Set The Bar
Lifestyle in Style

Italy’s Instituto Grandi Marchi

Only 18 Wines to try!

I have frequently stated you can make the finest wines in the world but if no one knows about them you are sunk.

Personally, I think word of mouth with wine drinkers is a powerful marketing tool. However more effective is a marketing campaign that may end up creating a demand before word of mouth spreads. We can’t underestimate the power of the wine press particularly their rating system that makes wine selection somewhat brainless as the brain being relied on is that of the wine critic.

There may be some merit to relying on the wine critic who may have been whisked off to wine producing areas at the expense of third parties to conduct concentrated tastings over several days. Or perhaps on home turf the wine writer has been invited to a tutored tasting of wines that are ordinarily unaffordable and often inacessible.

What I can say over the past few years is that in Canada the Italians are relentless in marketing of wines and increasingly Italian foods. As a wine writer I welcome the opportunities the Italian Trade Commission in Toronto has offered me.

One such opportunity was the Grandi Marchi tasting in Toronto on 19 September where 18 of the 19 Grandi Marchi wineries of prestigious wine families strutted their stuff in a tutored tasting led by local critic Michael Fagan.

Bravissimo for the Italian self-promotion! If you can’t market your wines you’ll not sell much of it. Of course if you overdo it you create a veil of unbelievable self importance and aggrandizement.

The Grandi Marchi is a family winery organization of Italian wineries comprised of 19 prestigious wine making families[RS1]  that promotes its wines on a global scale.

Now how they describe themselves should be taken with a grain of salt as it is their marketing self description. All the wineries are in the wording of the Grandi Marchi itself:

  • Family owned brands
  • Each member has been in operation for 25 years
  • All own their estate vineyards
  • All are recognized globally for their superior quality and production practices
  • Each is considered an innovator with a profound vision
  • All are key players representing Italy’s most praised wines
  • All are industry leaders whose peers emulate their work
  • All share the same values and strategies and support collaborative efforts
  • All are committed to a continued focus on education, innovation and developing markets
  • Each member exemplifies the best of their region

Now please note this description is theirs and what relevance to reality is really anyone’s guess. It would take years to individually substantiate these claims!

As for superior quality of the 18 wines our media and buyers’ group sampled I thought that 3 were exceptional and the rest good but not exceptional. The best of the lot was from my latest favourite Italian wine region of Campania being a Mastroberardino Radic Taurasi 2015 an Aglianico reekinga of sweet cherries and horrendously approachable and delicious. The Michele Chiarlo La Court Nizza Riserva DOCG 2015 was again full of ripe cherries, smooth and decadently simple.

In terms of disappointment the Ca’del Bosca Franciacorta Annamaria Clementi Riserva DOCG 2009 was very funked out and unclean. The Alois Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio Alto Adige DOC 2017 was watery and diffuse which is an all too common characteristic of Italian Pinot Grigio!

I suggest over the next year we try and sample some Grandi Marchi wines and determine what is hype and what is reality.

The wineries in this “Institute” are;

  • Alois Lageder
  • Tenute
  • Antinori
  • Ca’ del Bosco
  • Carpenè
  • Col d’Orcia,
  • Donnafugata
  • Gaja,
  • Jermann
  • Lungarotti
  • Masi
  • Mastroberardino
  • Michele Chiarlo
  • Pio Cesare
  • Rivera,
  • Tasca d’Almerita
  • Tenuta San Guido
  • Umani Ronchi


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