Tuscan wine tours

by Samuele Sodini

Montecarlo

Montecarlo  wines
One of the oldest wines in Tuscany comes from the Lucchesia: Montecarlo. Almost certainly wines were already being grown in this area in Etruscan and Roman times: according to the experts, the ancient name of Montecarlo, Vivinaja, comes from “via vinaria”, the road that joined the via Cassia to the via Romea and passed through the village.
Subsequently, a document of 846 talks about the income from perpetual leases in kind, which also included “pure wine, grapes pressed three times according to the rules, and then decanted. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Montecarlo wine was very well known throughout Tuscany, and the people who got¬† tipsy on it included the doge, Giovanni dell’Agnello, who governed Pisa and Lucca from 1364 to 1368.

The Prato merchant, Francesco Datini ( who invented the bill of exchange), wrote to his Lucchese correspondent: ” If you could have a perfect and good white wine {…} and you knew that Monte Chiaro is the one from Lucha, you would only want that”.
When Pope Gregory XII went to Montecarlo in 1408 he, too, was able to taste and enjoy the wine “of the land of the Cerrugli”; even those eternal rivals, the Lucchese noblemen, Paolo Guinigi and Pietro Cenami, were in perfect agreement about one thing at least Montecarlo wine.
Its consumption in the Florentine area grew when, in 1437, the domination of Florence began to spread to this land. In 1567 for example, the rural community offered “Trebbiano” to Duke Cosimo I of the Medici, and it was consumed also by his son, Francesco I.
In 1930 it was on the table of Umberto I of savoy in the Quirinale Palace.

In 1969, Montecarlo white obtained the official Denomination¬† “Origine Controllata” recognition, and in 1985 the red wine also awarded the D.O.C. recognition.
At the end of 19th century an enthusiastic Lucchese winemaker, Giulio Magnani, brought some wines from France to improve the Tuscan Trebbiano: these innovations led to a new Montecarlo made in “french style”; other producers followed hhis lead and also used this type of grape and method of making the wine. The area of production includes the municipality of Montecarlo and part of the municipalities of Porcari, Altopascio and Capannori.

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