If you told me 12 months ago that I’d be launching a former Antinori winemaker to Irish wine drinkers in my slippers, I’d have thought you were mad. On several fronts.
But here we are. Federico Cerelli, who made Tignanello and Solaia — two of Italy’s most famous wines — is now making his own range exclusively for WineSpark.
Oh yes — you read that right.
Meet one of Italy’s finest winemakers
Federico spent the first 5 years of his winemaking career at Antinori — in his words, ‘the best winemaking school in the world’.
It was here he learnt the art of making truly great wines. Wines that fetch eye-watering prices around the world.
He’s gone on to become one of the most respected wine consultants in Italy, helping small, boutique wineries all over the country make their wine taste amazing.
This took years of convincing
I know Federico through his business partner and best friend Stefano di Blasi, who makes wine for Naked Wines, where I used to work.
For years I tried to get Federico on board for Naked, but it was never the right time.
But when I called him up last year to tell him about my hopes and dreams for WineSpark, he was instantly on board.
I finally got my man.
This is going to be special
His exclusive range for WineSpark is called I Filari, which means ‘the rows’. He’s taken his favourite small parcels of wine, which he’s already made at his client wineries, and bottled them under his name for you.
It’s the first time in his life he’s been able to put his own name on a label. And you made it happen.
The wines are finally here
If you’ve ever been to Italy, fallen in love with a wine or winery, and then tried and failed to find that wine back home, then these wines are for you.
They’re from small, organic, immaculately farmed estates in the heart of Tuscan wine country. Here’s what we have in store…
- I Filari Chianti Rufina Riserva 2017 — this wine is a nod to how great Chianti used to be made — old vines, spontaneous fermentation from wild yeasts, and ageing in giant oak casks from the nearby Langhe region. It’s a rich, refined and complex red, with classic Tuscan woody and violet notes
- I Filari Toscana Cabernet Franc 2018 — this is a real find… it’s from the under-the-radar Suvereto region, right next to Bolgheri, its more famous neighbour. Cab Franc is king here — the long growing season ripens the grapes to perfection. Federico employs every trick in the luxury winemaking book to make it taste sensational. Think inky graphite nose, and a smooth, refined and focussed palate. It’s a Super Tuscan without the Super price tag
- I Filari Toscana Viognier 2019 — This fresh and elegant white is from the coast in Suvereto. The sandy soils and cool temperatures here are perfect for Viognier — you get great ripeness, dried apricot and tropical flavours. If you like your northern Rhone whites, even Chablis, then this is for you.
This is what being part of WineSpark is all about
Wines of this quality and provenance don’t come cheap. With standard retail markups, you’d pay €285 somewhere else for six.
As a member of WineSpark, you’re getting access to amazing people in my network like Federico.
And the price you pay for these wines, €165.26, is the cost of the wine, plus taxes and delivery to your door. And nothing else in between.
We’re just getting started… Federico is already working on another special project. But first try his Tuscan treasures here.