Fausto Maculan, 40 harvests for a great wine maker

Presenting XL, the wine celebrating the important anniversary. «It’s now time to pass the helm to my daughters»

Fausto Maculan, in the middle with a bottle of XL

Fausto Maculan, in the middle with a bottle of XL Quarantesima vendemmia, with daughters Angela (on the left) and Maria Vittoria (on the right)

The history of the Maculan family could be told in 40 harvests. Forty harvests which, in the words of Fausto Maculan, start with some disappointments but then some more or less important episodes arrived that made this winery from Breganze become a point of reference in Italian oenology.

Fausto Maculan first started his fantastic adventure in 1973, when he returned to the family business with the intention of making high quality wine. The first vintage was the following year, 1974, but the outcome was not what he expected. «I made the first wine by mixing some of the grapes I had in the vineyards. But I couldn’t sell it. I thought it was because of the label. Or because I didn’t have a brochure, or made little advertising. Nothing, I couldn’t sell it. So I started to travel, and understand where I could find high quality».

Bottles of XL, Fratta and Torcolato tasted during the event in Milan

Bottles of XLFratta and Torcolato tasted during the event in Milan

Travelling, discovering, learning: following this credo Fausto Maculan travelled around the world, starting from the French masters, so as to understand the direction he should take with his winery. «There’s no wine region around the world where I haven’t been» he says with a smile. «Following what was happening in France, with Beaujolais Nouveau, in 1976 together with GajaNegriZanella from Ca' del Bosco and Antinori we started the beautiful adventure of Novello. The first results arrived but still, I wasn’t happy. There was always a wine that was better than mine. And I had to understand why».

His forty years of work, that is to say his forty harvests, are therefore full of anecdotes, memories, meetings that made him understand he had taken the right direction, or that changed his overall vision. From France to California, to the boat of Prince Rainier of Monaco, with 120 bottles given in exchange of an official invitation on the day of the yacht’s launch. «I spent these 40 harvests – says Fausto Maculan – partly without fully understanding what to do, at first. Then I started to work well. I’ve now understood I must stop and pass on the baton».

The marvellous colours of Fausto Maculan’s wines

The marvellous colours of Fausto Maculan’s wines

Indeed, the fortieth vintage, celebrated with XL Quarantesima Vendemmia Fausto Maculan 2013, marks the passing of the helm from father to daughters Angela and Maria Vittoria. «In 2005 – says Angela Maculan – I participated in a sommelier training course. People would ask: “What is it like, being the daughter of Fausto Maculan?”. I just said: “It’s my dad!”. From that moment on, something changed in me, I realised there was plenty of people who knew him. But most of all I realised he had written the history of modern wine. This is why we decided to celebrate with this bottle». «It’s a 100% Cabernet from 2013  - says Maria Vittoria Maculan – vinified in steel, then refined for 18 months in new barriques and then one year in the bottle. We only made 300 magnum numbered bottles». This wine resembles the personality of Fausto Maculan: it’s first of all good, but it’s also rich, full-bodied, warm; it can be drank immediately but it will also give satisfaction after some time.

A bottle of XL Quarantesima Vendemmia 2013: it’s 100% Cabernet. They made 300 numbered bottles

A bottle of XL Quarantesima Vendemmia 2013: it’s 100% Cabernet. They made 300 numbered bottles

A first en primeur tasting took place at the Mandarin Hotel in Milan, followed by a dinner at restaurant Seta, with chef Antonio Guida. During the evening, on top of the chance to taste all the wines produced by Maculan, there were also two vertical tastings: first of Fratta, a precious blend of Cabernet and Merlot (2015 en primeur, 2005, 1998 and 1985), and then of Torcolato, the famous sweet wine made with 100% Vespaiola grapes (2000, 1995, 1983 and 1978). Both showed surprising longevity: Fratta 1998, for instance, had an incredible acidity and an excellent depth of aromas. As for Torcolato, an emblem of the winery, while 1978 surprises because of its “youth”, 1983 has unique complexity and balsamic notes. A nice way of celebrating 40 harvests.

In cantina

Stories of men, women and bottles that enrich the galaxy of wine, in Italy and in the world

Raffaele Foglia


Raffaele Foglia

A journalist for La Provincia di Como, sommelier and craft beer lover. He believes every glass of wine has a story worth telling. He's part of the wine editorial staff at Identità Golose

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