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Wine Of The Month Club - Wines From Paradise

Sep 17, 2008
Located in Emilia Romagna next to the medieval village of Bertinoro, Fattoria Paradiso was known as Castello Ugarte Lovatelli in the 15th century, but some scholars think it dates back to the Roman era. In addition to the main villa and winery, the estate includes 65 hectares of vineyards, guest accommodations, the Locanda Gradisca restaurant, eight conference rooms, and three museums.

The estate was purchased by the Pezzi family in the 19th century and is known as the Salotto Culturale della Romagna (Cultural Salon of Romagna) because it has hosted many famous international artists, actors, writers, politicians, and sports figures who have attended round tables, conferences, concerts, theatrical presentations, and other cultural events.

Mario Pezzi identified and cultivated Barbarossa, Pagadebit, and Cagnina vines that he found on the property, which had become virtually extinct. Many wine of the month club members were excited to discover that highly regarded consulting wine-maker, Carlo Ferrini, is now providing his services to maximize the tremendous potential of the location.

Canalicchio di Sopra

Located at the foot of the Montalcino hill, along the Montalcino-Siena Road in Toscana, the small Pacenti estate is planted with just 15 hectares of the Brunello clone, Sangiovese Grosso. Primo Pacenti and his two brothers purchased the property in the 1960s, and today it is run by his grandchildren Simonetta, Marco, and Francesco.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Pacenti family members were sharecroppers in a basically feudal system and worked for large land-owners in the area, who allocated profits to their peasant workers as they saw fit. In the 1950s, uprisings brought about changes to this arrangement, and in the 1960s, it was finally abolished. At that time, Primo Pacenti and his brothers were able to purchase land and thus remain in the area, whereas many others were forced to migrate to industrial centers to find work.

Today, the Pacenti family employs the most modern vineyard management and wine-making techniques, including temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and oak barrels for required ageing. At this point in its history, Canalicchio di Sopra has a solid reputation for producing predictably high quality Brunello di Montalcino for commercial, retail, and wine of the month club sales.

Toscana

The name Toscana comes from the Latin Tuscia, which the Romans called the area in honor of the Etruscans, who developed an advanced civilization there before the Romans subjugated them. The Etruscans were wine makers and were probably responsible for draping vines over trees, a practice, which still exists.

But the Romans preferred stronger southern wines, and the Etruscan wine trade faded until monks revived viticulture in the region. Wine became a daily beverage in the medieval cities of Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Arezzo, and the Renaissance, which began in Florence, transported the wines of Toscana throughout Europe. In 1716, the Grand Duchy of Toscana created Europe's first official wine zones, and toward the middle of the 18th century, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de'Medici imported 150 varieties to create a total of 211 in the region.

Despite these advances, the French took the lead in fine wine in the 19th century while Tuscans went for quantity instead of quality. The world came to know Toscana principally for its mass-produced Chianti in fiasci, the straw flasks.

DOCG

But Chianti, the dominant force in Tuscan viticulture, diminished production and improved quality in 1984 when it was elevated to DOCG, one of 13 regions in the nation, which the government defines geographically in its system of laws, controlling origins and protecting names of wines of 'particular reputation and worth.' In addition to DOCG, denominazione di origine controllata e garantita, the law specifies another 240 DOC regions, denominazione di origine controllata.

What Chianti has in common with the noble reds of Toscana is the grape variety Sangiovese. Although many clones of Sangiovese exist, the superior ones are some of the world's noblest vines, such as Montalcino's Brunello, Chianti's Sangioveto, and Montepulciano's Prugnolo Gentile.

Among other fine Sangiovese based wines enjoyed by wine of the month club members are Rosso di Montalcino, Vino Nobile, and Carmignano. But the renaissance of Tuscan wines also includes the 'Super Tuscans' such as Sassicaia, which is 100% Cabernet and Antinori's Sangiovese-Cabernet blend, Tignanello. Vernaccia de San Gimignano is the most prestigious white wine in Toscana, and Vin Santo is a highly prized dessert wine popular with numerous wine of the month club members.
About the Author
Kent Campbell is a co-author for Celebrations Wine Club in collaboration with Anna Maria Knapp. Celebrations Wine Club is a wine of the month club known as one of the best American wine clubs for over 18 years.
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