If you’re enjoying a glass of Sensi wine, it’s almost unfair to ignore its illustrious past. Because how they came to be is quite a remarkable story, one that only a fourth-generation owner can appreciate, writes Naina Hiranandani.
It started with the powerful Medici family in the 16th century; an influential and royal house of Florence that first gave birth to the Chianti label. By 1890, Pietro Sensi began producing his wines and selling them to local markets. His sons carried the tradition forward in 1916, distributing wines all over the region. Sadly, the tragedy of World War I was a blow for the Italian economy, but it gave way to a new marketing opportunity. By the 1960s, immigrant Italians in the Americas had built their fortunes. They were also nostalgic for homemade pastas, and more importantly, created a wide demand for Chianti.
By the mid-70s, the Sensi family had enough production to distribute all over the country, and since 1998, has been under the guidance of winemaker and oenologist Lorenzo Landi. As we cut to the present in Mumbai’s Four Seasons Hotel, Massimo Sensi discusses the premium range that will be available in India – the Sensi Collezione label.
Working with Gusto Imports (“They’re not the biggest, but it doesn’t matter. They understand wine,” says Massimo), it helps that Sensi is one of the largest producers of Chianti in the world. In fact, 70% of their production is exported overseas. A basic tasting was conducted to understand the philosophy of their wines.
First up was the Pinot Grigio IGT Veneto. A bright yellow colour with floral and honey notes, it was light on the palate and is said to pair perfectly with seafood and light pasta. The next, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC, a shade of deep garnet-red, had more structure and body, with fruity notes of plum and cherry.
“Its masculine character makes it a suitable companion for game meat and strong cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino,” said Massimo. But it was the Chianti DOCG that had everyone satisfied – a smooth, well-balanced wine – it’s a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo with a minor percentage of Merlot and Cabernet.
“Enjoying good Italian wine is living the Italian way of life. The Prosecco is a trendy sparkling wine, while the Boscoselvo from Brunello Di Montalcino is already well known,” says Massimo.
For now, Sensi is available in Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. In 2012, they plan to introduce more high-end wines like the Sabbiato from Bolgheri, which is known as the Tuscan ‘Bordeaux’, and grown in the same province as the famed Sassicaia. In fact, Massimo is impressed enough with the existing level of wine awareness in the country to introduce the powerful Sagrantino di Montefalco here some day.
With his focus shifted to the Delhi market (where Massimo will also catch up with friend and owner of Le Cirque, Sirio Maccioni), his message is clear: Sensi wines are for every kind of drinker – whether beginner or connoisseur.
Prices start from Rs 1,275. It is recommended to consume these wines within 12 months. For more details, visit www.gustoimports.com