“Wine, in our culture, has the great power of uniting people to create ties and connections. Today we’ve managed to bring it to its highest level. It was like sitting around a table with lots of people, from Shanghai to New York, to share what our wines, despite their being so characteristically linked to Tuscany, their native land, have to offer to the whole world.”With these words Paolo Panerai, head of the Castellare di Castellina and Rocca di Frassinello wineries, commented on what had been the first global wine tasting ever and which he had strongly imagined and desired.
Four continents and nine headquarters, each linked with the other in direct conversations: Madrid, Munich, London, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg and New Delhi. In each one an arena full of journalists and professional experts from the top levels of the wine world. A huge organizational effort made possible thanks to the technology of British Telecom, sponsor of this exceptional event. A technology for super videoconferences which the fashion world was already using and which for the first time had been experimented in the world of wine. An undeniable success for the sharpness of its images, the quality of the audio and the possibility of conversing simultaneously between Asia and America, passing through Africa and Europe.

All participants tasted two groups of excellent quality wines, presented by Alessandro Cellai, head winemaker of the Domini Castellare di Castellina group. The event was opened with a vertical tasting of the last 6 years of Sodi di San Niccolò, top ranking wine of Castellare di Castellina. 85% Sangioveto and 15% Malvasia Nera, I Sodi was the first Italian wine to conquer the Top 10 list of Wine Spectator, the most influential wine magazine in the world, and has continued in time to win several prizes, but without ever changing its blend, based only on authocthonous vines. The closing wine was presented by Cellai as a “special guest” and it was the 1986 harvest of I Sodi, basically unavailable on the market today and for which reason Panerai, in preparation for this tasting, had had to buy two bottles at an auction in Germany for over €2000. Unanimously, both judges, the first being Bruce Sanderson, top writer for Wine Spectator, awarded place of honour to I Sodi di San Niccolò 1986.

Following this, the last 6 years of Baffonero, 100% Merlot, produced in the Maremma winery at Rocca di Frassinello the splendid example of architecture designed by Renzo Piano where every winemaking operation is carried out without pumps using only the force of gravity, was tasted. Baffonero is the result of a scrupulous selection of grapes from the oldest vines on the farm. A wine produced to compete with Masseto, the legendary Merlot produced by Ornellaia, just a few chilometres from Rocca di Frassinello. At the end of the tasting all the experts, from London to Munich, Johannesburg and Milan agreed once again that Baffonero doesn’t have to compete with other wines because it has found a style of its own, highly recognizable for intensity and elegance. The final toast crossed the 12 time zones between the furthest countries so that at 8 am in New York, one of the guests commented “the best breakfast I ever had” while in Shanghai it was 8 pm.
Gianluca Cimini, Managing Director of BT Italia said: “Right from the beginning I’ve strongly favoured this initiative which uses the best methods of collaboration and proves our obligation to strengthen Made in Italy excellence by finding innovative solutions to improve, through continuous transformation, their way of carrying out business. This creative use of technology underlines the quality, capacity of renewal, local tradition, handicraft know-how, professionalism and attention to detail for which excellent Italian products are known throughout the world. We call this The Art of Connecting”.


“Congratulations for the very high quality of all the wines tasted. Fantastic wines which make it easy to recognize the characteristics of each year, as with the vines. Thank you for organizing this wonderful tasting.”

Bruce Sanderson


“I consider I Sodi di San Niccolò a serious wine. There are many prominent wines on the market for entertaining moments. But I think a serious wine is one to be opened on those important moments in life.”

Paolo Basso


“I’ve already taken part in a tasting as ambitious as this one but the quality of the audio and video were nowhere near as high as today’s. The whole experience was much less valuable and interactive as this one. For me it’s something completely new and has opened new opportunities in my field of work.”

Joe Fattorini


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