30 years of Il Blu
IL BLU is “the wine that put Brancaia on the map of the most famous wineries in Tuscany”.
(Monica Larner for Robert Parker)
IL BLU CELEBRATES ITS 30TH BIRTHDAY
In 1988, when the Super Tuscan trend was in full swing, the Swiss couple Bruno and Brigitte Widmer decided to realize their vision of a modern Tuscan top-quality wine with the Brancaia IL BLU.
With the 2018 vintage, this now globally recognized wine is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an outstanding year and in an elegant special edition: this includes a festive label and a noble wooden box with a Corten steel logo that, like the wine, matures over time and becomes even more beautiful.
IL BLU perfectly embodies the unmistakable identity of our winery and our vision of winemaking, which is based on an uncompromising commitment to quality and a great respect for nature.
THE VINTAGE 2018
2018 was a fantastic year that lived up to the big anniversary in every way.
The hot and very dry summer of 2017 was a great challenge for nature as well as for us. The rainy winter fortunately replenished the severely reduced water reserves. Spring brought another great relief with the budding of the vines. Regardless of the previous year’s stress, the plants were bursting with strength. Proof that our striving to put nature at the center of our thoughts and work is absolutely correct. Thanks to year-round natural greening with autochthonous plants, the total renunciation of herbicides and insecticides, the reduction of all preparations to an absolute minimum and an average age of the vines in Chianti Classico of 30 years, it can be explained that the extreme year 2017 hardly left any traces. The flowering and general growth went perfectly. From mid-August, the temperature fluctuations between day and night in Chianti were already very pronounced.
The harvest began on September 8th with the Merlot grapes and was concluded on October 4th with the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Especially the Merlot quality exceeded all our expectations and – as so often – made us dream.
Our conclusion: 2018 is an excellent year!
As mentioned at the beginning, Bruno and Brigitte Widmer decided in 1988 to add a Super Tuscan to the Brancaia portfolio. They immediately took this as an opportunity to rethink the entire appearance of Brancaia. In fact, the first Brancaia Chianti Classico had a pretty mundane label that wasn’t particularly convincing. So the new wine definitely had to get a new look.
However, they lacked all the elements that Tuscan wineries commonly used for a label. The house in Tuscany is beautiful, but certainly not a castle. They also lacked a family coat of arms, as well as a prehistory in the wine world. Bruno Widmer, who always loved challenges, saw this “deficiency” as an opportunity to create something completely new. Together with his art director, he created the blue label with the orange capsule. A design that Brancaia has never changed in the last 30 years. What was almost shocking for many wine lovers at the time has now developed into the unmistakable brand that Brancaia uses for all wines today.
After all these years, the Brancaia brand is still modern, elegant and timeless at the same time. And that’s exactly how we see ourselves as winemakers: classic modernists with the greatest respect for the terroir.
Since its debut in 1988, IL BLU has been the result of our constant pursuit of perfection. With ultra-fine tannins and a smooth and full finish, this full-bodied wine impresses with its complexity and elegance.
IL BLU is only made from the best, hand-picked and selected grapes from our two vineyards in the Chianti region.
Over the past 30 years, the assemblage has changed from an originally majority Sangiovese with a little Merlot to a Merlot-Sangiovese blend with roughly equal proportions and a little Cabernet Sauvignon. Thanks to the increasing complexity of our Merlot grapes, especially from our vineyards in Radda in Chianti with vines aged 30 and over, the proportion of Merlot has increased continuously since 2013. The 2018 vintage is an assemblage of 80% Merlot and 10% Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon each.
Every single vineyard and every variety are matured separately in barriques (two-thirds new) for 18 months. Then all the barrels are tasted individually to define the assemblage, which matures for a further 3 months in uncoated concrete tanks. In this way, the wine becomes more balanced even before the year-long aging in the bottle, the aromas are better integrated and the tannins are also better integrated.
We have always worked to perfect this wine, but at the same time we have taken great care to preserve its identity. The character and style of IL BLU has been shaped by continuity over the years – something that we want to keep for the next 30 years.
The name IL BLU was only added in 2000. The range grew and another red wine, Brancaia TRE, was soon to hit the market. A name was needed to avoid the risk of misunderstanding. Since we didn’t want to write anything on the blue label, which we had already had for over 12 years, we came up with the idea of simply calling the wine IL BLU. We were not only inspired by the color of the label, but also by the blue fruit notes that characterize the IL BLU.
TRADITION MEETS INNOVATION
Our family values traditions and feels strongly connected to Tuscany. At the same time, we are not afraid to break new ground. We have been producing top wines typical of the region without compromise since day one. We are happy about what we have achieved, but we also know that we have to keep developing – standing still means going backwards in the wine business too. With this in mind, we look forward to the next 30 years!