Fine Living | Need To Now

Time-limited luxuries

A maverick winemaker launches the fruits of a 15-year project

Time-limited luxuries

November 02 2010
John Stimpfig

One of the most anticipated and heralded fine wine launches in recent times takes place on November 10 with a special dinner at Mosimann’s private members’ club in London. The gastronomic event showcases the first ever release of Tenuta di Biserno, brainchild of legendary maverick vintner Lodovico Antinori.

Oenophiles won’t need reminding of the aristocratic provenance behind this new super Tuscan label. Set in the terroir dreamland of the Maremma, Tenuta di Biserno is not far from Niccolo Incisa’s Sassicaia, Piero Antinori’s Guado al Tasso and, of course, Lodovico Antinori’s famed Ornellaia and Masseto, which he owned until 2002.

The project has taken some considerable time to come to fruition. Lodovico first spotted the 90-hectare estate in Bibbona back in 1994. He also recognised the soil’s similarity to the neighbouring Masseto, which is why he has planted classic Bordeaux varieties – cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot and merlot.

What is also particularly intriguing is that this is the first joint-venture project involving Lodovico and his elder brother Piero Antinori, signalling a rapprochement in their relationship. Several years ago, I visited the estate with Piero, who proudly showed me round. “The intention is to make another world-class wine to rival Sassicaia and Ornellaia,” he told me.

While the project is backed by Piero, Lodovico remains the source of its vision, energy and soul. Nearly 30 years after Lodovico created Ornellaia, Biserno seems likely to be his vinous swan song, as well as a legacy for his young daughter Sophia. Meanwhile, many expert commentators are predicting that the new estate is a star in the making.

Places at the dinner on November 10 are £150 per person and will feature the estate’s three wines from its debut 2007 vintage: Il Pinot di Biserno, Biserno and the flagship Lodovico (pictured), which will all be sold through London wine merchants Corney & Barrow.