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When Swiss racing driver Jo Siffert accidentally doused the 24 Hours of Le Mans crowd with champagne in 1966, he forged a ritual that became one of the sport’s most iconic moments. Today, every victory in Formula 1 is celebrated with a sparkling Jeroboam. Historically, it’s almost always champagne – but this year will see a sparkling wine from the Italian producer. Ferrari.
The 119-year-old company has no connection with the automaker despite, like its namesake, a reputation for being the best in its class – the family business has been voted Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year three times with Champagne & Sparkling Wine. World Championships since 2015. Ferrari wines are classic method – which means they’re made like champagne, rather than prosecco. Vinified from grapes grown in Trentino, in the limestone foothills of the Dolomites, they have crunch and tension. But they are also renowned for their aging potential. “Hot days and cold nights give our Chardonnay a very different luminosity from champagne,” says Matteo Lunelli, President of Ferrari.
To celebrate the F1 deal, Ferrari have created a 100% chardonnay cuvée that will be debouched for the first time at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza next week – a silvery green wine as crisp and fresh as a Granny Smith. Each limited edition bottle will come with a label representing one of the four Grand Prix circuits: Suzuka, Silverstone, Monza or Austin (£ 38, Eataly.com, from September 13).
The F1 cuvée is a sparkling and spirited sparkling wine – a wine to be savored in the moment (or even to be vaporized, if necessary). To taste this producer of Trentodoc at the height of his art, try the Ferrari Perlé Rosé Riserva 2015, a rosé for long aging, a dark pink that combines the zest of the Alps with aromatic notes of potpourri, spices and of red fruits as good as any vintage. great brand champagne (for a fraction of the price, at £ 34, vinissimus.fr).
As one of the largest Italian producers of classic method sparkling wines, Ferrari has used its muscles to promote sustainable viticulture – all of its own vineyards (constituting 20 percent of its grapes) are certified organic and all of its producers follow environmentally friendly protocols. Fuel-guzzling F1 cars might seem a bit out of step with that – but Lunelli’s car choice, at least, is green: “I had one of the first Fiat 500 Electrics. This spirit of innovation, research, passion and knowledge necessary to create such a car – I like to think that these are values that we share.