Bibi Graetz has released his 20th-anniversary wines with the latest 2019 vintage of Testamatta and Coloré. You have read about Bibi Graetz in our past articles so you know that he is not only one of Italy’s most exciting and dynamic winemakers but is also a talented abstract artist. His new 2019 anniversary releases are exceptional and breathtaking. The wines captivate you and mesmerize you like a beautiful piece of artwork.
The special artistic bottles for the 20th anniversary are sleek and elegant on the outside. Bibi says they are “dressed for a party”. They are dressed up for the anniversary with fireworks to celebrate. For Bibi, the anniversary wines represent a full 20 years of immersion in winemaking. The wines are an expression of his life and his passion for creating the most iconic wines of Italy.
Bibi Graetz – Background
Bibi Graetz has been immersed in the arts his entire life. His father is a renowned sculptor and his mother comes from a family of artists. Bibi also spent time cultivating his artistic talents at the prestigious Academia dell’Arte in Firenze.
The wines are crafted in his family home, Castello di Vincigliata, a hillside castle that has been a part of his family for 60 years. His family has owned vineyards in Tuscany where they made wine that was mostly for family consumption. Wines that they enjoyed over grand harvest gatherings with lavish parties where his family from around the world would gather and celebrate. In the late 1990’s it came time for Bibi to make decisions about the family estate. It was then that he decided to make an artistic transition from the canvas to the cellar.
In 2000 Bibi produced his first wines and has since been known as a trailblazer in the Tuscan wine world. His greatest work of art is the creation of Testamatta and Coloré. A rebel of sorts, Bibi has separated himself from the Chianti Classico DOCG with Testamatta. Today, 20 vintages later, Bibi exudes wine in every aspect of his life, he testifies that his wines are his life – there is no separation between winemaking and his life.
20th Anniversary Wines – Testamatta & Coloré
The 20th-anniversary wines represent an evolution of Bibi Graetz’s wines. In the beginning, he was looking for power and concentration but over the last 10 years, he has been searching for elegance, finesse, and drinkability. “The 2019 vintage delivered that on a silver platter”, adds Bibi. Over the last 10 years, they have worked very hard to make wines that are elegant and complex. Through natural vineyard management practices, they achieved a fantastic 20th-anniversary vintage. With a superb climate in the 2019 vintage, there were more crops and extra grapes. The 2019 vintage delivered complexity, layers, and elegance.
Testamatta 2019 (SRP $95)
Testamatta(“crazy-head,” a reference to Bibi’s radical style) is a work of art that exhibits Bibi’s creative expression, a wine that has elevated Super Tuscans to a whole new level. Testamatta is pure Sangiovese coming from seven different hillside vineyards from the south of Tuscany to the north, encompassing the whole range from Chianti. The goal was to work with old vineyards on rocky soils, to achieve structure and finesse. Testamatta has freshness and minerality coming from the soils and elevation. Bibi achieves elegance with the 2019 vintage. He says, “The 20th anniversary of Testamatta is a real milestone, the peak quality that I was searching for in my Sangiovese since the first vintage in 2000. Testamatta 2019 is perfectly balanced with deep layers which show incredible complexity.”
Coloré 2019 (SRP $450)
Coloré(The Dream) is the most beautiful expression of Bibi Graetz’s artistic creation, coming from rare and old hilltop vineyards from Siena, Lamole, and Vincigliata. The vines range in age from 135 years to 40 years. It is a wine that exhibits the pure excellence of Tuscany.
Made from traditional grapes, the Sangiovese represents the structure and the power of the wine. On the nose, there are seductive notes of cherries, violets and licorice. On the palate, the wine is elegant with nice acidity, velvety tannins, earthy notes and complex elements. There is a great structure in the wine that makes this cellar-worthy for wine collectors. Bibi is especially proud of this vintage saying, “This is the best wine I have ever made”. Due to COVID and travel restrictions, Bibi was able to give special attention to the wine-making and blending process. Coloré 2019 is a special milestone and iconic wine in all regards.
Bibi Graetz’s Inspiration
Very early on, Bibi was inspired by legendary Italian producer Sassicaia. It was his dream to make a wine of Sassicaia’s caliber and that was his inspiration for Testamatta. Then in 2000, he visited En Primeur Bordeaux, and it was an experience to remember. Here Petrus become another one of his dream wines to emulate. Now he says, “After 20 years, we are not Sassicaia. We are not Petrus. We are Bibi Graetz.” It is fantastic to see how Bibi Graetz’s passion, commitment, and dedication have made him an iconic winemaker with a loyal cult following.
One of the first things Bibi determined was that if he wanted to be like Sassicaia, he had to price like them. When first asked how much he wanted to price his wine at, he was lost. He is an artist and did not know anything about the cost of production. So he calculated the cost of 10 packs of cigarettes, which at the time was 25 euros, he knew did not want to charge less than that for his wines. So he randomly picked 34 euros. That year he sold 7000 bottles of Coloré for 34 euros, two euros more than a bottle of Sassicaia. Bibi says it was all by accident, “It was a shock to the market – crazy head, crazy label, crazy price. Everything was out of the box”. That sums up Bibi Graetz – a legendary Italian icon and visionary that works completely out of the box.
**Photos Courtesy of Bibi Graetz**