The world of Italian wine is reeling today from the news that on Sunday night, vandals destroyed six vintages of one of Montalcino’s most famous wines, Soldera.
That’s Gianfranco Soldera, left, in a photo taken in a happier moment (image via DoBianchi.com).
Yesterday we have learned about an act of vandalism that took place at the Azienda Case Basse of Gianfranco Soldera, where, during the night before, unknown individuals had emptied the casks where his Brunello di Montalcino was aging. And we have had the confirmation from Soldera himself after we contacted him by telephone.
As friends and colleague producers of Montalcino, we are sending our solidarity to Gianfranco Soldera and we are saddened by the fact that something like this can happen.
The territory of Montalcino is a small and tranquil territory where many people still leave their doors of their homes unlocked. To find out about these sad events is shocking and it brings forth the spirit of solidarity that distinguishes the producers of Montalcino. They have never hesitated to step forward when there is need. And, again, this time, they will show their spirit of solidarity toward those who have been harshly injured.
Above: Winemaker Fabrizio Bindocci of Tenuta Il Poggione makes all of the Mazzoni wines. He was quoted last week in the New York Times.
On Friday, wine writer Eric Pfanner of the New York Times called Tenuta Il Poggione’s Brunello di Montalcino one of “the best wines I have tasted on a recent trip to Montalcino.”
See also his article, “Keeping Up With Tradition in Tuscany,” in which he speaks with Tenuta Il Poggione winemaker Fabrizio Bindocci.
All of the Mazzoni wines are produced on the Tenuta Il Poggione estate by Fabrizio.
The Live Like an Italian blog is thrilled to announce the arrival of Mazzoni Pinot Grigio, the latest release from the historic partnership between two of the wine world’s greatest families — the Franceschi family in Montalcino and the Terlato family in the U.S.
(Click here to read about the two families’ relationship, now spanning two generations.)
There’s a reason why Pinot Grigio has become a household name in the U.S.: it’s the ideal grape for producing crisp, fresh, and refreshing white wine with balanced alcohol and bright tropical and citrus fruit aromas and flavors.
In Europe, wine lovers have known this for centuries. But in the U.S., it wasn’t until Anthony “Tony” Terlato — the patriarch of the Terlato family — first introduced a Pinot Grigio to American consumers in the late 1970s that the grape variety began to began to explode on the American wine scene.
Tony had traveled to Italy in search of the next great white wine from Europe and it didn’t take long before he realized that Pinot Grigio had all the right stuff to become America’s favorite white wine. (He retells the story in his autobiography, Taste: A Life in Wine.)
Mazzoni’s Pinot Grigio is made from hand-picked Pinot Grigio grapes grown in the high elevations of Montalcino (where Brunello di Montalcino is made). The altitude is essential: cool summer evenings are what helps the winemaker obtain the classic crispness in the wine and achieve the freshness that makes Pinot Grigio such a wonderful wine for pairing with food.
No one knows Pinot Grigio better than the Terlato family. This is just one of the reasons they asked the Franceschi family to help them create this wine: expertise in fine winemaking and some of the best growing sites in Tuscany make this wine one of the most exciting arrivals from Italy in years.
Click here to email a Mazzoni specialist for more information on where to find Mazzoni Pinot Grigio.
You don’t need to understand Italian to appreciate this sumptuous, gorgeous video of the Val d’Orcia where Mazzoni Toscana Rosso is grown and vinified.
What is a Super Tuscan?
The term Super Tuscan is believed to have been coined in the 1980s by English-language wine writers.
At that time, the Italian appellation system lacked proper verbiage to classify the many great Cabernets and Merlots that were produced using French techniques in Tuscany. As a result, some of Italy’s most famous wines were labeled as “vino da tavola” or mere “table wine.”
In order to rectify this travesty, writers begin to call these wines “Super Tuscans,” in other words, Tuscans that went above and beyond the call of duty for table wines.
As for its predecessors, Mazzoni cannot be classified as a DOC or DOCG wine in Italy merely because there exists no appellation for it.
It’s a question of semantics: does a rose by any other name smell the same?
In the case of Mazzoni, the answer is YES!
This blend of Sangiovese and Merlot is made from grapes grown in the town of Montalcino, where one of Tuscany’s most famous wines is made, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.
Appellation regulations require that Brunello be made from 100% Sangiovese. So, when the winemakers at Mazzoni add some noble Merlot grapes to the blend, they are forced NOT to label their wine as Brunello DOCG.
The grapes for Mazzoni are grown in some of the most famous vineyards in the region. Look for notes of ripe fruit and tobacco and cedar flavor.
No matter what you call it, Mazzoni is Italy’s best-dressed Super Tuscan!