Anthony Rose: 'The Primum Familiae Vini clearly regard themselves as the elite of the wine world'

 

"We're here because we want to be, not because we have to be," proclaimed Baroness Philippine de Rothschild theatrically. The press corps were also there because we wanted to be as we tucked into lasagne of Dorset crab and venison Wellington at the two-star Michelin restaurant The Square. Accompanied as it was by a mouthwatering array of wines including a 1996 Sassicaia, a 1953 Vega Sicilia and a 1961 Château Mouton Rothschild, it rapidly turned into a Michelin four-star lunch.

Once a year the 11 members of the Primum Familiae Vini (pfv.org) pull out the stops to show just what their name means to them and should mean to us. With a name like that to live up to, the family group formed in 1993 by Miguel Torres and Robert Drouhin clearly regard themselves as the elite of the wine world. One pre-eminent member, (Count) Piero Antinori, explained what family unity meant: "The values we share are passion, respect for our vineyards, patience and the fact that we all consider profit not as a goal but a means to strengthen our companies and to maintain continuity."

But what should the Primum Familiae Vini mean to us apart from a slap-up lunch and soft-spoken marketing? As the guardians of family values and traditions, the leaders of the world's top family companies have an authority that's neither smug nor snobbish. They represent quality and personality in a wine world dominated by commercialism and the need to keep shareholders happy. They have inspired by example, for instance, the formation of Australia's First Families of Wine and a similar New Zealand's Family of Twelve.

As in all families, not all is plain sailing. Family pride was dented when California's Mondavi family had to bow out when the late Robert Mondavi sold out to Constellation after a family squabble. Perhaps that's one reason why the Eurocentric incumbents haven't yet replaced their wayward New World sibling with a family of the obvious calibre of Chile's Chadwick (Viña Errázuriz) or Argentina's Catena.

The Mondavi glitch apart, the continuity was there for all to see on their Big Day Out. Alessia Antinori, Piero's daughter, introduced herself as the 26th generation. Cleverly, the 11 younger wines we tasted before the lunch were introduced by the senior members of the families present, while the younger generation introduced the mature classics with lunch. Over a 1963 Graham's Vintage Port, Paul Symington of Dow's, Graham's and Warre's, said "there isn't a bad wine" and I couldn't disagree. For my tasting notes on the wines shown on the day, see anthonyrosewine.com.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all