Why there’ll always be a Ferrari on the F1 podium
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When Swiss racing driver Jo Siffert accidentally sprayed the crowds at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with champagne in 1966, he forged a ritual that became one of the most iconic moments in sport. Today, every Formula 1 win is celebrated with a jeroboam of fizz. Historically it’s almost always been champagne – but this year will see a sparkling wine from the Italian producer Ferrari.
The 119-year-old company has no connection to the car manufacturer despite, like its namesake, having a reputation as best in class – the family-owned company has three times been voted Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships since 2015. Ferrari’s wines are metodo classico – which means they’re made like champagne, rather than like prosecco. Vinified from grapes grown in Trentino, in the limestone foothills of the Dolomites, they have a crispness and tension to them. But they’re also renowned for their ageing potential. “The warm days and cold nights bring a brightness to our chardonnay that is very different to champagne,” says Ferrari president Matteo Lunelli.
To celebrate the F1 deal, Ferrari has created a 100 per cent chardonnay cuvée that will be uncorked for the first time at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza next week – a silver-green wine as crunchy and fresh as a Granny Smith. Each limited-edition bottle will come with a label depicting one of four Grand Prix circuits: Suzuka, Silverstone, Monza or Austin (£38, eataly.com, from 13 September).
The F1 cuvée is an upbeat, smashable sparkler – a wine to enjoy in the moment (or even spray around, if you must). To taste this Trentodoc producer at the top of its game, though, try Ferrari Perlé Rosé Riserva 2015, a long-aged, dusky-pink rosé that marries Alpine zestiness with aromatic pot-pourri, spice and red berry notes as good as any vintage grande marque champagne (for a fraction of the price, at £34, vinissimus.co.uk).
As one of Italy’s largest producers of metodo classico sparkling wines, Ferrari has used its muscle to promote sustainable viticulture – all its own vineyards (making up 20 per cent of its grapes) are certified organic and all its growers abide by eco-friendly protocols. Petrol-guzzling F1 cars might seem a bit out of step with that – but Lunelli’s own choice of car, at least, is green: “I got one of the first Fiat 500 Electrics. That spirit of innovation, the research and passion and knowledge that goes into creating a car like that – I like to think that those are values we share.”