, and I produce wine as activity that has no power to influence the independence of professional information, unless journalists drink too much of it”. And I added: “You have exactly understood the secret of the clay shales that made Petrus and Masseto great wines. Rocca di Frassinello, as you recall in the article, was born in a joint venture with Eric de Rothschild of Chateau Lafite. Although now the jv has dissolved because the Rothschilds chose to sell the minority shareholding of the companies where they owned a minority stake, as in the case of Rocca di Frassinello and the Portuguese Quinta Do Carmo, and to buy the minority shareholding where they owned a majority stake. But the imprinting remains. Also sealed by the designer of the cellar, my close friend Renzo Piano, who not only lives in Paris, but also became famous many years ago as the architect of the Beaubourg, the grandiose museum wanted by president George Pompidou. So you have understood this closeness with Petrus very well. Thank you so much.”

In this open letter I also intend to thank the person who has been making the wines of the four companies for 30 years and in particular I Sodi di S.Niccolò di Castellare, already traded by La Place de Bordeaux, as the best fine wines in the world, and now Baffonero, 100% merlot which was compared by Precresse to two icons of world oenology (Petrus and Masseto). My personal thanks and homage are for Alessandro Cellai who is also vice president of the four companies and teaches oenology for Postgraduate Master Degree courses at University of Pisa. With Alessandro we were sure that sooner or later the excellence of Baffonero would emerge in all its value (the name comes from the nickname, due to the big mustaches that were black 17 years ago, of the wild boar hunt leader, whose hunts always start from the vineyard where the Merlot grapes are harvested). The consecration that a famous and authoritative journalist like Jean-Francis Pecresse made of Baffonero, the specific words he used, are the best that we could imagine, especially because they come from France for an Italian wine. Thanks again Jean-Francis.

Paolo Panerai, Rocca di Frassinello President

Read the article on Les Echos: “Vin: Baffonero, bravissimo”

Tags: , , ,