SEE ALSO TRENTINO
The story of Bollini began in 1979, when Neil & Maria Empson – who’d pioneered Italy’s quality wine exports a decade earlier – created their own, proprietary label from the Alpine foothills of Friuli and Trentino.
Their purpose was showcasing the excellence and consistency of noble international varieties in the cool northeastern regions, while maintaining price points accessible. In fact, the first Bollini wine was launched as “a Chardonnay for every day”.
Then as now, the Empsons rely on teams of top professionals and two state-of-the-art wineries, one in each appellation. Choice, hillside locations, ideal temperature ranges between night and day, and the complexity and minerality that come from alluvial geo-history, all contribute to achieving concentrated, highly extracted fruit. Once vinified to the severest quality standards, the wines speak for the Empson criteria of excellence in the crisp, pure accents of their superb terroirs.
Not content with orchestrating the winemaking style of the range, Neil and Maria keep a careful eye on artwork and packaging. Here, Maria Gemma Empson has the lion’s share thanks to her background as painter and gallery manager: Bollini labels bear an especially inspired series of vineyard drawings in her own hand. Each has captured a single vine as a living creature, tendrils dramatically outstretched as if to grasp the cool, clean air of these appellations, roots driven into this ancient terrain with a tortured force reminding us of the old Italian saying: la vite deve soffrire – for quality wine, “the vine must suffer”.
In 2010, Franco Bernabei, star winemaker and longtime friend of Neil and Maria, joined the Bollini project, styling the wines together with Neil Empson.
The following year, in celebration of this new era in the brand's history, Maria revisited her signature vineyard designs, maintaining the vineyards themselves while achieving an even cleaner, smarter look for Bollini packaging. In a way, the revision parallels the Empsons' philosophy with regard to their first proprietary brand: keeping abreast with the times while remaining loyal to the timeless heart of the regions' vines and soil.
Bernabei, who closely collaborates with Bollini owners on numerous of their projects, is the natural choice in maintaining consistency while never “resting on one's laurels” or sacrificing the wines' unique accessibility to palate and to... pocketbook.
Neil & Maria Empson
Franco Bernabei & Neil Empson
Regions of Friuli & Trentino
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