Wine Pro Wednesday

Winemaker Edition

Medici Ermete Winery has been owned and operated by five generations of the Medici family since its inception in 1890. As co-owner with his father Alberto, Alessandro Medici joined the family business as fifth-generation winemaker and brand ambassador for the classic wines of Emilia-Romagna that his family winery makes: refreshing, food-friendly, fizzy red Lambrusco. Alessandro’s aim is to both preserve and evolve the historic family property, and his first project at Medici Ermete was the creation of Phermento, a Lambrusco produced in the ancestral or pét-nat method, which embraces ancient techniques and modern winemaking knowledge.

The Medici family’s dedication has been rewarded by the success of its wines worldwide. Today Medici Ermete wines are exported to more than seventy countries around the world. Their message of quality has been resoundingly reinforced by elite accolades such as Gambero Rosso’s coveted “Tre Bicchieri” award and the best in show Champion Trophy, earned at the 2010 International Wine Challenge in London.

1. How or why did you become a winemaker?

I officially joined the company on October 1, 2017. After a year of work experience around the world and university studies, I joined Medici Ermete. Representing the fifth generation of the Medici family, I grew up among vineyards and bottles of wine. My love for our land, Emilia Romagna, and for our wine, Lambrusco, certainly influenced my choice to join the company. Today I am the brand ambassador of the winery and my job is to promote the brand and educate people around the world about Lambrusco—the real Lambrusco.

2. What are the most frustrating and rewarding parts of making wine?

Year after year we have to face increasingly complex weather conditions. Especially in the spring period (late April and May) the conditions of humidity and rain can cause great risks of diseases in our vineyards. These are the most complex and certainly the most difficult months for a Lambrusco producer.

The rewarding aspects are manifold. Seeing our brand as a symbol and a pioneer of our territory is certainly an aspect that encourages and stimulates us. It is also a demonstration of the efforts made by past generations. I also love to talk about our history, our roots, our wines, and our future to the new generations of consumers.

3. What is your most memorable vintage?

I remember the 2014 vintage with great pleasure. Initially much-criticized due to a very cold summer with lots of rains. Instead, we got incredible wines with fantastic acidities. Lambrusco is a sparkling red or rosé wine. Acidity is therefore essential to obtain a great Lambrusco. The Concerto, our flagship wine, in the 2014 vintage was incredible with an extraordinary acidity and at the same time a great balance. A vintage that is still fresh today after seven years.

Alberto Medici and Alessandro Medici, Tasting Lambrusco Wines
Alberto Medici and Alessandro Medici

4. What is an upcoming trend you see in wine?

I am convinced that the new generations of consumers and sommeliers are looking for fresher, refreshing, high acidity, versatile, and gastronomic wines. Lambrusco encompasses all these characteristics. Consumers are also increasingly attentive to the sustainability of products, the story, and the chain behind a wine. Wine producers must become more modern and work on the technology and wholesomeness of wines and at the same time, they must become storytellers of their work.

5. What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?

I was lucky enough to always be surrounded by great professionals and to meet great wine and food producers (large and small). I have been very stimulated by my travels and by university and work experiences.

But of all the people I met, my father certainly gave me the most important advice: “In a wine business we don’t have to run a 100 meter race but a marathon.” When you are young you are very hectic and you want to get results immediately. The world of wine is different and requires much longer and dilated times. It takes time to carry out projects, to produce new wines, to be able to tell about them, and to be able to sell them. Our mission is to tell the world that Lambrusco is a unique wine. This takes time, years and perhaps an entire generation.

Alessandro Medici, tasting wine

Alessandro Medici

Co-Owner of Medici Ermete

Curiosity is the lifeblood for us producers and allows us to grow day by day.

6. What is one tip you have for someone who is interested in winemaking?

To start making wine today, in 2021, a bit of madness is certainly needed. But for someone who wants to start making wine today, I always recommend being curious. Visit wineries, talk to producers, from large cooperatives to small artisan producers, try to get as many productive and commercial ideas as possible. Watch what others are doing and improve it. Curiosity is the lifeblood for us producers and allows us to grow day by day.

7. What do you drink at home?

I have many wines and territories of the heart. In general, I love to drink fresh wines with great acidity. I obviously love Lambrusco (in all versions), Pinot Noir, the new Sangiovese trend between Romagna and Tuscany in which the hints of wood and barrique are not very invasive. My favorite grape is Nebbiolo. I love Nebbiolo when the wine is not dominated by wood. Freshness and drinkability are in fact fundamental in my opinion.

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