Balocchi di Colore – Bibi Graetz.
Recently we had the privilege to attend the world-wide launch of a new collection of wines by Italian winemaking icon Bibi Graetz. Known from his Tuscan stars, Testamatta and Colore, Bibi has started a new project: Balocchi di Colore. For this occasion, we got to taste Balocchi di Colore and Colore 2020, together with Bibi Graetz and Decanter’s Georgie Hindle, who did a great job in interviewing Bibi.
Balocchi means “toys” in Italian, and this is exactly how Bibi sees the three wines that make up this project. They form the foundation of today’s success of Bibi’s winery, and after more than 20 years it was time to give them a stage of their own, in three monocepage wines.
Bibi Graetz an Italian Icon
In two decades since his first vintage release, Bibi Graetz has become one of the brightest lights in Tuscan winemaking. This is primarily thanks to the superb quality of his pure-sangiovese Testamatta and Colore. Graetz draws on old vines, which give his best reds depth and soul. Red grapes are cultivated on the hillsides above Florence and sourced from prime sites in the Chianti Classico region, such as Montefili and Lamole.
Bibi Graetz has recently purchased the historical Villa Aurora in Fiesole. The new winery is dedicated to Testamatta and Colore. Built in 1860, it was a British theatre. In 1884 the estate became a hotel, where some of the most important figures of the European nobility of that time resided: Queen Victoria in 1893, Queen Margherita di Savoia.
Balocchi di Colore, Hommage a Colore
For the first time in the history of Bibi Graetz the original components (Canaiolo, Colorino and Sangiovese) of Bibi’s Colore get their own stage. Colore has evolved over time, and is now a 100% Sangiovese wine, but the original idea behind Bibi’s icon wine can be found in these three varieties, that now come back together in Balocchi di Colore. Here the three varieties see the spotlight turned on them individually. The origin of this collection can be found in two iconic vineyards that where of great importance of the success of Bibi: Vincigliata and Olmo.
Vincigliata is the historical family vineyard of Bibi Graetz where he started making wine in 2000. Here Bibi started to create the two wines which became his flagships: Testamatta and Colore. Where Vincigliata presents the history, the future belongs to Olmo. Bibi Graetz fell in love with the amazing terroir of Olmo in 2020 when he first leased this 11-hectare vineyard and discovered this incredible corner of Tuscany. A vineyard that holds great potential for years to come.
Balocchi di Colore consists of the following three monocépage wines:
- Balocchi di Colore N°1 – is a 100% Sangiovese from the Vincigliata vineyard.
This Sangiovese has always been used as a key component of the Colore blend. Grapes used come from vines that are up to 50 years old. The vineyard possesses clay-loam soils with galestro (rocky, schistous clay soil that is typical for Tuscany’s best vineyards) and lies at an altitude up to 250 meters. The wine is aged is 20-year old barriques for a period of 2 years before it is bottled and released.
The trademark of this wine is its bright acidity and balsamic notes, accompanied by a nose consisting of fine aromas of red fruit and herbs. On the palette you find great structure and acidity, with delicate silky tannins. A beautiful lingering aftertaste completes this Sangiovese.
We award this wine with a 98/100 DWA score.
- Balocchi di Colore N°3 – is a 100% Colorino from the Vincigliata vineyard.
This clearly is the powerhouse of the three. Colorino was the component that gave the strong character to the first vintage of Colore in 2000. Grows aside the Sangiovese in N°1, sharing the same vineyard characteristics and the same aging in the cellar.
Colorino has an intense colour and velvety soft tannins. This is a big wine with structure, power and intensity. Mainly dark fruit, herbs and earthy notes. A strong ending of a wine that stands tall!
We award this wine with a 96/100 DWA score.
- Balocchi di Colore N°8 – is a 100% Canaiolo from the Olmo vineyard.
The terroir of this parcel brings an impressive freshness to both Colore 2020 and this Balocchi di Colore N°8. The reason for this is the high altitude (450 meters) but also the constant cooling winds blowing through the vineyard. This will prove to be of great value in future vintages is the expectation of Bibi. The Canaiolo vines are between 25-50 years old and the wine follows the same ageing process as the other two Balocchi.
This wine has a unique character full of red fruits, acidity and intense hints of red pepper. A more elegant wine, easy to drink, with excellent freshness. Energetic and precise.
We award this wine with a 98/100 DWA score.
Bibi is taking a step back with this new project, but also a step forward. The foundation of his winery and the icons he produces shows bright in this collection of wines, but it also gives you a glimpse into the future. Three iconic wines with incredible character and potential, thank you Bibi for allowing us the pleasure of each individual star. Keep on playing!
We would like to thank POOT Agenturen for the invitation to the launch of Balocchi di Colore. Balocchi di Colore is only released in a collection of three and very limited production. POOT is the proud importer of the wines of Bibi Graetz and his wines are available through associated retailers and restaurants. Images courtesy of Bibi Graetz and Dutch Wine Apprentice.