Tuscany was and continues to be one of the most respected and best- known wine producing regions of Italy. Whenever Tuscany is mentioned, the name Marchesi di Frescobaldi springs to mind simply because the family has been instrumental in shaping politics and vitiviniculture in the region.
Frescobaldi’s are one the most prominent families since the 13th century, and among the largest landholders in a wide range of agricultural activities. They own 4200 hectares (10.370 acres) of which 750 hectares are under vines. Considering the scarcity of agricultural land in Italy, particularly in Tuscany, these holdings are huge.
Frescobaldi holdings can be conveniently divided into three categories: south and west of Florence; to the east of Florence (Rufina and Nippozano Estates); and Castel Giocondo in Montalcino. The holdings south and west of Florence produce light red and white wines. Nippozano in Rufina is known for its fine Chianti and Pomino for its white and red premium estate wines.
Castel Giocondo, a recent acquisition (1989) is located in Montalcino and measures 210 hectares, of which 150 hectares qualify for the world famous Brunello di Montalcino appellation. Potentially this holding can make Frescobaldi the largest Brunello producer. Although Nippozano and Pomino are the most famous of all Frescobaldi holdings contributing largely to the world wide fame of the company, both were acquired through marriage with the Albizi family. Vittorio, the last ascendant of Albizi, was born in France and knew enough about viticulture to insist that chardonnay, pinot blanc, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon be cultivated, since he realized that some of the hilltop properties of both estates were to high for sangiovese to ripen well.
Frescobaldis recognized the benefits of aging white and red wines in small French barrels and were the first to successfully market them.
The Frescobaldi family have entered into a co-production and joint venture agreement with the Mondavi family in California. Lamberto Frescobaldi, winemaker of the company, and Tim Mondavi shared their extensive knowledge in viticulture to vint Luce and Lucente, two ultra-premium red Tuscan wines. Both are excellent and captured the imagination of serious wine enthusiasts. Luce’s fruit comes from a hilltop slope, with rocky, dry, limestone and slate soil, at an altitude of 400 metres. This vineyard enjoys particularly beneficial climatic conditions with warm days and cool breezy summer nights, allowing sangiovese to ripen perfectly. Merlot grown nearby contributes to the blend. Luce, a full-bodied, elegant wine with special aromatic nuances is blended from sangiovese, arguably the best red grape variety of Italy, and merlot. Although the fruit originates from Castel Giocondo estate in Montalcino the wine is marketed as a brand not associated with the appellation or as a varietal. Luce enjoys a well- deserved and excellent reputation among wine enthusiasts and restaurateurs who care about their wine lists. The agreement was cancelled when a large conglomerate acquired R. Mondavi wine organization.
Lucente emanated from the Luce project. It uses sangiovese from Castel Giocondo and Castello Nippozano in Rufina, Chianti as well as merlot from Castiglione estate also in Chinati. Lucente , although an unfiltered wine, tends to be lighter than Luce but no less appealing, with its harmony, complexity, and smoothness. 1997 was a fine vintage albeit it resulted in a small crop.
The commercially astute Frescobaldi family realized in the latter half of the 1990’s that sangiovese will become a very sought after grape and ultimately expensive less valuable but suitable properties were sought in neighbouring Marche, east of Tuscany.
In this peaceful region between Ascoli Piceno and San Benedetto (Marche) a 150 hectare property was acquired to grow premium sangiovese to yield Danzante, a blend of 90 per cent sangiovese and 10 per cent merlot. Danzante offers dried cherry and plum aromas, is medium bodied, and possesses vibrant flavours, with silky smooth persistent finish. This popularly priced wine should become the mainstay of all restaurant lists and could be positioned as a premium red house wine in all types of restaurants.
Luce, Lucente, and Danzante are all I.G.T. (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wines in an attempt to create new and exciting interpretations of fine wines.
Pomino Bianco from the estate of the same name is an excellent white created by blending chardonnay and pinot blanc. The fruit comes from 25-year-old vines responsible for concentrated flavours. Vinted according to the latest technological advances, Pomino bianco offers clean, and attractive fruit aromas with a touch of vanilla as a result of barrel aging. It has and intense flavour, and long, pleasant aftertaste.
Castello Nippozano in the heart of Tuscany is justly famous for its Chianti Classico DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controlata e Garantita), which has been marketed for a long time as the ambassador of Frescobaldi wines. It is consistently well made, with appealing brick red colour, cherry aromas, intense fruit on the palate, with multidimensional tastes finishing harmoniously.
Those who like the experience fine wines worth their cost are well advised to try some of the brands of Frescobaldi, which are well represented throughout Canada.