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Drei Dona - Tenuta la Palazza Magnificat 2001
The property has been in the hands of the Drei Dona family since the last century, and although it has always been dedicated to producing Sangiovese grapes, it has undergone a radical transformation under the present owner, Count Claudio Drei Dona.
After acquiring a law degree and working in the insurance industry, Count Drei Dona, together with his son Enrico, has dedicated his efforts solely to the property, decisively guiding its activities towards increasingly high objectives.
Most of the 23 hectares of vineyards are planted with Sangiovese grapes, which were indigenous to the property. These old vines have been studied, selected and propagated to maintain La Palazza’s original clones.
The estate’s first wine, Pruno, is produced from these Sangiovese grapes along with a second wine, Notturno. In addition to Pruno and Notturno, selections of Chardonnay and Riesling (Il Tornese) and of Cabernet Sauvignon (Magnificat) are produced from two small vineyards. The Gran Riserva, Graf Noir, comes from another tiny vineyard of less than one hectare (two acres). It is a blend of three different grapes and is only produced in exceptional years.
The winery's working philosophy is extremely strict: the wines that Drei Dona produces are the result of exacting standards first in the vineyard, and then in the cellar. In this way, the winery starts with the highest quality grapes, and ferments and ages them in modern cellars to produce a wine that is a true expression of the Massa di Vecchiazzano Romagnan terroir. The winery also produces two aged grappas and an extra-virgin olive oil.
Just a note to explain the names of the wines: they all come from the names of the horses that the Drei Dona family also breeds in the farm.
Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture that is virtually inextricable from wine. Wine grapes are grown just about everywhere throughout the country—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The defining geographical feature of the country is the Apennine Mountain range, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south. The island of Sicily nearly grazes the toe of Italy’s boot, while Sardinia lies to the country’s west. Climate varies significantly throughout the country, with temperature being somewhat more dependent on elevation than latitude, though it is safe to generalize that the south is warmer. Much of the highest quality viticulture takes place on gently rolling, picturesque hillsides.
Italy boasts more indigenous varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but their use is declining in popularity, especially as younger growers begun to take interest in rediscovering forgotten local specialties. Sangiovese is the most widely planted variety in the country, reaching its greatest potential in parts of Tuscany. Nebbiolo is the prized grape of Piedmont in the northwest, producing singular, complex and age-worthy wines. Other important varieties include Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course, Pinot Grigio.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.