LUX checks in to Borgo Santandrea, a sweet spot on the Amalfi coast which feels far from the madding tourist crowds

‘Everybody should have one talent, what’s yours?’ Or so says Dickie Greenleaf in the thriller – most recently a Netflix hit – TheTalented Mr Ripley. If it was Italy, rather than criminal Tom Ripley, responding, the answer would not be ‘forging signatures, telling lies, impersonating practically anybody’, but, perhaps, ‘Venezia, Roma, Toscana… Amalfi’. But how could one pick just one? Across its various shooting locations Ripley’s Amalfi shone out in staggering blue. I couldn’t resist.

A private beach, a pool, and ancient buildings look out onto the Amalfi Coast

A private beach, a pool, and ancient buildings look out onto the Amalfi Coast

It’s hard not to reach for clichés when, checking into the room, one is faced with a vast abstract painting of two blues – that is, sea and sky – contained like a Rothko in their window frame. The room seems to lead one towards this, across bespoke furniture and their signature tiles of blue and white.

Read More: Mandarin Oriental, Zurich, Review

Tucked away, 52 metres above sea level, one sleeps cocooned in something which is clean, refreshingly modern. And yet, at the beach bar, Marinella Beach Club, one still feels that one might just hear the fisherman, raising a glass of limoncello up with a clinking ‘salute!’ after a long day of hauling nets into its ancient building.

a table, a moon, and the sea

Alici, for fine dining at Borgo Santandrea, is a 1 Michelin star restaurant

Holding onto both old and new is the Marinella Restaurant. A Cardinale Twist to begin, for me. Its bitter freshness is what I want in the salt air, while I browse the menu. It seems wrong to bypass fish while sitting by the setting sun over the sea. Borgo Santandrea do it as they should – tender, fresh, not overdone or too spiced up; the ingredients are as fresh as they can be, so I begin with a platter of shellfish sprinkled with Amalfi lemon zest.

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Next comes a confession. I’m afraid I have a weakness for ‘Zucchini alla Scapece’. It’s that type that has its natural sweetness balanced by the acid of its vinegar marinade and freshened by mint. It brings me back to a Neapolitan chef in Tuscany, who – unable to comprehend how one of his customers didn’t like garlic – would stamp about the kitchen, thumb to fingers shaking his hand in the air, muttering histrionically, ‘è aglio, dio mio’. But fear not, here – garlic brings out the juices of a tender, grillet fillet of fish, paired with potato.

a pool, the sea, and a floor

Each room at Borgo Santandrea is styled in a different way, looking at various shades Meditteranean styles

Not that a need a ‘pick-me-up’, or ‘Tiramisu’, following this, but it did the trick. And my swim provided a salty digestivo, and, under its soporific gauze, I fell into a deep slumber, back in the bedroom of signature artisan chic, just 50 metres above the sea.

boats on the sea

Bespoke boat trips are offered for guests across the hotel

I have no doubt that The Talented Mr Ripley will be sending lots more people Amalfi’s sun-warmed way, and I’m lucky I had got there before. Lucky, too, that – contrary to ‘telling lies… impersonating practically anybody’, Borgo Santandrea provides a rare pocket of honesty along an increasingly tourist-ridden place. It seems to pare itself back to the essence of Italy’s talent – if there is just one, that is – that laidback elegance and spirit that can’t help but leak into one, and see the utter necessity of shaking one’s fist at garlic.

Find out More:

borgosantandrea.it

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A blue car on a road by some trees
A blue car on a road by some trees

The Lexus NX 450 on the road

In the third part of our Great Drives series, Darius Sanai travels, in a Lexus NX 450, from the Lake Zurich, Switzerland to the Tuscany Coast, Italy, ending his trip on a bottle of Masseto 2015

What is the best vehicle for transporting a lot of clothes – the spoils of a visit and meetings in various Italian fashion houses – and a lot of wine – the result of a spontaneous drop by the vineyards of Franciacorta in northern Italy? Sitting comfortably just above the speed limit on the Italian autostrada, cruising carefully while listening to the GreenBiz 350 podcast, we were fairly sure we had the answer in our Lexus. Its full name is the NX 450h+ F Sport, but for our purposes it was the car that could just do everything.

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The interior design of cars is becoming increasingly important as we do more things in them (they are effectively 3D extensions of the internet), and driving becomes more controlled and less of a sport. And here was a car with a truly beautifully designed interior. It was light, high enough off the road to give confidence – you could see everything that needed to be seen, but not so high that you felt domineering or unstable. Controls that needed to be easily touched were within sight and within reach without any fuss. Displays were clear with excellent typography. The air conditioning was a notch above the usual in terms of its ability to separate climate zones. Like any good design, it didn’t shout about itself, and it had grown on us over the previous two weeks.

A blue car next to a mountain and lake

The journey started in a small town near Lake Zurich on the northern side of the Alps. The road rose and became increasingly winding as it made its way towards the mountains we were due to cross, and we wondered briefly if we had chosen the right car. This is a hybrid SUV, efficiently powered by both electric and petrol engines, but it is also a high car, with plenty of ground clearance, excellent for driving across fields. So would it be right for twisting mountain roads?

A beach at sunset

The beach and pine forest at the Riva del Sole hotel, Tuscany

We need not have worried. This new-generation Lexus uses technology to miraculously minimise the amount the car leans when taking corners, a key consideration when driving to the Alps, as you do not want something lurching from one side to the other like an old Range Rover. The Lexus drove flat, smooth and responsive, even over the highest points of the Julier Pass, between north and south Switzerland. Sure, it wasn’t the thrill of racing a sports car to the edge of its abilities on a sinuous mountain road, but that would not have been possible anyway, given the rest of the traffic and also the strictness of Switzerland’s traffic police. Fast enough was, well, fast enough.

A bedroom with grey and gold colouring and hints of red

The Exotik Suite

Over the border in Italy, after more mountain passes and ice cream, the Alps fell into the low, hilly meadows of Franciacorta, which is where our favourite sparkling wine from Italy is produced. At its best it is creamy, complex and refreshing, like a good champagne, but with the added joie de vivre. At the main farmers’ outlet store for all the producers (and would that there were one of these in every wine-producing region), we picked from producers and cuvées impossible to find in other countries.

A sign of a well-engineered car is that it doe snot flinch when loaded up and driven hard, and this was very much the case with the Lexus. Onwards, it seemed to say, after a couple of days in Milan, as we arrowed through straight autostradas in northern Italy towards Tuscany. Here, we spent an excellent few days enjoying this car’s other attributes: its economy (fuel stations are very hard to find in rural Tuscany), its ability to deal with rough roads and unmade tracks with no fuss, and the comfort and efficiency of its interior in a hot summer. The full-length sunroof also came in for much praise, although it was mainly open at night, when it let in views of the stars and the cries of owls. A car for all reasons, indeed.

A room with a stage and a large vase in the centre of a table

Objets d’art at the Riva del Sole

Our final destination was a place well known to a certain class of intellectual Italians, roughly the equivalent of Britain’s Cotswolds set, but without the pretentions. Castiglione della Pescaia has none of the bling that has been acquired by its fellow Tuscan resort, Forte dei Marmi, but it has nature, and culture, on its side.

A swimming pool lit up a night

The hotel swimming pools by night

There is one resort hotel to stay in at Castiglione: the Riva del Sole, a resort built in the idealistic style of the mid-20th century, when Europe was thriving and confident, and nobody flew to the Maldives or Bali. You approach along a long, straight coastal road flanked on both sides by the stone pine trees that are a feature of the Italian coastline. The hotel appears amid the pineta (pine forest) on the left, between road and sea, a low-rise 20th-century modern building (Swedish owned) that, when you enter, reveals a cavalcade of original and updated modernist designs.

A wooden divider next to a bed looking out to trees

The Coral Suite

The reception area is out of a 1960s David Niven film (duly updated, of course) and our room, while compact, had a lovely aspect across the trees towards the sea. You wander from reception, past a dramatic Italian restaurant housed in another forest building, past a little newsagent shop straight out of a Jacques Tati film (magazines, beach balls, sweets) and a boutique-chic deli. A huge outdoor pool complex – several pools, really – appears on your right, with keen sports swimmers doing their lengths from the early hours. Past a hut serving snacks and drinks (there is some excellent Franciacorta on the menu), the path rises over a dune and down onto the resort’s lengthy private beach.

A restaurant with white table cloths, green chairs and plants around the room

Modern dining at Riva del Sole, Tuscany

Part of a strip of sand that stretches for 15km in a gentle arc, it is one of Italy’s most famous private beaches. The sea is warm and shallow, and the most memorable aspect is stepping out 20 metres into the sea, your feet still standing on white sand and your chosen drink in hand, looking back at the beach. The hotel and all of Castiglione have been subsumed into the pineta, such is the attention to detail of the design. All you can see is beach, forest and the mountains rising up behind. No wonder it is a haunt of the discerning Italian intelligentsia.

A blue car on a patch of grass next to a castle with a tower and turrets

The Lexus making a pit stop at the fortress of Montalcino – ancient Tuscan hilltop village and home of the celebrated wine Brunello di Montalcino

Hidden inside the pineta, the hotel also has a sophisticated Tuscan restaurant, La Palma. Sweeping interior architecture and the forest visible through windows all around combines with a wine vault of Tuscan wines – particularly from Montalcino – that a collector would die for. We chose a Masseto 2015. All savoury power and a wealth of flowing flavours, it is one of Italy’s great wines, and comes from just up the coast from Riva del Sole. In the main hotel there is also a glamorous 1960s-style piano bar, where you sit inside or out on the terrace and are served Bellinis.

Read more: Great Drive: Jura Mountains to London via Burgundy and Champagne

This is not high luxury, but it is high class; a place where the intelligent, artistic and sophisticated go to enjoy themselves with friends. And throughout, inside and out, the interior design, a subtle 21st-century take on mid-century modernism, is both playful and gorgeous. Chapeau to designer Eva Khoury. There are hotels with grander views and bigger rooms, but very few we would want to spend more time in than the Riva del Sole.

Find out more:
lexus.co.uk
rivadelsole.it
masseto.com

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A swimming pool surrounded by a hotel trees and hills and fields
A swimming pool surrounded by a hotel trees and hills and fields

Glorious exteriors at the Como Castello del Nero, Tuscany

In the fourth part of our luxury travel views column from the Spring/Summer 2023 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the Como Castello del Nero, Tuscany

What drew us there?

What didn’t draw us there would be the more pertinent question. This 12th-century castle hotel is on a ridge overlooking half of Tuscany. In the far distance to the north, you can see the domes and spires of Florence; on another ridge to the south, the terracotta shapes of Siena. Both are a short drive away. In between are hilltop villages, and what seems like an endless expanse of forest, vineyard, field and wild boar.

How was the stay?

Our favourite spot was at the northeast corner of the extensive outdoor pool. It is on a terrace that drops away to fields and villages below. At the pool edge is a huge old oak tree, and we set our sun loungers to its left for a view of the hotel, the pool or the Tuscan wilderness, depending on how we turned our heads by a few degrees. The breakfast terrace, relatively newly created in a refurbishment by Como Hotels and Resorts, is a few metres away and has a similar view.

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Or perhaps our favourite spot was above the pool on the higher terrace leading to the hotel. This is a huge space, with sofas, chairs, planters and shrubs. The panorama stretches outwards and upwards, as this is an excellent observation station for shooting stars in summer.

A beige bedroom with white curtains around windows

The ancient-meets-modern elegance of the Loft Suite

The Castello has a couple of different wings that feature stylish and softly pared-back rooms and suites. Ours was in a corner on the ground floor, with views out and down the slopes.

A decision on whether or not to leave the hotel each day was a question of one irresistible urge meeting a countervailing irresistible urge. We resisted the temptation to visit Florence, but did drop by Siena, a pleasant 25-minute drive away. We enjoyed being back at the hotel for champagne as daylight disappeared.

Read more: The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, Review

There are innumerable wineries to visit in the surrounding Chianti region: you feel you could jump into them from the terrace. Of course, that would be too much effort and the option we preferred was to sit and enjoy the magical views and order wines to come to us. The hotel has decided not to mess around with the food.

A table and chairs in a wine cellar

Atmospheric dining in the Wine Cellar

Some of the best ingredients in the world, from olive oil to meat, cheese and fruits, speak for themselves at breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the Michelin-starred La Torre, guests can dine on the terrace in summer, while Pavilion offers all-day alfresco summer dining.

Anything else?

Italy is full of ancient buildings that have been converted to hotels with views. But there is nothing quite like the Como Castello del Nero.

Find out more: comohotels.com/tuscany/como-castello-del-nero

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entrance to villa
tuscan landscape

Dievole is surrounded by the endless green and gold hills of Tuscan legend. Photograph by Marco Badiani

The second half of our journey through Tuscany takes us to Dievole, a luxurious wine resort in the heart of the region’s famous rolling hills

Where

On a ridge surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and forests, in a wild part of Tuscany just 20 minutes’ drive from Siena.

The arrival

Dievole is surrounded by the endless green and gold hills of Tuscan legend. Arriving from Florence, you divert south towards Siena and turn northeast along a winding country lane, great houses appearing suddenly on hilltops, wild boars popping out of the vineyards. This is not a highly touristed part of Tuscany, you feel you are a visitor among locals, yet it is easy to get to Siena and the villages on the Chiantigiana trail. The last part of the journey takes you down a dust track to a tidy car park at the back of imposing stone buildings; there is also an old chapel opposite the pleasant reception office.

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italian villa

The Dievole winery and hotel. Photograph by Alexandra Korey

The views

This is deepest northern Tuscany, the land of Chianti and olives. The hotel’s main pool has an infinity edge overlooking vineyards and a forest in the valley; forest and vineyard extend for miles up ridges and down dells. There is another pool of equal size on the other side of the hotel. Above the pools and below the main buildings are grassy gardens where you can sit and have lunch or a drink on a wonderfully casual scattering of garden furniture. The formal terrace, for breakfast and dinner, sits behind one of the gardens and has a symphony of cicadas at night time.

Read more: Professor Peter Newell on why the wealthy need to act on climate change

The rooms

Modern Tuscan chic without trying too hard: high ceilings, plenty of marble and space. Some rooms have the same views as the pool, others look more inwards, but all are generous, genuine, authentic and light.

entrance to villa

views of vineyards and hills

The entrance to the villa (top) with views across the estate’s vineyards vineyards and the northern Tuscan landscape. Photographs by Alexandra Korey

Wining and dining

Breakfast is the standard Italian luxury fare of a buffet biased towards fruits and cheeses. Lunch was our favourite meal here, just sitting at a table on the lawn above the low wall, beyond which the ground dropped down into the valley below. The nearest other guest was 20 metres away; indeed, Dievole is a magnificent place for not feeling on top of anyone. For lunch, our favourite pick was a grilled turkey breast with a salad of local tomatoes, whose punchy flavours went with the flavours of the air.

Within a 20km radius of Dievole are some of the top wineries of the region and the hotel’s relaxed, professional staff seemed happy for us to sample their wares during lunch. Dievole’s own wines are served at the restaurant during dinner. Not as famous or profound as other local wines, theirs were well priced and a good accompaniment to the food.

The highlight

The views changing colour and texture daily; and the staff, who made things run beautifully without ever falling into the old Italian trap of getting in the way too much. Tuscany for true connoisseurs.

LUX rating: 9/10

Book your stay: dievole.it

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue.

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hilltop hotel in vineyards
hilltop hotel in vineyards

The Castello Banfi wine resort. Photograph by I. Franchini.

Staying at two wine estates at opposite ends of the region, LUX experiences fine wines, history, cuisine and the spiritual tranquillity that only Tuscany can offer. First up is Castello Banfi Il Borgo, a wine estate and historic hilltop hamlet transformed into a luxury hotel

Where

On a hilltop in the far south of Tuscany, above a broad sweep of valley and plains, with the massive, looming forested ancient Etruscan volcano of Monte Amiata in the far distance.

The arrival

You know you’re in wine country when you drive to Castello Banfi. The land for miles in every direction is covered with vineyards; a smooth, quiet road leads to the estate from the main road connecting Montalcino, on its hilltop to the north, with Sant’Angelo Scalo in the flat valley below. Banfi is not just a wine estate, it is a hamlet, all converted into a luxury hotel (il Borgo), wine estate and celebrated restaurant. There is even a museum of glass bottles. The feeling is that you have arrived at a very exclusive destination, but a working one, with the vines all around making some of the most famous wines of Tuscany. The ‘hotel’ is the cluster of buildings down the single cobbled road of the hamlet, which have been artfully and expensively restored.

historic fortress

rose garden

The restored hilltop fortress (above) with its rose garden

The views

The place to be here is the pool, which looks out to the south, over vineyards, agricultural land, and plains, over to forested hills in the far distance, many miles away, beyond which are the beaches of the Maremma. At night, you can sit on the grass by the pool and try and guess how far away each point of light in the blackness of the land is: 10km? 20km? In contrast to northern Tuscany, the views here are vast, unending, almost unsettling in their scale. Or is the best view from the bedrooms, which look out over a terrace and to the Monte Amiata volcano in the distance to the east? You are spoiled for choice with different vistas here.

swimming pool and vineyards

The swimming pool with views over the vineyards. Photograph by Darius Sanai

The rooms

The old hamlet’s rooms have been cleverly repurposed into a luxury setting, with beautifully treated woods, marble and fabrics. They are less about light and more about texture, although throwing a window open always reveals a dramatic sight of vineyard and horizon.

Read more: Why Maslina Resort, Hvar makes the perfect summer destination

luxurious hotel suite

One of the suites at the Hotel Il Borgo

Wining and dining

Banfi is known to connoisseurs around the world as one of the most significant producers of Tuscan wines. We were given the rare pleasure of a tasting personally overseen by the estate’s director Enrico Viglierchio. The Poggio alle Mura, one of the prestige cuvées of Banfi, is made from a blend of some of the best vineyard sites in the area, many of which you drive through as you approach the estate. Deep, powerful and rich, it’s a Brunello di Montalcino for those who love their wines to resonate. Meanwhile the range-topping Poggio all’Oro is elegant, almost delicate, its older vintages having a complexity of earthy layers, a connoisseur’s wine. You can choose from those and many more at the Sala dei Grappoli fine dining restaurant, in a medieval courtyard, which serves elaborate, intricate, complex cuisine like total black crisp egg, pallone di gravina cheese foam, avocado and Cinta Senese pork dust (and that’s just a starter). There’s also La Taverna for more relaxed, hearty Tuscan dining indoors.

taverna style restaurant

The Taverna restaurant

The highlight

Apart from the wines, it’s the architecture of this intimate private village, and the way you and the other guests (never many of them) feel that you have a whole, perfectly tended, luxury hilltop community and all its astonishing sightlines to yourselves.

LUX rating: 9/10

Book your stay: castellobanfiwineresort.it

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue.

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oak barrels of wine
man standing by wine bottles

Axel Heinz is a winemaker and the estate director of Ornellaia and Masseto

Axel Heinz is Italy’s most celebrated winemaker, responsible for star Super Tuscan wines Masseto and Ornellaia, among others. Over three vintages and on Zoom, he gives Darius Sanai a private tasting and insight into what makes his estates, by the Tuscan coast, so special

If you were to meet Axel Heinz without knowing his trade, you would likely guess that he is a university professor, an academic of some kind criss-crossing his way through a cosmopolitan spiderweb of colleges. His conversation has an international feel of the old school: his perfect, lightly-accented English is pure boarding school, his manner is enquiring, sharp and kindly, all at the same time.

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But Axel is not an academic, although his knowledge base and expertise would instantly see him propelled to a professorship in his relevant field. He is a winemaker, and now estate director of Ornellaia and Masseto. This means this German winemaker with an English education and French roots is responsible for the creation of two of the greatest wines our readers will know, at arguably the greatest wines estate of Italy, and among the greatest in the world. Neighbouring each other, they sit on a slight plateau sloping down to the coast of the Maremma, in Tuscany; you can see the sea from the vineyards. Behind are the forested mountains of the Colline Metallifere, which bring a coolness and freshness to the summer nights, a little like the forest leading up to the plateau de Langres does for the Cote de Nuits in Burgundy (although the Colline are higher, at more than 1000m compared to around 600m for the high ridge in Burgundy).

We always enjoy our private dinners with the ever personable, thoughtful Axel. In the current climate, we sat down with him for a tasting, one-to-one over zoom, with him at the estate in Bolgheri in the Maremma and us at the LUX office in London, of some of the great vintages of Ornellaia, sent to us directly from the estate. Below are his detailed thoughts on each wine, followed by our own reflections.

wine bottles

Ornellaia 2018 La Grazia Vendemmia d’Artista with label designs and artworks by Belgian artist Jan Fabre

Ornellaia 2018

Axel Heinz: I always like to taste youngest to oldest, so you know how the younger wines will develop. 2018 was a rainy year, so the wine is a bit lighter than usual, balanced and fresh. I like to use a narrower glass than most sommeliers recommend; not too wide, in order to get the best from the wine. This seems a particularly open, vibrant wine. It’s already quite delicious, even so young. I would have it with a rare bistecca alla fiorentina (Tuscan T-bone steak).

LUX: Zingy and fresh; if your idea of Tuscan wines is big, punchy beasts, think again. Quite delicate, balanced, and complex with cherries and bags of mixed herbs. Refreshing, for a super Tuscan.

Read more: How will the art industry change post-pandemic?

Ornellaia 2008

Axel Heinz: This was an astonishing vintage. It was incredibly hot all year and then there was a dramatic drop in temperature from 38 degrees to 18 degrees and it stayed that cool all through the second half of September and all of October. It means the wine has the boldness and exuberance of a very hot year, combined with the tight frame which indicates the weather in the second half of September.

The wine is 15% alcohol, but one of the pieces of magic of Bolgheri [the area where Ornellaia and Masseto are made] is that it is rich and opulent but also balanced, with refreshing acidity and a bit of firmness. It’s a privilege that we have something that saves us, which is the closeness of the sea and the cool air. Because if it were just about us keeping the alcohol level down, you would notice some under-ripeness. That’s the beauty of this place. And the refreshing acidity is part of the terroir..which means there are a few things about making wine that we are unable to explain. It may come from our closeness to the sea or the hills behind us that catch moisture and coolness.

LUX: Rich and multilayered, but still fresh; unlike other Tuscan wines from this year, it doesn’t taste of alcohol or jam. A wine for a long, stimulating, thoughtful evening with an old friend you haven’t seen for years – but with the ease at which it disappears, you will need a couple of bottles.

Wine estate

The Ornellaia wine estate

Ornellaia 2000

Axel Heinz: This is similar in character to the 2018, so maybe the 2018 will taste like this in 18 years. This is all about lace and silk, delicacy. I would drink it with something not overpowering, maybe mushrooms or something slow-cooked. It’s ready to drink now, but great wines plateau for a long time.

LUX: A dual-character wine, easy to drink if you feel like something that just vanishes from the glass, but interesting if you want to think about it, with that unique Ornellaia character, fresh, herbs and grilled lamb overtones, and very clean, neither too dry nor too jammy on the finish. Like the others, a unique style of wine, first made only a couple of decades ago, but destined to be one of the world’s great wines for centuries to come.

Find out more: ornellaia.com

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man in vineyard
man in vineyard

Lamberto Frescobaldi is the president of Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi

Lamberto Frescobaldi is the 30th generation (yes, you read that right) head of Florence’s Frescobaldi dynasty which has done everything from build bridges and palaces in Tuscany to create one of the world’s most epic wine groups. In the first of a new series on leaders in the wine world, the owner of Masseto, Luce, Ornellaia and many other wines chats to LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai over a tasting of the Frescobaldi’s flagship Luce wines

Lamberto Frescobaldi:

“Frescobaldi is a family that goes back to 1000 when they showed up in Tuscany, and then arrived in Florence around 1100, so from a little village out of Florence to Florence. Then a gentleman called, like me, Lamberto, in 1252, built the bridge where now is Ponte Santa Trinita, there is a little square called Piazza de’ Frescobaldi, for the bridge that he built there and he owned all the houses there.

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He comes up quite strongly under the light of Florence in that century. Then the Frescobaldi, began to do as many families of Florence did, they became bankers. Because in those days one of the things that was complicated was to ship money. Money was risky, has always been risky, and so funnily enough the first cheque ever invented was here in Florence by Francesco Datini, he invented the cheque, it was a revolution. Think of taking a piece of paper and writing a value! It was a total revolution.

vineyard estate

The Luce wine estate in Montalcino, Tuscany

And then they understand that it is important to move the paper, but not to move the money. So, the money was here and there. Then the Frescobaldi, around the 14th Century, they actually become important bankers through Europe. It was the aristocratic families of Europe, they were always fighting between each other. The Frescobaldi became bankers of the families of England. They actually moved to England, and they became very powerful because they were bankers of the king. And the king actually gave them the run, in Devonshire, of the silver mines. Then they became too famous and too powerful and then the king, I can’t remember which one, but he kicked them out of England. Then they came back to Florence, and from bankers they became farmers.

Read more: Durjoy Rahman on promoting South Asian art

wine cellars

Inside the Tenuta Luce cellars

So, long story short, I believe that my family have always been very forward-looking and innovative. And that is reflected in what happened with me and the Mondavi family (the legendary wine family of California, who have Italian origins). Around the mid 90s they show up in Italy, and they wanted to do something in Italy. They had moved from Italy 1908, and they went to America because Italy was a tough country in those days. And here they wanted to come back, and we got together, and there was again a beautiful relationship. This changed my way of doing my job, Mondavi opening up a window, a window opened giving me the opportunity to taste wines everywhere around the world. Sharing fears and also the beauty of producing a wine together. And now it is the 25th anniversary of Luce, the wine we created together.”

wine bottles

The Luce wine library

There follows a tasting of Luce wines, with Darius Sanai’s notes below each:

Luce 2013

A big, powerful, rich wine but also fresh and light, a remarkable combination. Plenty of fruit, plenty of tannin. I would drink this in five years with a pici al cingiale (thick Tuscan pasta with a wild boar ragu) on the terrace of the Villa San Michele above Florence at sunset.

wine bottle

Luce 2017

Luce 2006

Less power, more softness, an almost gentle wine but with a long backdrop of olive groves, fading into the olfactory distance. One to drink while perched on the old city wall of Montalcino, looking over the Colline Metallifere hills towards the sea hidden beyond, and across the endless forest.

Luce 2002

An almost gentle red wine, belying the Tuscan reputation for producing big reds. Yet there’s a persistence of dried berry, vanilla, and the kinds of herbs you sprinkle on pizzas that make it very moreish. A lunchtime wine, on the Piazza del Campo in Siena, looking at the people wandering past as another day disappears.

Luce 1998

Wow. You wouldn’t believe this wine is older than this millennium. Both powerful and zingy, it has a different character to the others, fascinating to see what can happen as great red wines age. Peppers, cherries, and also a waft of Bistecca alla Fiorentina, beautifully balanced. One to drink over dinner, in late autumn, in your Florentine palace, with your loved one; and like the Frescobaldis, I think this wine will last forever.

Thank you to Lamberto Frescobaldi for his time and the wines for this tasting.

For more information, visit: en.lucedellevite.com

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vintage ferrari
vintage ferrari car

This 1995 Ferrari F512M Coupé will be on sale at the Bonhams auction in Zoute, Belgium on October 11

Modern classic cars, desirable machines from the 1980s onwards, are hotter than ever, with demand not damped by the pandemic or constraints against driving. So for that reason, LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai says he is reluctantly putting his beloved Ferrari F512M, one of the craziest Ferraris of them all, up at auction with Bonhams

The economic ramifications of the coronavirus across the upper echelons of the collecting market have been unpredictable. Walking home from an emptying office at the start of the lockdown in London in March, I bumped into a gallerist friend, who was in the process of locking up the doors of his famous gallery in Mayfair for a potentially indefinite period. What did he think would happen in the art market, I asked him (this was a time when I naïvely believed that people would knew the answers to questions like this). “Carnage!” he said.

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Last week I was having a drink with another friend, one of the most significant collectors of contemporary art in Britain, and a good client of the same gallerist. My friend was bemoaning the state of his investments – not his stock market investments, which were doing very well, but the companies and people he has invested in directly. The companies are in the hospitality and retail sector, and having to let good people whom he knew and liked go was was eating him up, giving him sleepless nights, he looked drawn, despite his fitness regime and wealth. And how was the art market, I ventured, expecting more sharp intakes of breath, and of single malt. “Brilliant! I’m selling, and the prices are amazing!”

sportscar

2014 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse sold for $1,750,000 at the Quail Motor Car Auction in August.

My friend’s observation was evidently a reflection of the specialised part of the top end of the market in which he is selling – abstract expressionism. The art world itself has been hit severely by lockdown. According to one survey, by UBS and Art Basel, art gallery sales fell by 36% in the first half of the year – although falling sales do not equate to falling prices for the most desirable works.

Another part of the collectibles market that could logically have been expected to collapse during the last ten months, but which has not, is that of classic cars. The sector has even more going against it than the art world at the moment. Announcements by governments that the sale of new fossil fuel cars will be banned during ever shorter time spans; ever stricter restrictions on driving in cities; coronavirus-induced road changes in favour of cycles and pedestrians.

vintage green sports car

1956 Lister-Maserati 2.0-Litre Sports-Racing Two-Seater sold by Bonhams for £575,000.

And unlike collectors of Rothkos, the classic car market is not restricted to ultra high net worth individuals who have seen the size of their wealth increase during coronavirus due to a boom in the stock market. Classic cars encompass everything from £5000 MGs to £50m Ferrari GTOs. And the different segments of this market, while separate, are not hermetically sealed. If the price of a Ferrari Daytona drops, then a Ferrari 355, at a tenth of the price, also tends to drop. Yet, despite everything, the classic car market has been doing well across some of its tiers.

Read more: British artist Marc Quinn on history in the making

“Despite the challenging circumstance, the collectors’ car market has fared better than other sectors,” says James Knight, Executive Director at auction house Bonhams. “Although some sellers were initially concerned that the timing was right for selling a valuable collectors’ motor car, our (online live auction) system has been successful. We have sold cars and have sold them well – many at pre-COVID level prices. This success has given others confidence and we’re seeing healthy volumes come to market and being sold for market-correct prices.”

Knight says the market has been doing particularly well in the “hot” area of modern classics, cars desired by the latest generation of collector. “We are seeing a trend towards more modern classics and supercars becoming ever more popular. The demographic of buyers is changing – younger buyers are entering the classic market and they are looking at the ‘poster’ cars of the 1980s, 90s and even of this century.”

Vintage red sports car

The Ferrari F512M had the final development of Ferrari’s famous “Flat V12” engine.

So, with this in mind, I have entrusted my beloved “modern classic” Ferrari F512M for sale at Bonhams auction in the swanky silver seaside resort of Zoute in Belgium on October 11.

After I bought it, in 2015, and drove it across southern England for the first time, I saw it as the last car in my small collection that I would sell. The F512M has all the elements of a true collectable. It is rare: only 500 were made, in 1994 and 1995. It looks striking, with the celebrated cats claw scratches down the sides, and a wide, flat rear straight out of an arcade game. It is the ultimate iteration, and technical pinnacle, of a famous model: the Testarossa, which was launched in a nightclub in Paris in 1984.

Read more: Four leading designers on the future of design

The Testarossa (Redhead) gained fame in Miami Vice, and was improved into the 512TR in 1991. Three years later, this evolved into my car, the F512M (“M” standing for “Modified” in Ferrari-speak). As well as a modernised front and rear (which does divide opinion – some found the original rear treatment more classic), it was the pinnacle of development of Ferrari engine and suspension of its time. The engine’s internal parts were made lighter by the use of rare metals, the suspension was modified for even racier handling, and the car in general was given the performance needed to be at the top of the Ferrari tree in the mid 1990s. The F512M was the fastest road car in the world, until the appearance of the special edition Ferrari F50, costing a multiple of the price, in 1996.

It is a quite astonishing thing to drive. The F512M has no power steering, And while it is a lighter car than its replacement, the 550 Maranello, it does as a consequence need quite an effort to haul it around corners in town. The flipside is there is nothing interfering with the communication of the road surface to your fingers, when you get out on to faster roads and the steering becomes both manageable and responsive. Power-assisted steering systems, and particularly the latest electronic power assisted systems, cannot compete in terms of pure road feel. And the F512M’s manual gearbox (newer Ferraris have the easier-but-less-exciting paddleshift) is such a thing that a senior Ferrari executive drove my F512M and tweeted about it in delight.

red sports car

Ferrari steering wheel

Bonhams director James Knight says this particular example has the “holy trinity” of superb condition, perfect provenance and low mileage.

The subsequent 550, and later V12 Ferraris, were tuned more towards comfort and cruising, attracting a broader selection of buyers than the hardcore purchasers of a F512M. And the focussed and rare nature of the 512 is reflected in its price: good examples retail for two to three times the price of its more modern, comfortable 550 Maranello successor. Indeed, the F512M is the the last of a monstrous line that began with the 365 Berlinetta boxer in 1973, a family of Ferraris with a 12 cylinder engine placed not under the bonnet, but right behind the driver and passenger’s head. The sound, from centimetres away from your ears, when accelerating at full spate, is quite frightening – as if you are inside the jaws of a ravenous Tyrannosaurus Rex.

There is something else quite special about the F512M. Every Ferrari made afterwards was equipped with safety devices like stability and traction control, which meant that if you were about to lose control of the car by accelerating too fast around a corner, the car would notice, and stop you from doing so, electronically.

vintage ferrari

The F512M being sold by our Editor-in-Chief was previously owned by one of Spain’s most prominent collectors, who kept it alongside the rest of his Ferrari collection in a heated underground garage. When we bought it, we put it though Ferrari’s official 101 point Approved car check, which it passed with flying colours

Not only does the F512M not have any kind of safety control “nanny”: it is also the most powerful-ever general production Ferrari with a V12 engine placed behind the driver. On the one hand, this means for thrilling handling: turn the feelsome steering wheel, and there is no engine weight over the front wheels to create inertia by creating momentum through its mass and resist the turn. It just turns.

The corollary of this is that when the back of the car also turns, a nanosecond later, the mass of the engine turns with it, and if you get your cornering wrong, will wish to continue turning, American-cop-car-in-street-chase-style, until you go round in a circle. Keeping this under control at high speed would be both a challenge and a delight – although to be fair, the advanced suspension and huge rear tyres mean breaking traction only really happens when you want it to. I’ve never done it.

Read more: How Chelsea Barracks is celebrating contemporary British craft

So why am I selling it? Firstly, I simply do not have the opportunity to take it out onto the road where it can be driven properly. This is a car that needs to be driven from London to Tuscany at high speed. I barely have time on a weekend to get from London to Oxford.

Also, in the little leisure driving time I have, I have become an increasing cultural fascist about convertibles. I believe cars with open tops are right, and everything else is wrong. Or something like that.

Vintage sports car

1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, sold for $2,232,500 at Bonhams Quail Motorcar Auction in August.

Sadly, they did not make an open top version of the F512M. So, I want to sell it and put the money towards an open-topped V12 Ferrari. You will find full details of my magnificent F512M, which I purchased from one of the most prominent collectors in Spain, here.

As Knight himself says about this car: “The Testarossa is one of the modern Ferrari icons and the F512M was the final and the rarest version with just 501 examples produced. This is a very special motor car as it represents the ‘holy trinity’. It is offered in superb condition, having been exceptionally well-cared for; it has covered fewer than 20,000 kms and has the all-important provenance, which includes full Ferrari service history.”

If you’re the lucky buyer, please promise me a ride. I will miss her. And meanwhile, long may the market for collectibles thrive – after all, driving a two-seater Ferrari, you and your passenger are in glorious self-isolation as you hurtle towards your destination, enjoying every second.

For more information visit: bonhams.com

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Reading time: 9 min
ceramics on a table
ceramics on a table

Brunello Cucinelli’s Spring/Summer 2020 lifestyle collection includes handcrafted ceramic tableware

Brunello Cucinelli’s latest ceramic tableware collection evokes the warmth and rustic charm of rural Tuscany, says Chloe Frost Smith

Brunello Cucinelli’s Spring/Summer 2020 Lifestyle collection takes inspiration from natural forms, using traditional Italian handcrafted techniques to create a rustic mood that celebrates spontaneity and irregularity in texture, light and colour.

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The ‘Tradition’ ceramics are amongst the most beautiful pieces, combining ancient Umbrian pottery craftsmanship with striking modern shapes. Following an initial forming phase, each piece is fired three times and decorated by hand using the ‘engobe’ technique, a special application of clay coating used to achieve a light polished finish and delicate hues.

rustic ceramic set

The espresso set is amongst the highlights, comprising two dainty coffee cups balanced on saucers with asymmetrical edges, whilst the two-piece plate set features a swirling pattern reminiscent of the texture of a tree trunk.

Seemingly simplistic in design, the uneven lines create a sense of individuality throughout the collection, allowing diners to arrange the complementary pieces together or effortlessly style separately.

Find out more: brunellocucinelli.com

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Hilltop luxury villa hotel surrounded by forest
Hilltop luxury villa hotel surrounded by forest

Borgo Pignano sits within a stunning 750-acre estate

Why should I go now?

Tuscany is always beautiful, but especially so when basking in firey Autumnal hues, the ground scattered with crispy orange and red leaves. Set in the hills between Volterra and San Gimignano, boutique hotel Borgo Pignano is remote and staggeringly beautiful – the perfect place to disappear for a few days, especially when the hotel is nearing the end of its season (the hotel closes early November and reopens in April). If you’re lucky, you can go the whole day without spotting a single other person.

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What’s the lowdown?

Just over an hour’s drive from Florence, Borgo Pignano is 750-acre estate encompassing 15 rooms, 12 cottages and apartments, an organic farm and various workshops that produce everything from the hotel’s sustainable bath products and candles to the jars of honey and jam that you find at breakfast. A gorgeous 18th century villa sits at the centre of the property surrounded by gardens and forest land, with the main swimming pool carved into the original quarry stone of the hillside.

Luxurious library room

The hotel’s library

Once a hilltop hamlet, the property has been lovingly restored to preserve its original grandeur and romance. The rooms are decorated with painted frescos, patterned textiles and antique furnishings. In the evenings, guests are invited for drinks in the living room where the in-house mixologist makes cocktails whilst waiters circulate paired canapés. It feels old-world in the very best sense, fostering an atmosphere of earthy, cosy luxury in which guests are treated like old friends rather than moving bank cards.

Luxurious grand living room space

The living room, where evening drinks are served

Meals are generally served in the main villa’s dining room, with a menu featuring local and organic ingredients which are grown on site including dishes such as herb-filled goat’s cheese salad with pollen from the estate’s honeycomb. Guests are encouraged to freely roam the farm to learn more about the hotel’s sustainable efforts, and can also pick up walking routes from reception to further explore the surrounding landscape. There’s also an art gallery on site with contemporary exhibitions and a spa that offers treatments using natural remedies such as flowers, herbs, plant extracts, oils and honey.

Read more: Louis Roederer’s CEO Frédéric Rouzaud on art and hospitality

Getting horizontal

Located in the main villa, our room was once the bedroom of the marchesa with an adjoining single bedroom for her child. Elegantly and simply furnished with a large four-poster curtained bed, wooden shutters and stone tiled floors, it was a unique and calming space. We especially loved the hidden doors, painted to blend in with the walls.

Luxurious hotel suite decorated with grand furnishings

The signature suite, located in the hotel’s main villa

Flipside

The swimming pool isn’t heated so the water is very cold at this time of year, but we very much enjoyed a bracing swim before breakfast. It’s also worth remembering to pack a few jumpers as the evenings get quite chilly.

Rates from: €220 in low season with breakfast included (approx. £200/ $250)

Book your stay: borgopignano.com

Millie Walton

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Reading time: 2 min
Inside a knife making workshop
Row of vines growing on a hillside set against a blue sky

The Fattorie dei Dolfi estate in Tuscany uses traditional, sustainable practices in its winemaking.

Whether cooking or dining, some of our most memorable experiences are steeped in history and heritage. Abi Smith speaks to the craftspeople and producers who are placing time-honoured techniques at the heart of their work, with support from Gaggenau’s latest initiative

Conspicuous consumption is a thing of the past; today we all know that true luxury lies in experience and emotion. No longer blind to the damage that our disposable lifestyles are wreaking upon the planet, our gaze has turned to techniques and materials that have stood the test of time. But is this newfound focus on sustainability and durability built to last?

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Two farmers standing in rugged landscape

Kyle Holford and Lauren Smith

For Lauren Smith and Kyle Holford of Forest Coalpit Farm in Wales, who raise their large black cross pigs on pasture, it was the only approach. “From the beginning, we realised that our focus should be on quality and welfare so we kept that philosophy at the core of our decision- making,” Smith says. And though sustainability is rarely the quick and easy option, it pays dividends. “Quality takes time,” she adds. “It takes about twice as long for us to raise our pigs. We realised that we could produce pigs quicker, but there was less colour in the meat, and less of the much-sought-after marbling throughout.”

Forest Coalpit Farm pigs spend their days in the Brecon Beacons National Park woodland, a freedom that leads to “healthier, happier, cleaner pigs that get fresh air and exercise and haven’t been pumped full of antibiotics,” says Smith. There are perks for the environment, too: “Because our pigs roam and are rotated through large areas, there is a constant wheel of fertilising and regeneration, we don’t have vast slurry tanks and we don’t need to keep lights or air conditioning in the barns.”

Pigs grassing in woodland landscape

At Forest Coalpit Farm in Wales, Kyle Holford and Lauren Smith rear free-range large black cross pigs

Increasingly, consumers are turning to sustainable products for better quality. “I don’t follow the principle of sustainability for other people or because it’s popular in the market,” explains Giovanni Dolfi, who heads up the Fattorie dei Dolfi winery in Tuscany. “I do it for myself.” In collaboration with celebrated oenologist Dr Giacomo Tachis, Dolfi harnesses biodiversity and traditional processes to bring his historic Tuscan vineyards to life. “Sustainability is something I’ve always believed in and what I practise every day in my vineyards,” he continues, citing his devotion to both the environment and his customers’ wellbeing. “I am always the first person to drink my wine, and since I care for my own health, I believe that practising sustainability is a natural choice.”

Read more: Ornellaia’s auction of vintages with artwork by Shirin Neshat

This dedication to sustainability is what led German brand Gaggenau to begin working with Fattorie dei Dolfi, as part of its strategy to further promote its wine culture, and Giovanni Dolfi was invited to its International Sommelier Awards. As a maker of professional-grade luxury home appliances, Gaggenau has an instinctive respect for quality and craftsmanship: the ethos it has recently formalised through its Respected by Gaggenau programme. This mark of endorsement gives makers the recognition they deserve, while also offering the prospect of a bursary to support their work.

Wooden wine barrels in cellar

Italian style villa on the wine estate

Here and above: the Fattorie dei Dolfi wine estate in Tuscany

It is a project that chimes with the current zeitgeist. Ever since the ‘slow food’ movement showed us the power of taking natural ingredients and enjoying them mindfully (something that discerning aesthetes have always known) the world has been longing for a more measured pace of life. Love it or hate it, the philosophy of tidiness guru Marie Kondo (who proposes keeping only those items that ‘spark joy’ within you) has put a popular modern spin on the wise words of William Morris more than a century before, namely: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

It is a sublimation of beauty and utility that has led Nico Zendel – a designer at Gaggenau – to begin a side business forging bespoke knives with antique files. “Perfect function is a must and the perfect form supports the perfect function,” he says. “At Gaggenau we work with a lot of raw materials and try to highlight the handcrafted details on our products. That is the way I design my knives as well.” If you have an old file that has been handed down through your family, Zendel will use it to create a bespoke product for you. “An old file that has no use anymore is often discarded, but if you make a knife from it, you can use it every day, see the marks on it and perhaps think of your father or grandfather while you’re cooking. It has an emotional component that I’m very interested in,” he says. The result is a modern heirloom that says more about you than the most carefully curated Instagram feed ever could.

Inside workman's workshop

Inside a knife making workshop

Knife maker welding a knife

Designer Nico Zendel crafts bespoke knives from antique files which may otherwise have been discarded. Here, above and top: images by Alexander Stuhler

Zendel says that such objects last longer because people treat them with more respect: “For me, it’s important to preserve traditional techniques as they imbue the products with heart and emotion. It helps to get away from the throw-away culture; people are more linked to products that tell a story.” Dolfi’s wines are also overflowing with feeling: “Fattorie dei Dolfi is a project built by heart and hands,” he says. “By heart, we mean our passion, dedication and our love for the project. By hand, we mean the hard work we put in every day to pursue exceptional quality and unique results.”

Wine maker sniffing a glass of red

Fattorie dei Dolfi’s owner, Giovanni Dolfi

This hard work manifests itself in a natural approach to viniculture, where modern shortcuts are eschewed for gentler methods that work in harmony with the land. “My vineyards are surrounded by woodlands, where you’ll find bees, ladybugs, spiders, hares, birds and more,” says Dolfi. “The benefits of this are obvious. For example, the bees bring natural pollination and help to control the numbers of harmful insects. This ensures the health of my vineyards and the exceptional quality that I pursue.”

Read more:  In conversation with renowned Belgian painter Luc Tuymans

But the path of an artisanal producer is not always easy. In Dolfi’s case, during late summer, wild boars have been known to gorge on the grapes. A commitment to what we might call ‘slow luxury’ – much like slow food – means a rejection of the ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ philosophy that has made other entrepreneurs rich. As Smith from Coalpit Farm points out, “rearing pigs outdoors requires a lot more labour than an indoor system with automated feeding. We have to move the pigs from pen to pen, and it’s harder to get their diet just right when they burn a lot more energy running outside. And there’s the weather, too.” But Smith, who knows every sow by name, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Remembering how his grandfather would walk him round their ancestral vineyards, Dolfi says: “As we relentlessly strive for efficiency, traditional ways fall out of favour and the concept of exceptional quality can be lost.” To survive, these crafts must be supported and celebrated, and that’s where Respected by Gaggenau comes in. With the right platform and access to a global support network, their skills will endure for generations to come.

Respected by Gaggenau

Man in a suit standing in high tech kitchen

Gaggenau’s head of design, Sven Baacke

Sven Baacke, head of design at Gaggenau, shares his philosophy on supporting emerging artisanal creators

LUX: What inspired Respected by Gaggenau and why is it important to preserve traditional artisanal skills?
Sven Baacke: The initial concept of the Respected by Gaggenau initiative was inspired by our appreciation for people who are using traditional techniques to create a different and exceptional product. Gaggenau has always celebrated exceptional craftsmanship and we wanted to formalise our support for these artisans and craftsmen through this initiative.

LUX: How can advanced technology and traditional craftsmanship work hand in hand?
Sven Baacke: A unique example of how Gaggenau merges traditional production methods with advanced technology is the way in which we construct our EB 333 ovens. Since its introduction in 1986, this 90-cm wide oven, designed for private kitchens, is crafted almost entirely by hand using select materials. Yet the company also embraces the latest technology: we created a clean room at the epicentre of our Lipsheim factory to hand-build our signature TFT touch display, which features
on the EB 333. This is a clear case of how technology and artisanal craftsmanship work together in harmony.

LUX: Is craftsmanship still valued by consumers in a modern market?
Sven Baacke: Craftsmanship, now more than ever, is valued highly by luxury consumers. Our customers expect exceptional craftsmanship from Gaggenau appliances. At every stage of production, we examine our work to seek out imperfections. The quality control that we use when creating our appliances ensures that we produce an extraordinary product, every time.

LUX: How will the Respected by Gaggenau artisans benefit from your global network?
Sven Baacke: Gaggenau takes part in a range of events globally; for example, we are a proud partner of The World Restaurant Awards, which was launched in Paris at the beginning of this year. We introduced Respected by Gaggenau at the awards, with an immersive experience inspired by a traditional marketplace. It featured products curated by us and the Collège Culinaire de France, and guests could explore the collection while learning more about who made each item. We also host the Gaggenau International Sommelier Awards – a global search for the world’s best young sommelier talent – so we’ll encourage their involvement with this event too. It’s all part of our initiative to celebrate these remarkable artisans and their stories.

Find out more: gaggenau.com/gb

To discover Nico Zendel’s range of knives visit: vauzett.com.

This article was originally published in the Autumn 19 Issue.

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Reading time: 8 min
Luxury mansion building with manicured gardens and an outdoor swimming pool
Luxury mansion building with manicured gardens and an outdoor swimming pool

Once the residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II, L’Andana sits amongst olive groves and vineyards

Why should I go now?

Long, bright days, undulating fields of wild flowers and balmy evenings. Tuscany is beautiful all year round, but many locals will tell you that June is when the landscape is at its most spectacular. You’re also ahead of the crowds. Come July the region is flooded with tourists, and temperatures are soaring – admittedly both are more urban issues, but if seclusion and romance is what you’re after, you’re best to avoid the height of peak season even in rural areas.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

What’s the lowdown?

L’Andana is located in the Maremma region of Tuscany, roughly a 2 hours drive from Pisa and Florence, and a 10 minute drive from the pretty seaside town of Castiglione della Pescaia, and the beach. If you’re keen to explore, it’s pretty much essential to hire a car, but there’s no real need to leave the hotel grounds; there are acres of fields, an outdoor swimming pool and a small, but lovely spa with a heated pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.

Luxury spa pool with surrounding loungers

Luxury living room with sofas, armchairs and potted plants

There are lots of spaces for relaxing, such as the spa (above) and the reception lounge, a conservatory which joins the two villas

The main villa was once the residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II and the traditional Tuscan grandeur has been maintained to give the whole place an elegant, stately feel. There are lots of cosy corners for relaxing and enough space that it never feels crowded. The reception lounge is one of our favourite spots come six o’clock when the fires are lit and the barman takes up his position to mix cocktails.

Luxury restaurant with tables laid for dinner and bare, brick walls

Michelin-star restaurant La Trattoria Enrico Bartolini

The Michelin-star restaurant La Trattoria Enrico Bartolini is well-known in the area and reservations are a must even for hotel guests. The tasting menu is superb and creative; tables are treated like canvases with each course artistically arranged on a crisp linen table cloth. The Porto Santo Spirito prawns served two ways (raw and fried) is our highlight along with all of the various desserts. Guests can also take part in cooking classes here, whilst Restaurant La Villa offers casual dining in the gardens or conservatory at the front of the villa.

Read more: Masseto’s spectacular new underground winery

Luxury hotel bedroom with large double bed with breakfast tray and antique furniture

Bedrooms are decorated in traditional Tuscan grandeur with antique furniture

Getting horizontal

The rooms are simply, but beautifully decorated with vintage furniture and fine fabrics. The best are those on the top floor of the main villa for their sweeping views of the olive groves, vineyards and rolling hills. We loved lying with the shutters open, basking in the bright morning sunshine.

Outdoor sofas and table with waiter serving champagne on the lawn

Flipside

At this time of year, there are a surprising number of mosquitoes buzzing around which rather spoils the bliss. By the pool there’s a little table with a bottle of repellent (and suncream) for guests to use, but still, it’s worth being prepared.

Rates from: €440 per night based on two sharing, including breakfast ($500/£400)

To book your stay visit: andana.it

Millie Walton

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Reading time: 2 min
Contemporary concrete architectural entrance way to a building
Sloping vineyards with a house in the far distance

The vineyards of Masseto slope down towards the sea from the mountains of Tuscany’s Maremma region

Masseto, Italy’s most celebrated wine, is made from spectacular vineyards by the Tuscan coast, backed by ancient forests, looking out over the Mediterranean. This spring, it received a stunning new winery, whose wonders are all contained underneath the blue clay soil, as Darius Sanai, one of the wine’s most obsessive aficionados, discovers

Photography by Marius W Hansen

As you approach the Masseto winery, the overwhelming feeling is one of luminescence. There is a glow from above, and behind, as if the narrow road you’re driving along is the entrance to some new, celestial world.

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There are three shades to the luminescence. The piercing blue of the sky (the sky always seems to be blue around here in the Maremma, the coastal strip of Tuscany halfway between Pisa and Rome); the deep primordial green ahead, which emanates not from the vineyards that surround you but from a thick forest on the mountains in front, forest that looks as wild as it must have been in prehistoric times, with little or no sign of human intervention; and then there is a silver, which seems to come from a different direction altogether, subtle but enveloping. As the road heads up the slope through the vineyards and towards the new winery, you feel that you’re about to be welcomed through into another world.

Contemporary concrete architectural entrance way to a building

The entrance to the new winemaking buildings at Masseto winery

All this makes the entrance itself to the new winery, which opened this spring, even more remarkable. Rather than a great ziggurat to commemorate the otherworldly location of the home of one of the world’s greatest wines, you are greeted by a building that seems to sink far into the mountainside.

And this, perhaps, is the point. It is only when you enter between the stone sentinels at the entrance to the new winery, and disappear into the blue clay soil, that the adventure really begins.

A slim wine cellar with bottles from floor to ceiling

Masseto is perhaps the only Italian wine that has passed into the pantheon of high-luxury brands. It is a wine venerated by connoisseurs, while its serving is also seen as a mark of the ultimate respect by those with just a passing interest in wine, along with names like Pétrus, Lafite, Latour and Domaine de la Romanée- Conti – all the others are French. All the more remarkable, since Masseto has only been a wine since 1987. And since its birth, until the opening of the new winery in 2019, it has always been seen as the ‘big sister’ wine of Ornellaia, made on the same premises.

Read more: Karl-Friedrich Scheufele on Chopard’s partnership with Mille Miglia

This spring, Masseto finally received its own home, distinct from its sister wine, a few hundred metres away on another part of the same slope. The new winery is one of the most striking creations of anything in the increasingly rarefied world of fine wine.

Amid the vineyards, there is a beautiful classical building, terraced, with views across the vineyards and to the Mediterranean Sea, just a couple of miles away. It is the sea that gives Masseto’s vineyards their luminescence, and the wines themselves a kind of olfactory luminescence, lifting up and away, balancing the richness and power and complexity with a kind of angelic delicacy only the very greatest wines in the world can achieve.

Underground wine cellar designed in contemporary architecture

A table of red grapes being sorted by hands wearing white gloves

The glass-cube tasting room, and some of the merlot grapes harvested from the vineyard

But enter inside, and underground, and you are in a different universe. The landing area drops away to a vast, concrete-lined chamber, more redolent of a modern Abu Simbel in ancient Egypt than of a place where wine is made. Rows of wooden barriques line the room; everything is perfect, geometrically, but also puzzling, as if you have entered a kind of contemporary MC Escher drawing. A concrete wall swings open to reveal a room lined with what seem at first to be beautiful black tiles, but turns out to be the ends of Masseto bottles, stored geometrically in racks, black against the grey of the stone. Most remarkable of all is a glass tasting room, a cube in the middle of the winery, where you can taste wines looked on by the wines themselves, buried in the deep underbelly of Tuscany.

The architecture is the creation of Milan-based firm ZitoMori Studio. Masseto CEO Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja comments: “Years of planning and effort have been dedicated to building the right home for Masseto. One that consolidates three decades of experience, where every aspect has been designed to meet the winemaking team’s highly detailed requirements.”

Ordered lines of wine vines in a sloping field

Contemporary clean architecture of a wall and door leading into a wine cellar

The orderliness of the vineyards outside are matched by the clean and uncluttered design of the new winery buildings

Colour portrait of a middle-aged business man

Giovanni Geddes de Filicaja, CEO of Masseto

Commercial director Alex Belson comments about the architecture: “The architectural brief specified the winery must be a masterpiece in its own right. Quite simply, we needed to give Masseto the home it deserves and its own architectural identity. The brief also stipulated the winery must have minimal visual impact, and that the existing Masseto House (a classified building on the hill above the vineyard) be restored with integrity and to meet Italian architectural heritage requirements.”

To do this, says Japanese-born architect Hikaru Mori, “We created a series of spaces, not by construction but by extraction from the hill’s monolithic mass. The diverse internal volumes, heights and levels are reminiscent of a gold mine as it follows seams of precious metal to the core.”

Man picking purple grapes on a vineyard

Axel Heinz, Masseto’s Estate Director

But the architecture would mean nothing without the wine, and Masseto is a wine that is even more special than its setting. Axel Heinz, the estate’s director, has been in charge of the winemaking since 2005 and he says, “The core of Masseto, its warp thread, is a Mahler symphony played by a full orchestra. The weft is a small chamber music ensemble. It’s that orchestral power that needs very careful handling. It has to be balanced by the softer elements, which add complexity. People sometimes describe Masseto as single vineyard wine, but it’s not. There’s an incredible range of plot expressions and different proportions of clay, gravel and earth. It’s more like an intricate patchwork, with the blue clay at its core.”

Heinz also pays tribute to the importance of the sea, both in the light it donates to the vineyards, and the cooling breezes that temper the summer heat and give the wine its freshness, however ripe the vintage. But like the greatest wines, and the greatest poetry, and the greatest vistas, you cannot analyse the beauty of Masseto. It comes from the soil, the grapes, the winemaking, the weather, the microbiome of the earth, the human appreciation of the aesthetic, both in taste and in vision.

For me, Masseto shares with a handful of wines the distinction of being rich, powerful and deep, and also feather light, almost transparent. A big, rich red wine that lifts you up, with a thousand nuances. Different vintages have different characteristics, but there is a commonality in this lightness of being that differentiates it from any other wine I have had from Italy, and which it shares with a clutch of peers at the tip of the world wine tree. Grape variety is irrelevant here. One or two of the great Napa Cabernet Sauvignons have it, as do a handful of top Bordeaux names, and the greatest (and eye-wateringly expensive) wines from the likes of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leroy, Mugnier and Armand Rousseau from Burgundy. In the context of many of these peers, Masseto, whose price has rocketed over the past few years, seems positively decent value.

And none of them have a view of the Mediterranean across the coast of the Maremma. It’s going to be fun tasting future vintages in that glass tasting room.

Find out more: masseto.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 19 Issue

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Reading time: 6 min
Underground wine cellar with wooden barrels and concrete walls and ceilings
Underground wine cellar with wooden barrels and concrete walls and ceilings

Designed by ZitoMori Studio, Masseto’s new cellar lies deep beneath the Tuscan soil

Italy’s most celebrated wine producer, Masseto, recently opened a stunning new underground wine cellar. Irene Belluci discovers

Masseto’s new wine cellar has been designed to blend, or rather sink seamlessly into the curves of the Tuscan landscape. Designed by Milan-based architecture practise ZitoMori Studio, the space expands deep underground in a vast concrete chamber that feels like a sacred tomb.

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‘To represent the effort made to produce the wine made here, we created a series of spaces – not by construction, but by extraction from the hill’s monolithic mass,’ explains Hikaru Mori. ‘The different internal volumes, heights and levels are reminiscent of a gold mine as it follows seams of precious metal to the core.’ Inside, the clean lines of glass and steel balance with rows of oak barrels and textured surfaces, whilst cut-outs in the walls, frame the vineyard’s famed blue clay soil.

An underground wine cellar

A slim wine cellar with bottles from ceiling to ground

 

Find out more: masseto.com

 

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Reading time: 1 min
A classic car driving along a mountainous road
A classic car driving along a mountainous road

The Mille Miglia endurance race winds its way through Italy’s most beautiful landscapes

The Mille Miglia is one of the world’s most prestigious motor-racing events. Founded in 1927 as a speed race, today it sees classic-car lovers from all over the world congregate in the northern Italian town of Brescia for a regularity race to Rome and back, taking them through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. As it celebrates over a century of racing, the Mille Miglia is going from strength to strength – most recently by welcoming a new major sponsor in the form of Deutsche Bank Wealth Management. Ahead of this year’s edition, Anna Wallace-Thompson speaks to Chopard co-president and regular participant Karl-Friedrich Scheufele about Chopard’s three decade-long partnership with the event

It’s a balmy spring day in May, the kind where it’s warm in the sun and cool in the shade. We’re in the north of Italy, and hundreds of thousands of people are milling around in narrow, medieval streets, congregating around classic cars in bright racing colours of red, yellow, blue, silver and dark green. Cars are parked side by side in piazzas, or nose to tail in between buildings, wherever there is space. Suddenly, amongst the all-pervasive rattling and purring of some 400 engines, a sonic boom marks the whirring, whining rush of fighter jets soaring overhead, trailing streams of red, white and green smoke. It’s a heady mix.

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This is the starting day of the Mille Miglia, the world’s most celebrated classic car regularity race. Every year, it starts in Brescia and attracts car lovers and celebrities alike. Participants have included Rowan Atkinson, Jay Leno, Jeremy Irons, the ‘Flying Finn’ and F1 legend Mika Häkkinen, and, back in its earlier days, legends such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. Originally an open-road endurance race looping from Brescia to Rome and back again, it was established by two young counts (as all such events deserve to be), Aymo Maggi and Franco Mazzotti. Together with sports manager Renzo Castagneto and the motoring journalist Giovanni Canestrini, they envisaged the Mille Miglia as Brescia’s answer to the Italian Grand Prix (purloined after just one year from Brescia in 1922 and moved to Monza, which remains its home today).

Vintage photograph of famous racing driver Jacky Ickx waiting at starting line

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Jacky Ickx waiting for the departure of the 1989 Mille Miglia

The original Mille Miglia (literally ‘a thousand miles’) was founded in 1927 and named after the Roman mile (not the American imperial system, as Mussolini suspected, or, at least, so the story goes) and ran in fits and starts until 1957. It was paused after a fatal crash in 1937, and again during the second world war, before a second fatal crash in 1957 saw it permanently closed. This was not, however, before Moss made racing history in 1955 when he not only left Fangio in second place to win the Mille Miglia, but beat the Italian by a staggering 30 minutes, becoming the first British driver in the event’s history to win. The secret to his still unbroken record of 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds (that translates to an average of 98.53 mph) lay in the detailed track notes he and co-driver Denis Jenkinson devised – common practice today, but not so much in the mid 50s.

Read more: Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar discusses Iranian art at artmonte-carlo

Fast forward two decades, and the race was revived in its current form in 1977 as a regularity race around an annually changing route through some of Italy’s most beautiful landscapes. Racers no longer hurtle through the Italian countryside at breakneck speed. The challenge now is no longer on who can reach the finishing line first, but in the maintenance, precision and control of handling vintage cars that took part in the original races.

Close up shot of the steering wheel of a vintage red Ferrari

Mille Miglia 2017 © Alexandra Pauli for Chopard

Another challenge is being allowed to take part. The Mille Miglia is one of the world’s most exclusive races and entry is either by invitation, or through a stringent application process where entry per car (yes, per car) is €7,000 (plus VAT) and dependent on a complex array of certification and documentation.

Participants should also have very good insurance. As any classic car collector will know, the combined total worth of the cars here soars into the hundreds of millions. While some are valued in the (relatively modest) hundreds of thousands, the upper end can be eye-watering. To give an idea, the 2016 Artcurial hammer price for the 1957 Ferrari 315 S that came second place in that year’s Mille Miglia was a cool US$35.7 million. Fangio’s 1956 Ferrari 290 MM, meanwhile, is valued at US$28 million. But this is the price one pays for being a part of history.

Product image of a Chopard watch with black strap

Chopard Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition in Black

“We are dealing with the culture of the automobile, of course, but also the culture of an incredible country,” notes Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, which is celebrating 30 years of partnership with Mille Miglia (manifested through sponsorship as well as an annual special edition watch). “I think the most beautiful landscape is in Tuscany,” he continues. “There are hills you have to go up and down, which is a challenge, and the views are breathtaking. There are times I have to remind myself that I must concentrate on the driving. It is such a privilege to drive through places like Siena, to find yourself crossing the Piazza del Campo – well, it’s like entering a live museum. The Mille Miglia takes you to historic places one might never otherwise visit.”

This is no exaggeration, for the Mille Miglia is indeed like a living, breathing open-air museum. The oldest cars taking part are more than 90 years old – this year’s race included an OM 665 S Superba 2000, a Bugatti T 35 Grand Prix and a Bentley 3 Litre, all from 1925, as well as a quirky torpedo-shaped Amilcar CGSS Siluro Corsa from 1926 (complete with leather strap to hold the bonnet shut).

Read more: Knight Frank’s Chairman Alistair Elliott on research and tech

That leather strap is indicative of the attention to detail the Mille Miglia fosters. The joy participants take is evident not just in the pristine condition of the cars themselves (often referred to as “better than new”), but in the smallest of details – from old-fashioned racing goggles and leather caps down to vintage suitcases placed in luggage racks. However, to label the Mille Miglia quaint would be misleading – these are serious car and racing aficionados and the appreciation for what goes on under the hood is just as important as the beautiful paint jobs that keep the cars gleaming.

Scheufele himself has taken part in the race 28 times in the 30 years that Chopard has been official partner and timekeeper. “What really caught my attention was the immense enthusiasm that the spectators and general public had for this event, and for the participants,” he says. “Back then, of course, the whole event was much smaller – but you could already sense that it was on the way to becoming something much larger and more international.” With this in mind, Scheufele set about convincing his father, Chopard owner Karl Scheufele, of the merits of sponsoring the event. His efforts were successful, and in 1988, Chopard came on board as historical partner and official timekeeper. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Crowds of people gather in a square for the start of Mille Miglia

A line of classic cars passing along a road

Mille Miglia 2017 © Alexandra Pauli for Chopard

To watch the race get underway in Brescia’s Viale Venezia is to experience intense exhilaration. The anticipation in the air is palpable; it creates a rush of adrenalin that is contagious. One could argue any racing event would have a similar effect, but with the Mille Miglia, it is the added sense that one is taking part, somehow, in history, as past and present collide. The parade of cars is a colourful spectacle, of Ford Thunderbirds and other models long since relegated to the annals of history – cars by makers such as Austin-Healey, OM, Lancia, BNC, Riley, Siata and Sunbeam roll on by, alongside grand tourers by the likes of Maserati, Fiat, Renault, Saab, BMW, Alfa Romeo, and Jaguar. There’s even a Triumph TR3.

Scheufele himself has been driving a 1957 silver Porsche 550 Spyder A/1500 RS in recent years, with his regular navigator, none other than ‘Monsieur Le Mans’, the racing great, Belgian Jacky Ickx (this year followed closely in the lineup by German sports car racer Timo Bernhard and Hollywood actor-turned-artist Adrien Brody in a 1955 Porsche 356 1500). “That Porsche Spyder is not just an icon, I love to drive it,” says Scheufele. “It’s light, and nimble, it’s just a delight to drive.”

Racing driver Jacky Ickx with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Jacky Ickx preparing their Mille Miglia race in 1989

And delight is precisely the concept of this race. It has made the Mille Miglia such an enduring and significant event on the international racing calendar. As any classic car aficionado will tell you, the joy is in the handling of a purely mechanical engine, an analogue driving experience with electronics, no power steering, no ABS brakes (in fact, barely any brakes at all in the modern sense of the word), no traction control to help you out if you get a corner wrong, and in the pure physicality of driving in an age of ever-increasing automation. It is also quite something to see these cars out and ‘alive’, and not as static museum exhibits. “The experience here is a tangible one,” says Scheufele. “You can open the hood of these cars and understand what’s going on. In a modern car, often you simply have no idea, everything is managed by electronic equipment. I think the classic car is one of the last areas in which you can actually experience an element of freedom in taking it out on the road.” Imagine the sight of a gorgeous two-tone 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Aprile, a bright green supercharged MG C-Type from 1932 or a 1954 lemon-yellow Lincoln Capri (although the most popular car by far is the mid-1950s Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ Coupé, of Stirling Moss fame).

Read more: A journey to the Kimberley with Geoffrey Kent

Nobody seems to consider that the Mille Miglia could result in damage to some very expensive vintage machinery. “Back when the first enthusiasts came to the Mille Miglia, I don’t think they were really considering their cars as investments,” says Scheufele. “Even today, I personally consider my cars to be firstly objects for my passion, and then on a secondary level I think, OK, they have increased in value, but I would never buy a car for that reason alone, just as I would never buy a painting for that reason – but some people do!”

Looking to the future, however, Scheufele is keen to maintain quality over ambitious expansion plans. “Now, I think the challenge for the Mille Miglia is to maintain this standard, and in one sense, not to grow any further,” muses Scheufele. “There are many logistical challenges to getting this caravan around Italy while offering every participant a reasonable level of quality, and I think that can only be achieved by tightly reviewing the number of participants that take part.”

So, let’s go back to that balmy spring day. As the sun sets and the last of the cars have set off, the heavens open and rain pelts down on the Lombardy landscape. Those of us warm and safe indoors spare a thought for the many open-top cars and the drivers who are currently getting soaked – although for them, it’s all part of the authenticity of the experience. But when the next morning dawns warm and dry, and the sun shines over Italy and the wind is in your hair and your engine is purring, could there be anything more glorious?

The 2019 Mille Miglia runs from 15 – 18 May. For more information visit: 1000miglia.it

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Reading time: 10 min
Tuscany Wine Estate
Salvatore Ferragamo has been an Italian luxury legend ever since its footwear was adopted by Hollywood sirens in the 1920s. Recently, Ferruccio Ferragamo, son of the eponymous founder and currently president of the company, and his own son Salvatore, have ventured into the world of fine wine and hospitality (following in the footsteps of Ferruccio’s younger brother Massimo, who owns the Castiglion del Bosco wine estate and luxury hotel). As part of our Luxury Leaders series, Salvatore Ferragamo speaks to LUX about restoring the medieval Tuscan village of Il Borro, ponders luxury’s demand for authenticity, and reveals his favourite Italian dish.
Ferragamo family restore medieval village Il Borro

Salvatore with his father Ferruccio Ferragamo

LUX: What kind of experience does Il Borro offer guests and what makes it unique compared to other luxury estates?
Salvatore Ferragamo: Il Borro is truly unique because at the heart of the estate lies a medieval hamlet, dating back 1000 years which has been transformed into luxurious suites and villas through careful and respectful restoration. Authenticity is the cornerstone of all past and present activities at Il Borro. This place is one of a kind because of its tradition, at Il Borro, history, art, Tuscan culture and nature offer exclusive experiences and atmosphere that are impossible to find anywhere else.

I refer, for instance, to our Wine & Art Gallery, an artistic description of the history of wine through my father’s collection of prints and artworks from the 15th century to the present day which include works by Mantegna, Goya, Rembrandt, as well as modern artists like Warhol and Picasso. The gallery introduces guests to our cellars, which have been enlarged to enable a higher production of wine, yet still represent a respectful extension of the area beneath the 19th century villa.

At Il Borro we take care of our soil with an old-standing organic method and all our products are both pesticide and preservative free. We harvest the grapes, go horse-riding on the estate, pick olives and cultivate vegetables in a spectacular one-hectare garden. Il Borro is a lively place, where we work the land to reap the fruits that our customers can taste in the Tuscan recipes prepared by our chef, Andrea Campani.

And of course there is a relaxation area, with eco-friendly pools and a spa free of machines, where guests can enjoy a range of treatments carried out by our professional team.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”9″ gal_title=”ferragamo”]

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LUX: What inspired the project of Il Borro Ferragamo wine estate?
Salvatore Ferragamo: It was the history of this place – all we had to do was bring the traditions of this land back to life. Our vineyards are spread over about 50 hectares and we make 4 red wines in total; Il Borro, Polissena, Pian Di Nova and Alessandro dal Borro, our white wine Lamelle is 100% Chardonnay. We also make an exquisite Vin Santo and the jewel in the crown of our wine cellar, Bolle di Borro, a sparkling Sangiovese Rosé made in the classic method.

LUX: How do you compete against more established names and estates in the world of winemaking?
Salvatore Ferragamo: We do this through authenticity and excellence. We could produce three times as much wine, but instead we prefer to offer a product of the highest quality. We don’t exploit our land, we take care of it. Our wines are the result of oenological research, aimed at making premium wines through challenging combinations and effectively looking after the grapes of our territory. On top of all this, we have a unique place: the medieval hamlet where our guests can enjoy an unforgettable experience in an authentic atmosphere, with all the comforts.

Ancient wine cellars of Il Borro

Salvatore Ferragmo pictured in the Il Borro wine cellars

LUX: How has the rise of digital marketing and social media affected the way you approach business?
Salvatore Ferragamo: Digital marketing and social media are the tools of today and they represent a great opportunity for us. Every day we strive to make improvements, using creativity and lots of energy. They offer us the opportunity to communicate in real time and with emotional impact all of Il Borro’s values: hospitality, winemaking, food, health, nature, history, and traditions.

Read next: Frieze founder Matthew Slotover on the future of culture

LUX: Have you always been passionate about wine?
Salvatore Ferragamo: I can’t think of a time when there wasn’t a bottle of wine on my family’s table. Wine is part of Tuscan culinary traditions and being a food lover I cannot imagine dinner, and sometimes even lunch, without a bottle of good wine. Taking care of Il Borro’s winery just came naturally. The best moment of my day is when I start work with a walk through the vineyards.

LUX: Wine and hospitality are relatively new territories for the Ferragamo family. What are some of the challenges you’ve had to face along the way?
Salvatore Ferragamo: Yes, that’s true. But some elements are not new to my family: the Made in Italy mission, craftsmanship, and the Tuscan lifestyle. Il Borro encapsulates all of these elements. The real challenge at Il Borro is respecting the estate, the land and its gifts, through innovations on which we invest considerably, to preserve the authenticity and, at the same time, offer high quality hospitality.

Andrea Campani heads the kitchens at Il Borro

Chef Andrea Campani is renowned for his grilled dishes prepared in a large artisanal oven

LUX: Is your name a passport or a burden?
Salvatore Ferragamo: My name is an honour…except when somebody thinks that I’m “the shoemaker of dreams”, that was my grandfather!

Having said that, I am fortunate to have examples of very successful entrepreneurs within my family, and I can honestly say that it’s a great source of energy and a positive challenge.

Read next: Luxury is making the impossible, possible, says CEO of Heesen Yachts, Arthur Brouwer

LUX: The Relais & Châteaux group, of which Il Borro is a member, is renowned for the best culinary hotels across the globe. What do you think makes food exceptional and what’s your favourite Italian dish?
Salvatore Ferragamo: This is a difficult question, since food, like wine, is a sort of magic. The creativity of a wine-maker or a chef together with high quality ingredients that, in the end, make the difference.

My favourite Italian dish… another difficult question. Probably Tagliatelle with Wild Boar Ragù in winter and Risotto with Tomatoes and Burrata Cheese in summer followed by a barbecue of our Chianina beef.

LUX: How do the other aspects of the Ferragamo family business influence the running of the Estate? Do you see it as a collaborative project?
Salvatore Ferragamo: We prefer to keep the two family businesses separate, however, I would say it is the strong core of business and entrepreneurship which has been inherited from Salvatore Ferragamo (my grandfather) to my father and my father to me, and of course the Ferragamo name, which links the two together.

LUX: Does Tuscany hold any particular relevance for the Ferragamo family?
Salvatore Ferragamo: Tuscany is my land even though my grandfather was from Naples and my mother is English. This is where I grew up, where my family established the brand, and also where a large part of the new Ferragamo generation lives. Tuscany represents Ferragamo’s creative inspiration at all levels, and we are very proud to be recognised as one of the leading Tuscan/Italian brands in the world.

Read next: Driving through the Italian countryside with Jude Law

LUX: How has the world of luxury hospitality evolved in recent years?
Salvatore Ferragamo: I think there is a growing demand for authenticity. Travellers seem to be less interested in serial/signature hotel concepts, and the magnificent but cold buildings without history, without a soul. Travellers want to live and feel the experience alongside luxury and this offers a truly unique opportunity.

Outdoor activities at Il Borro Tuscan estate

Activities at Il Borro include horse riding, cooking classes, trekking, golf, tennis and mountain biking

LUX: What’s next for Il Borro?
Salvatore Ferragamo: We have so many exciting projects in the pipeline, most notably: the launch of a 100% organic wine; the opening of Il Borro Tuscan Bistro in Dubai, the first restaurant in our franchising project, with the aim of eventually taking Il Borro’s Tuscan cuisine and wines around the world; the implementation of the biological production of our honey; and we also plan to provide Il Borro with an olive oil mill to produce our own biological extra virgin oil.

LUX: How do you manage to balance work and pleasure?
Salvatore Ferragamo: I believe I’m lucky, because I love my job. I could never have spent my days behind a desk. Since I love going horse-riding and playing golf, everything is within reach here at Il Borro and I can easily make the most of the little free time I have, doing what I love!

ilborro.it

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