A good wine-maker should know how far to go to bring out the character of a grape varietal to reflect what happened in the vineyard that year. Not all years will yield the same character, indeed that of itself creates the scope for vertical tastings as a narrative of time past.
When Astrid and Juanito welcomed Vincenzo Melia into their story way back in 2002, they understood that here was a man with exceptional grooming. Vincenzo was born in Alcamo to a family of vine growers in the heartland of Trapani, in the north-west of Sicily. In tandem with Bruno Pastana and Diego Planeta he was instrumental in the setting up of the Istituto Siciliano della Vite e del Vino and was entrusted to set up a Cantina Sperimentale for the region, working closely with Giacomo Tachis, recognised at the time as one of the best oenologists in Europe. If anyone can claim he apprenticed in the Tachis School of wine-making, Vincenzo Melia can.
Tachis, Vincenzo’s mentor, masterminded the creation of a new generation of Italian reds. The mere mention of some of the wine projects Tachis was responsible for excites many a palate like few others. With the direct involvement of Tachis, Antinori saw the creation of wines like Tignanello and Solaia whilst, together with the Incisa della Rocchetta family he transformed a wine used simply for family consumption, into a veritable icon until this very day, Sassicaia.
Born in 1933 in Piedmont, Tachis had this distinctive attraction towards wines whose grapes took root on islands, particularly of the Mediterranean. A keen admirer of the Bordeaux oenologist Emile Peynaud, Tachis introduced two key elements which would slowly but surely steer the helm of Italy’s wine identity towards new heights:
With the country’s traditions firmly rooted in the exclusive use of indigenous grape varieties, Giacomo’s belief and endorsement of classics such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc was just as challenging as it was enlightening. Furthermore, his strong tendency towards the use of French oak barriques proved to compliment his affinity towards classic noble varieties seamlessly, rubberstamping his novel ideas and their immeasurable worth. This said, Giacomo Tachis also had full confidence in the traditional use of cement vats for fermenting and aging wine.
As one of Giacomo Tachis’s proud disciples, Vincenzo Melia applied his experience, not only to Ceuso, the winery he set up with his siblings in Segesta, but to his second love, Ta’ Betta.
Through Vincenzo Melia Ta’ Betta wines are Malta’s tribute to the legacy of Giacomo Tachis.
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