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Selling Italian Wine with People and Place

Whether it’s a holiday such as Valentine’s Day or every day, selling the geography of the wine and the special folks behind it make life easier to share enthusiasm for the bottle. The story of a wine is much more than the name and price. Here are two Italian wines that speak to why people may want to learn more.


The brand may not be familiar but the appellation is: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the first Italian wine region to achieve DOCG protected geographic status more than 50 years ago. I visited the hilltop town for the first time last year and fell in love with the wine and the vistas.

In Montepulciano, I learned about the quality transformation of Lunadoro Winery. Located on a hilltop surrounded by 12 hectares of grapes, the modern winery conveys picture-perfect Tuscan vistas as if it is the only winery in the region. Visitors can drop by or reserve ahead.

Lunadoro’s new quality-obsessed owners, Schenk Italian Wineries, has focused production on three Lunadoro wines: Vino Nobile, Nobile Riserva and Rosso di Montepulciano. The Lunadoro vineyards enjoy favorable wine exposure ensuring slow and complete grape ripening. Maurizio Saettini, the enologist, and Egidio Finazzer, the viticulturist, finished each other’s sentences and seemed to know as much about the others specialty as their own.

At the winery, I enjoyed the Rosso with a wonderful appetizer plate, and I called it well-rounded and “more-ish.” We then had pici, a local Montepulciano thick spaghetti, which paired well with the Vino Nobile. With the wines now available in California, I shared a bottle of Lunadoro Nobile Riserva with friends locally at Sabio on Main restaurant.

Though we had an assortment of tapas, the wine made each taste better.

As she sipped the first glass, my friend wanted to know if I had a second bottle. “This wine is like velvet, smooth and not overly tannic. She went overboard when she said it was one of the best wines she had ever tasted, but I agreed another bottle would have been welcome. Then later she said, “This wine makes every day Valentine’s Day.” Well said. Or a wine to make you want to fly off to Montepulciano.

Bubbles are infectious. Once you see someone drinking a tall flute, you often want some yourself. These days folks associate bubbles with Champagne and more recently prosecco. Some people know cava from Spain. But do they know what Trentodoc means?

Trentodoc is the trademark for Italian sparkling wine made in the Trentino region. Sparkling wine in the metodo classic or Champenois method has been made in the verdant region between Lake Garden and the Italian Alps since 1902. In 2007 Trentodoc regional trademark was created and 45 wineries are now members.

Gruppo Mezzacorona wine company is active in the Trentodoc organization. Their state-of-the-art winery in Mezzacorona is architecturally and oenologically an ode to careful sparkling winemaking of Rotari.

But the story behind the new Rotari Brut and Rosé offerings is winemaker Lucio Matricardi, Ph.D. Matricardi knows the soil of each vineyard farmed for Rotari and other Mezzacorona brands.  

Once you meet him, you will always remember his story: “The vine is the mother, and the grapes, the babies. The vine will try to make the best grape—if we watch over their care.” His knowledge of soil science and plant biology plus his winemaking expertise enable him to create outstanding wines.

The hashtag #LetsRotari symbolizes what bubbles do at the dining table to bring the celebratory mood. In Trentino we enjoyed bubbles at a ristorante on Lake Caldonazzo and Matricardi continued his story of how they handpick grapes and vinify by small batch. One of his favorite wines and mine, is the Rotari Flavio with the addition of pinot noir, which he says rows beautifully in the moderate climate of Trentino DOC.


Matricardi also waxes on about the mothers and babies when it comes to the teroldego grapes shown
in this photo. Here is the winemaker holding a vineyard rock with the Dolomite Mountains behind him.


The name of theteroldego-based proprietary red blend sold in the U.S. by the Mezzacorona group is Cliffhanger, reflecting the steep hillside vineyards where the grapes are grown.


Since listening to Matricardi’s stories about Mother Nature, I’ve enjoyed Rotari with many cuisines including Mexican. And I always share the story of Trentodoc with the table—and often the servers.


Meanwhile, I look forward to broader distribution of Lunadoro so I can share postcard-style views of Montepulciano and talk more about winemaker Maurizio Saettini (left in photo) who knows about crafting sangiovese grapes into Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.





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