A wine dynasty with vision

Mazzei wines were sampled, savoured
and discussed at a Ritz-Carlton wine series event last Saturday, during which
the hot topic of the evening was the vertical tasting of Super-Tuscan wine
Siepi, made by a 23rd-generation winemaker in the Chianti classic region.

The evening at Blue restaurant
began with a champagne reception followed by a six-course meal with wine

The menu, created by Blue’s Executive
Chef Luis Lujan, was crafted to enhance and showcase the nine wines from
Mazzei, and in particular the six vintages from the Siepi vineyard owned by the
family, whose name is synonymous with tradition and innovation in Tuscany.

Giowine’s brand manager, who
represents Mazzei wines in the Caribbean and Central American, Flavio
Andreatta, hosted the event and added to the appreciation of the vertical wine

He informed diners about the
complexity and characteristics of each vintage, spoke of the Mazzei family’s
pre-eminent role in winemaking in Italy and was on hand to elaborate on aspects
of the vintages that the diners wanted to know more about.

Mr. Andreatta spoke about the
wealth of experience behind the family’s expertise in wine making, which dates
to the 1400s.

The dinner started off with the
first two wines produced by Mazzei in Maremma, on the southern coast of
Tuscany: Belguardo Bianco and Belguardo Rose. According to Mr. Andreatta the
Bianco represented the latest innovation by the family. A Vermentino based
white wine, he said it offered “personality, structure and smoothness accented
by pleasant yellow peach notes, complimented by minerality and the expression
of a coastal wine.”

Mr. Andreatta said that with the
Rose, the Mazzei family had fulfilled its wish to make an outstanding rose of
singular style. He described its blend of Syrah and Sangiovese grapes as
“uncompromisingly vinified, yielding a floral and intensive rose accented by
succulent fresh fruit notes.”

The third wine, Castello di
Fonterutoli, was described as the historical flagship of the family. Made with
16 different Sangiovese clones and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon,
the host described it as “the chateau wine, the ultimate expression of the very
best vineyards and a wine with great bloodlines.”

Siepi 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005
and 2006 vintages — some never sampled before locally — were the centre piece
of the Discover Tuscany wine dinner. As the last in this year’s wine dinner
series at Blue by Eric Ripert, the expectation was that the five diamond
establishment had saved the best until last.

Mr. Andreatta mentioned that with
their Super-Tuscan wine, Siepi, the family produced a selected blend using 50
per cent Sangiovese and 50 per cent Merlot from cru vineyards. He also spoke as
to how the microclimate affected the type of wines made.

Siepi wines, he said, are known for
being, “full-bodied, opulently textured and extremely rich with moderate tannin
with a long, heady and concentrated finish.”

He said that each vintage shares
similar properties but have strikingly different personalities. During the
tasting, he said that the 2001 and the 2004 vintages were outstanding, despite
the unfavourable weather conditions in both years and added that the 1996
vintage was as a mature wine with all the characteristics of a true

The host then thanked the sponsors,
Blackbeard’s Liquors, for making the event possible.

After the dinner, Martin Hoetzl,
manager of Blue, said: “This was a great finish of our wine series for this
year. I especially enjoyed the opportunity of getting to taste all the different
vintages of Siepi alongside each other. This was a collaborative effort, Flavio
and Kristian made fantastic presentations and Chef Luis did a fine job of putting
together an outstanding menu that did the vintages justice.”

“We are planning already on the
wine series for next year starting during Cayman Cookout followed by a wine
dinner at the end of February,” he added.

“Aldo Sohm, the Sommelier of Le
Bernardin and winner of the Sommelier World competition will also be joining us
next year.”