Vineyard View from my Last Italy Trip
When my long-awaited family trip to Italy was canceled last month due to the pandemic, I worked to recreate experiences from past trips to bring a little Italy to Dallas. So when Monique Soltani, Executive Producer and Host, of Wine Oh TV, reached out to ask if I was interested in tasting wines live with a renowned wine producer live from Tuscany, I jumped at the chance to “escape to Italy.”
Because Monique is an award-wining broadcast journalist and wine expert and Wine Oh TV is a great show, I knew it was going to fun. And when I heard the guest was Massimo Sensi, of Sensi Wines, a fourth-generation wine producer who comes from a family who has made wine since 1890, I was excited.
A little about the Sensi family first. Pietro Sensi began making wines and taking them to market in 1895. His sons, Vittorio and Armido, continued their father’s business and founded Fratelli Sensi. The business model was using a horse and cart to deliver their Chianti wine to neighbors in the surrounding countryside and to the city of Florence. The third generation — Vittorio’s sons Pietro and Giovanni – focused on the wine making business eventually leading to the establishment of its current 5000-square-meter winery in Lamporecchio and building the Fratelli Sensi brand in Tuscany. In 2004, Marco suddenly died, and the family wanted to continue the projects that were started under his direction.
Sensi Vigne e Vini is an estate in Tuscany owned by the Sensi family. Sensi owns two vineyard sites in Montalbano: Tenuta del Poggio and Calappiano Farm. They own 198 acres of land planted to Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay. The vines lie on southwest-facing slopes at altitudes of around 1640 feet above sea level in marlstone, clay, sandy soils and rocks. The vast majority of their portfolio is dedicated to the classic wines including Chianti (their best seller), Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The winery also produces Prosecco and Vin Santo del Chianti, a dessert wine. The entire production is supervised by the family oenologist, Lorenzo Landi.
Sensi collaborates with a selection of wine producers located across Tuscany for the production of wines including Chianti Classico, Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano, Bolgheri, Morellino di Scansano and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Massimo Sensi of Sensi Wines
Massimo talked about what made the winery unique. “We respect our commitments; we are consistent, and we deliver what we promise – for four generations.” He spoke about how it’s been easier to social distance in the countryside and thankful how the winery hasn’t felt too much of an impact in this pandemic due to its work with. All vineyards are now organically farmed and one of the wines is vegan.
We received a package of nine wines from Sensi but tasted three live with Massimo. This is a winery that thinks a lot about the details of its wine experience – what’s in the bottle is great, but Sensi (senses in Italian) is more than about the quality of what is in the bottle. It starts with the packaging, which is eye catching and refined.
We started with the 18K Prosecco, a line of sparkling wines named for the gold karat, luxury and the 18th coming of age celebration in Italy. The package is eye-catching with its gold varnish and Massimo talked about how much the wine inside shines as much as the bottle. It’s meant to be a celebratory wine and “attainable luxury.” And it’s delicious and was rated in 2016 by wine expert Luca Maroni as the “best Prosecco in Italy” with a score of 90 points for the 2015.
We moved to the 2019 Sensi Tua Rosa, a rosé wine of Sangiovese grapes, which is geared toward female wine drinkers. The bottom of the bottle is rendered in the shape of a rose. It was a nuanced rosé with notes of citrus, strawberry, herbs, stone fruit and floral notes.
We then moved to the 2016 Sensi Governato (translating to grow from Italian), which was a
Fruity wine with lots of red fruit with cherry, raspberry, strawberry jam, dark fruit, vanilla and mocha. Maroni rated this wine as another top one for several years.
Massimo talked about some of the experimental projects the winery was working on, all in the name of making better wines each year. And that the winery has started a Brunello project.
He also talked about his approach to wine, which I loved. “Wine is a journey of discovery that comes from drinking, traveling and generally discovering wine,” he said. “It’s all about your own opinion of what is good and what you know to be true.”
To hear our discussion, click here. While the journey and discovery of wine is be better in person and I mourn for this year’s Italy trip, I appreciate Massimo bringing a piece of Sensi wine and Italy that day to me in Dallas.