2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of one of the world’s greatest geniuses, Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo’s fame as a scientist, artist and sculptor is well known, but he also had a passion for wine.
This passion is being harnessed by Italian winemakers from Leonardo’s home town in Tuscany, Vinci, in the winemaking company called Leonardo da Vinci SpA. Supported by a scientific committee of oenologists and researchers, the company aims to spread the fame of Vinci around the world and harness the power of Leonardo’s contribution to oenology.
Leonardo had a deep attachment to wine. His father, Piero, owned land which included vineyards in Vinci, and Leonardo conducted experiments in farming, including viticulture, on a regular basis. The love of vines stayed with him during his artistic career, his accounts also record regular purchases of wine and he is known to have advocated a “moderate consumption”. When he painted the famous “Last Supper” in Milan in 1499, his payment was a vineyard, some 300 metres from the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, donated by Ludovico Il Moro. His researches into wine can also be traced when he stayed at the court of Cesare Borgia in Romagna; here, he sketched bunches of grapes and drew up a plan for the first barrique to be used in winemaking.
Leonardo was ahead of his time in many ways, and he was also dedicated to the art of making good wine. Through meticulous observation of all the natural processes that lead to the complete ripening of grapes and through the invention of instruments and techniques to make them into wine, Leonardo discovered the way to make good wine.
Leonardo da Vinci Chianti DOCG
Production zone: Hills of Vinci, Cerreto Guidi and nearby villages
Grapes: Sangiovese 85%, Merlot 10%, others 5%
Vinification and maturation: Maceration on the skins takes place during fermentation and lasts approximately 8 days. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature of 28-29°C. Frequent pumping over and delastages are made to ensure an intense and persistent fruit aroma. The wine is stored for 6 months in thermo-conditioned tanks.
Tasting notes: Intense purple-red colour, persistent on the nose, with a perfume of cherries mixed with gentle spicy notes, particularly of black pepper. A well-structured wine with a long finish.[/breakout]
The most important evidence we have of Leonardo’s interest in winemaking is the letter sent to his farm manager in Fiesole in 1515, which has pertinent observations about winemaking, which were not understood by his contemporaries, but have proven worth in modern times. He talked about optimising the quality of the grapes, fertilising the vines with basic substances and vinification in closed barrels. Leonardo told his farm manager: “Following my teaching, you will drink excellent wines.”
This is a side of Leonardo that has not been examined closely until recent times. Now the Leonardo da Vinci SpA company aims to research and re-evaluate Leonardo’s scientific work on winemaking, to make a modern and updated version of his approach, which has been named the Metodo Leonardo®. This is a living method, in continuous evolution, approach derived from practical knowledge and observation, with the aim of improving the quality of its wines.
One of the most important links that has been restored with Leonardo himself by the Leonardo da Vinci company is the creation of the Villa da Vinci range of wines, which are made from grapes grown on the estate that historically belonged to Leonardo’s family, just outside the town of Vinci itself. The names of Villa da Vinci wines are the historic, original and ancient names of the lands once owned by Leonardo’s family.
Villa da Vinci wines
S.to Ippolito IGT Toscana 2016
Made from a selection of the best Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah from the estate. The highest expression of the best red grapes of the Vinci area. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in mainly new oak for 12-18 months.
Tasting notes: majestic fruity palate of pure blackberry jam, and the balsamic and menthol aromas of vanilla and bright spices.
Streda IGT Toscana 2017
Made from a selection of the best Vermentino grapes grown in our vineyards, showing how this grape reaches one of its best varietal expressions in the territory of Vinci. Fermented in stainless steel for maximum aromatic quality.
Tasting notes: crystal-clear scent of peaches and flowers infusing the unique aroma with softness and clarity.