Willow Park Wines and Spirits

willow park

Community Blog

Erin Rosar
July 11, 2016 | Wine | Erin Rosar

Famed Super Tuscan Winemaker Michele Satta is Coming to Town

When the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, also known as the Calgary Stampede rides into town for 10 days in early July, visitors from around the globe come to experience first-hand the west at it’s very best. The days of Stampede are filled with great events, rodeos, musical concerts, western dance tents and of course the famous breakfasts where you can find pancakes and sausages being served up for free all over the city every morning for the entire 10 days.

With so much happening in and around the city it can hard for guests and locals alike to choose what to do next. This year Willow Park Wines & Spirits, has a very special visitor coming to town and if you’re a wine enthusiast who loves Italian wines then you won’t want to miss out on this extraordinary food and wine tasting matinee on Saturday June, 16, 2016 at 12pm.

Special guest host and famed Super Tuscan Winemaker Michele Satta, from Bolegheri, Italy, will be leading an intimate and casual tasting with some of Michele’s most beloved and highly regarded wines. Each wine will be expertly paired with flavourful dishes created by Willow Park Wines & Spirits very own Kitchen Manager, Meiko Pennock. This is sure to be a truly magical food and wine experience with the added bonus of being led by the iconic winemaker himself.

The story of Michele’s success is one of great vision, a love of the land and good old-fashioned hard work.  After graduating from the University of Agriculture in Milan he began his internship in the wine industry in 1974. He winery career began with him doing basic tasks which he was happy to as it allowed him to be involved and he used his time to watch and learn from all of those around him.

With what he describes as boundless passion he started his own business when he took over some old vines and a cellar that was home to his first harvest in 1983. His timing could not have been better; in 1984 the area of Bolgheri, which is located on the Tuscan coast, was legally classified within the Italian wine classification system as a DOC, meaning it was now officially an area that was home to quality wines and the global awareness of Bolgheri began to grow. Bolgheri’s, most famous wine, Sassiccaia had put the area on the map in the early 70’s, but now that the zone was officially recognized the opportunities were limitless.

In 1991, Satta purchased land and planted his first vineyard. He also began travelling to other wine regions around the world knowing that only by expanding his own knowledge and embracing international wine cultures and traditions would his own wines become great. Michele was not interested in doing the same as everyone else, instead he was interested in producing wine that was the best that it could be and that meant thinking outside of the box and using some grape varieties that other winemakers in the area weren’t growing or producing wines with.

With his wife Lucia by his side and their six children, 5 daughters and 1 son, they became entrenched in the vision of their winery and as the children grew so did the vineyards and the wines themselves. Each year that passed saw Michele’s knowledge of the land, his vineyards and the style of wine he wanted to create evolve. His work began with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah is legendary with his first vintages being bottled in 1994.  His passion to create wines of individual grape varieties separates him from many of Bolgheri’s wine makers who specialize in blended styles. He has also become known for his vibrant and delicious white wine Gioven Re which is made from 100% Viognier.  A unique offering from this area and Michele demonstrates year after year that his decision to plant this classical French grape on the Tuscan coast was a brilliant one.

Today, Michele continues to be hands-on at his winery and in his vineyards and 2 of his 6 children are actively involved in the family business. They currently have 28 hectares of land and produce 180,000 of wine annually. A size that Michele feels is stable and manageable for them as a family.

Michele is best described as a traditionalist who is also a non-conformist, a true family man who knows the value of hard work and is not afraid to dream big and go after it. His attention to detail and humble nature make his a delight to be around for all of those who have a chance to meet and know him.

No one can describe Michele’s thoughts and his own vision better then himself and we feel this quote from him sums up his passion perfectly. Once you read it we know that you’ll understand why he is one of our favourite Italian winemakers at Willow Park Wines & Spirits and why we think everyone should have a chance to meet him.

Definitely, counter trend, I gained the reputation of being an original wine producer in Bolgheri, and that of an explorer. I was the first to bring Syrah, Teroldego and Viognier to this land and to vinify wines 100% Vermentino and 100% Sangiovese.

What is most important for me, it is to express the uniqueness of this fascinating product that comes from a very specific region, from a specific vineyard and from a man who is connected with them.

"The wine however is the grape that changes, it is always that grape there that becomes another thing,
extraordinarily more suggestive, remarkably better, or in some cases becomes really better and different in time,
inebriates you a little, it opens one heart space.
It is your harvest, everything you worked for and that's left : in my opinion, this implicitly suggested
that great passion-companionship that wine has been in our entire civilization."

Michele Satta

On Saturday July 16th, Willow Park Wines & Spirits is proud to welcome to Michele Satta for a special food and wine tasting matinee.  Michele will be leading the tasting of his wines and explaining the story behind each and the pairing that it has been matched with. You can look forward to a full immersion into the art of Italian food and wine at this signature event. Tickets are $35.00 and can be purchased online or in-store at Willow Park Wines & Spirits main store. To book tickets click here.


Antipasti - paired with Satta Costa di Julia
Baked salmon - paired with Satta  Gioven Re and Rosso
Wild Boar Ragu with Pappardelle - served with Satta Piastraia
Italian Cheese selection - served with Satta Syrah


Costa di giulia Bolgheri Bianco DOC

This wine which was originally produced from 100% Vermentino, underwent a slight change in 1997 with the inclusion of Sauvignon Blanc, which had been planted in 1995. I planted the Sauvignon Blanc with the conviction that the soil here in Bolgheri was capable of producing even greater white wines, richer, fruitier and longer on the palate. Headband or bow method, undergoing a green harvest with all work in the vineyards completed by hand.

Giovin Re Toscana IGT

This wine was born thanks to a sudden intuition tasting, during the harvest, the Viognier grape present in the farm. For the first time I made white grapes fermented in wood using barriques already used cleaned and polished.
With no additions or yeasts or finings the wine is left on the dregs until the beginning of May and then it is bottled without filtering. After twelve months it's on sale and reaches its full expression in the following two years.

Bolgheri Rosso DOC

This wine is the expression of the vineyard I planted in these last years thinking about the project "Bolgheri", that is to improve the characteristics of this terroir for a red wine with great character and pleasure.
All the grapes are cultivated with ancient attentions and care, in a high density vineyard (about 6,000 plants/ha) where I particularly respect the natural balance. During the harvest I select with manual work the grapes perfectly maturated and I make the fermentation without artificial yeasts, remaining on the skins for at least two weeks. After 12 months in barriques the wine is bottled without filtering.

Piastraia Bolgheri Superiore DOC

In '91 I planted my first vineyard with Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah and Merlot, to reaffirm the established expression of the Bordeaux vineyards, the dominant choice in Bolgheri, to win the favor of the new international market and with the will to express the Mediterranean character of the Tuscan coast with the best expression of elegance and complexity of Sangiovese and Syrah. The assiduous care of the vineyard, the manual harvest from the best parcels at the right time of ripeness, the separate vinification of each variety in small oak barrels, the aging in oak barrels for at least 18 months of the best selections and the average age of vineyards that is now over 20 years, give to Piastraia the prestige and the honor to win the mention of Superior.

Syrah Toscana IGT

In 1991 I planted the first vineyard of Syrah. The choice of Syrah stemmed from the will to represent to the maximum the own aromatic complexity of our Mediterranean terroir, as well as to realize a personal identification with some great wines from the Rhone. Knowing that the average age of the vineyards would need to be of at least over 15 years, I patiently awaited their sojourn, in order to bring out to the maximum each and every characteristic of this inexhaustible grape. Grapes are harvested al full maturation, maceration and fermentation take place in big wooden barrels with the cap of the wine pushed down by hand several times per day for about 20 days. Following the pressing, the wine goes in to barriques, 1/4 of first passage, where the wine rests for 12 months.


Commenting has been turned off.