Frescobaldi Sees Strong Potential For New Chianti Classico LabelOctober 26, 2018
Luxury Italian wine producer Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi has undertaken a number of changes across its business over the past year, chief among them a complete reorganization of its U.S. route to market. That effort resulted in the end of Frescobaldi’s 20-year partnership with the Mondavi family in favor of an alignment with two new importers—Shaw-Ross International and Vintus Wines. In January, Shaw-Ross began handling the Frescobaldi and Danzante brands—accounting for around 150,000 cases in the U.S.—and Vintus took on the higher-end Ornellaia, Masseto, Luce della Vite, and Attems labels, combining for about 35,000 cases. Overall, Frescobaldi posted 4% growth in global revenues to $122 million last year, with the U.S. making up about 15% of sales.
With its new U.S. route to market in place, Frescobaldi also expanded its holdings in Italy late last year with the $15.9 million purchase of the San Donato estate in Perano, which marked the company’s entry into the Chianti Classico DOCG. Now, the inaugural offerings from Tenuta Perano—a 2015 Chianti Classico ($26) and a 2015 Chianti Classico Reserva ($33)—are debuting in the New York and Florida markets.
With the Perano purchase, Frescobaldi gained 618 acres of vineyards, the majority of which are planted to Sangiovese. The Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Reserva are intended to present a strong price-value equation within the Chianti Classico DOCG category, according to Shaw-Ross Italian portfolio manager Alessandro Bernini. “Our goal isn’t to be the most inexpensive wine in the region, but we believe we’re offering an amazing quality-to-price ratio,” he says.
A Perano Gran Selezione ($44 a 750-ml.) is slated to be added to the U.S. lineup next February, coinciding with the formal launch of the brand. New York, Florida, Chicago, and Boston will be focus markets for Perano, Bernini says, although the wine will be distributed nationally. About 12,000 cases of the Chianti Classico are coming to the U.S. initially, joined by 4,000 cases of the Riserva.
Elsewhere in the Frescobaldi portfolio, Maremma label Tenuta dell’Ammiraglia has performed well in the U.S. lately, thanks largely to the success of Alìe rosé ($18 a 750-ml.). “When most people think of Tuscany, they think of red wine,” says Frescobaldi winemaker Livia le Divelec. “Alìe represents Tuscany in a new, contemporary light.” A higher-end rosé expression could be added down the road, le Divelec notes. Tenuta dell’ Ammiraglia’s lineup also includes the flagship Pietraregia Morellino di Scansano Riserva DOCG ($25), Vermentino Toscana IGT ($18), Terre More Cabernet Maremma Toscana DOC ($18), and Ammiraglia Maremma Toscana IGT ($60), all handled by Shaw-Ross. Le Divelec adds that other Frescobaldi estates—including Castello di Nipozzano, Castello di Pomino, CastelGiocondo, and Tenuta di Castiglioni—are also performing well currently.—Julia Higgins
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