“There’s a remarkable true story behind this world-conquering red … and you played a star role!
“30 years ago an energetic young Italian winemaker named Valentino Schiotti was sipping a coffee in the sun as tractors hauled grapes every which way at harvest time.
“Caught up in the mayhem, he spotted a husband and wife in a little Fiat, trailer overflowing with grapes. Two things stood out. The woman was crying … and the grapes were tiny, more like raisins.
“Himself the son of a grower, Valentino knew these were from seriously old vines.
“Valentino flagged the Fiat down. They’d been driving around all morning being rejected by the big wineries – hence the tears. Big firms want bulk. Who would waste their time on such a small crop?
“Well, Valentino for one. He knew the poorest growers often have the best grapes … because they can’t afford to rip out the old vines and replace them with more productive ones.
“He promised to take the lot and sign a twenty-year contract to share the profits. “Oh, and tell your friends,” he said.
How Farnese Vini began
“After a morning of rejections, the man thought Valentino must be mad or on the make … and drove off. But perhaps his wife talked sense to him. A couple of laps later and they were back.
“Later they brought their friends too. And Valentino was right … this network of poor growers did have the best fruit!
Tony’s Diary: My first big lesson in how to buy wine
“A few months later I met Valentino and his partners in a tiny office above a chemist. From humble beginnings they were on a mission to show the world how good wines from Abruzzo could be.
“Valentino the fit-as-a-fiddle cyclist son of growers. Camillo the much-loved Bristol restaurateur who retired to his home town and started making wine. Plus Filippo, winemaker at a big local firm who quit to join the quality crusade … and an adventure.
“We helped get them going. Advice, introductions to great winemakers and wine thinkers. And – crucially – an eager bunch of customers who loved the idea of a David against the local Goliaths.
Then came a rush of major acclaim …
‘Wine to buy by the car load’ said fine wine guru Robert Parker.
‘WINE OF THE YEAR’ at London’s biggest show in the early 2000s.
As you’d expect, prices rocketed. £10 … £15, then £20 … now their top red is more like £30. But Valentino is a family man, a warm-hearted Italian who remembers his winery’s first friends … that’s you and me.
So for our 50th anniversary he’s offered something very special indeed. His top wine at HALF the PRICE everyone else will be paying. Under a different label to spare everyone else’s blushes, but make no mistake, this is one hell of a deal.
Tony’s Diary: Selling Wine in the Seventies
Oak-matured, full-flavoured Italian red made from the big five finest grapes in his arsenal. World-beating pedigree with collectors paying top dollar to have it in their cellar.
SENSATIONAL DRINKING … WORTH TWICE THE PRICE!
Just £50 reserves your case of 12 now. When the wine arrives mid-April, a second instalment of £105.88 will be automatically deducted. Which means, for once only (Valentino was clear on that!) it’s yours for just £12.99 a bottle. A warm thank you you’d be mad to miss.
Billowing aromas of black fruits, cherry and plum with a luxurious, chocolatey mouthful that’s both rich and sustained. Calls for slow-cooked lamb, hearty stews or the butcher’s
best sausages. Magnificent!