The Mondavi -- Frescobaldi partnership was formed in 1995 in part because Robert Mondavi's family wanted to return to their Italian roots. This was the first joint venture in Italy between two internationally distinguished wine producers using their combined resources and winemaking expertise to create Italian wine of superior quality and elegance. Danzante was introduced in 1999 with the 1997 vintage of Danzante Sangiovese and the 1998 vintage of Danzante Pinot Grigio.
The Frescobaldi family name has a long history in Italy, going back 700 years. For centuries, farming and winegrowing have been a tradition in the Frescobaldi family. Marchesi de' Frescobaldi SpA was established in 1980 and is wholly owned by the five Frescobaldi siblings: Dino, Vittorio, Maria, Ferdinando and Leonardo. The company's headquarters are in Florence and its nine estates are scattered throughout the Tuscan countryside.
While picturesque hillsides, endless coastlines and a favorable climate serve to unify the grape-growing culture of this country. The apparent never-ending world of indigenous grape varieties gives Italy an unexampled charm and allure. From the steep inclines of the Alps to the sprawling, warm, coastal plains of the south, red grape varieties thrive throughout.
The kings of Italy, wines like Barolo and Barbaresco (made of Nebbiolo), and Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino (made of Sangiovese), as well as Amarone (mostly Corvina), play center stage for the most lauded, collected and cellar-worthy reds. Less popular but entirely deserving of as much praise are the wines made from Aglianico, Sagrantino and Nerello Mascalese.
For those accustomed to drinking New World reds, the south is the place to start. Grapes like Negroamaro or Primitvo from Puglia and Nero d’Avola from Sicily make soft, ammicable, full-bodied, fruit-dominant wines. Curious palates should be on the lookout for Cannonau, Lagrein, Teroldego, Ruché, Freisa, Cesanese, Schiopettino, Rossese and Gaglioppo to name a few.