Enth Degree December 15, 2006
Vines, not loafers, are the focus of the famed shoemaker's grandson.
If you must have a bad shoe day with anyone from the Ferragamo family, you'd better hope that you're in the company of Salvatore Ferragamo, grandson of the Salvatore
"Everyone else in my family followed fashion careers," says Ferragamo, with his Jack Russell, Nikita, never more than a few feet away. "I decided to follow wine instead and I'm probably the luckiest one of all."
Like the rest of the Ferragamo clan, Salvatore retains close ties to the U.S., having earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. He worked for financial consultancy firms in Italy before becoming the manager of Il Borro, a beautiful 1,700-acre Tuscan estate located 40 miles southeast of Florence that his father, Ferruccio Ferragamo (chairman of footwear, leather goods and ready-to-wear company Salvatore Ferragamo Italia), bought in 1993 from Duke Amedeo d'Aosta. Some 100 acres are planted to Sangiovese and international varieties, and the estate produces three red wines: Il Borro, Polissena and Pian di Nova. Winemaking is directed by enologist Nicol D'Afflitto, a longtime Ferragamo family friend who also consults for the Frescobaldi's and their Luce della Vite project.
"Il Borro is located in a part of Tuscany [San Giustino Valdarno near Arezzo] that produces wines with dimension and depth without losing elegance," he says of the site, which also includes a villa, medieval hamlet, restaurant and luxury apartments and farmhouses for short- and long-term rent. Plans for a golf course and other tourist attractions are in the works. "It's unlike nearby Chianti in that we have a greater variety of soil types and can experiment with a larger range of varieties like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon."
Ferragamo says that his famed name has nothing to do with the production of the wine. "Our goal is to make wines that are not identified by me or by an enologist, but that are identified by the unique territory they come from."
The vintner's post is in sync with a generational restructuring within the family-run, $50 million company, which is also preparing for a possible initial public offering. Salvatore is one of 30 grandchildren. His grandfather had six children with wife Wanda, now 85. www.ilborro.com
In an effort to aid the restoration of New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Abita Brewing Company (headquartered 30 miles north of the city) has released Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale, a snappy, citrus-flavored, full-bodied brew made with two base malts from England (English Pale malt and lager) and the English Crystal and Cara Pils malted barleys, as well as water from nearby Abita Springs. A buck from each six-pack sold is donated to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, the group working to rebirth The Big Easy.
The historic Fleur-de-lis symbol, used as an emblem of purity by 5th century Frankish royals, is prominent on the ale's packaging, and the purple and green colors represent justice, hope and generosity. For more information, go to www.abita.com.
A further sign that digital media is becoming as ubiquitous as sliced bread: enter Wine Scout, an East Coast wine tasting travel show offering free podcasts to savvy sippers interested in weekend wine trips to New York-area restaurants, hotels, wineries and vineyards, wine tasting festivals and other local sights. Tips on basic wine appreciation, such as tasting and selecting wine, are included, so picking out your Port is also a portable affair. The site features a slew of special offers and deals, too. Wine Scout hopes to expand to other wine regions in the future. http://thewinescout.com
· Two bottles of 23rd-century Chateau Picard, featured on the set of the movie "Star Trek: Nemesis," were sold at auction for $6,600—despite the fact that they were empty.
· The Washington Wine Commission has appointed Deborah Daoust as director of communications and Shayn Bjornholm, master sommelier, as the new director of wine education.
· Using grapes such as Zinfandel, Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and Malbec, third generation chocolate maker Tad Van Leer has created Bacchus wine-infused chocolate truffles for J. Emanuel Chocolatier. www.jemanuel.com
· Alpha Omega Winery has added world-renowned winemaking consultant Michel Rolland to the winemaking team headed by Winemaker Jean Hoefliger.
· Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. held a charity dinner and wine auction in September that raised over $100,000 for The Village Foundation, an organization that helps young adults with spina bifida make the transition to independent living.
· The ultimate in multi-tasking for busy enophiles: Head to Obar in downtown
· Bedell Cellars of
· Château Morrisette in
—Samara D. Genee