Maria Caterina has an innate gift for singing: she possesses an intense and melodious voice, her heart beating for the seven notes. But it is far from her only passion: she also feels a strong love for her land, her wine, and the nature she breathes in from her vineyards and olive groves surrounding the villa and the family estate in the surroundings of Montepulciano. A love for the land inherited from her father Glauco, a man of great vitality and lucidity. But how did the family business of the Dei family come about?
The company is named after the Roman lawyer Gabriele Mastrojanni who, in 1975, bought the estates of San Pio and Loreto and therein planted the first vines. The vineyards are all about 40 years old and, to this day, they are still employed to produce wine. “A poor and virgin land, clean and unpolluted,” or so it was called back in the day. The hills are located between 180 and 440 meters above sea level and the Romea (Francigena), the ancient road used by pilgrims between France and Rome, cuts right through them.
The history of Roberto Voerzio, of his company and his wines is relatively recent, yet it is already rich in satisfaction and in excellent wines that elicit emotion after emotion.
Here’s the backstory. The winery was founded in 1986 in La Morra, a small town in the heart of the Langhe. Roberto has always been known for his exceptional Barolo, but believe me, even the bottles of Barbera leave their mark. Not to mention the Merlot and Dolcetto.
The quirk of the Le Ragnaie winery is that a portion of its Sangiovese vineyards is located 600 meters above sea level, in the highest part of the Montalcino wine area. If you are curious to know why the winery is called The Ragnaie, it is, very simply, because it was named after the area where the heart of the company lies.
Le Ragnaie covers an area of 28 hectares. The land is cultivated with vineyards and olive groves, according to the organic farming model.
“We live in a house in the heart of our vineyards, and for us the transition to organic viticulture was a natural consequence of our hale, healthy lifestyle”.
This is how Antonio Stelzer and Roberta Giuriali, husband and wife, explain their lifestyle choice, natural and spontaneous, which led to the 1990 birth of the Maso Martis farm, in Martignano, at the foot of Mount Calisio, east of Trento (in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, North-East Italy).
Today’s top wine comes from the vineyard of Cerequio hill, 300 meters above sea level, shared by the towns of Barolo and La Morra, in the province of Cuneo (Piedmont region, North-West Italy). This is the historical Langhe area, recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Cerequio is a first class cru vineyard: the Boroli-owned Nebbiolo grapes are grown in the municipality of Barolo.
Among the many excellent Brunellos I have tasted over the years, there’s one that has positively impressed me for its authentic “slow” style and respect for tradition. Its name is Brunello di Montalcino Gorelli 2012 Le Potazzine.
After that glowing introduction, I guess I should regale you with the brief story of a young winery, owned by Giuseppe Gorelli and his wife Gigliola Giannetti, who now run a winemaking business along with their daughters Viola and Sofia, while still being respectful of the Brunello di Montalcino tradition.
From the land known as the birthplace of Nero d’Avola comes Cerasuolo di Vittoria by Planeta.
Planeta is a winery that, over the past 25 years, has dedicated itself to spreading the fame of Sicilian wines worldwide. Production is spread over five different territories of the largest island in the Mediterranean, under the careful oversight of Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta: their forward-thinking, yet at the same time careful activity has allowed them to “churn” extremely high-quality wines out of all their cellars.
The prototype of an exceptional year for the whole Barolo district is the cru Brunate – Le Coste vintage 2005 by Giuseppe Rinaldi.
I had the opportunity to taste it, much to my delight, during the latest “Barolo Brunello” held at Montalcino.
I almost immediately realized that a single glass of this wine encompasses the science and the essence of this land’s own Nebbiolo.
The Giuseppe Rinaldi estate is, in fact, one of the representatives of classic Barolo, belonging to the traditional school and eschewing more modern techniques.
Today I’d like to tell you about an authentic urban vineyard and his best and most prestigious wine: Fiorano Rosso by Tenuta di Fiorano, a farm located inside the Rome municipal area in the natural park of Appia Antica, only a few miles as the crow flies from Ciampino airport. And yet, in spite of its proximity to the hustle and bustle of the capital, this large property of 200 hectares – of which 6 are employed for growing vines – almost seems to reside in a dreamlike world, far from the noise and the chaos.