He swirls the glass of his first wine, deeply red, and plunges into the memories of a former country boy. Perhaps he is reflected in the rustic blend Sangiovese with Cabernets and Merlot with cosmopolitan elegance. Brunello Cucinelli has in the name the destiny of a wine producer. Which has now been achieved, with the construction of a new cellar and the entry into the scene of the Solomeo Castle. Tasty and savory, soft like the gray cashmere double-breasted one he wears while drinking satisfied. He called Riccardo Cotarella in Solomeo, village where he lives like a medieval prince, among workshops, offices, olive and fruit trees, wheat fields and a 5-hectare vineyard. Cotarella the world president of oenologists, the professional who also signs the bottles of Sting, Massimo D’Alema, Bruno Vespa, and many others.
Riccardo lived near us – says Cucinelli – I explained to him that at home I drink very little, with my wife I only uncorked Guado al Tasso, the Bolgheri Doc of Antinori. Can you do it like that ?, I asked him. He replied to be calm, because Umbria would have amazed me once again. Cucinelli trusted. I remembered my uncle’s wines, perhaps the worst he has ever drunk – he says -. So much so that at a family dinner I exchanged bottles without telling anyone. This is another story: finally our red honors our land.
Why become a wine producer? Cucinelli responds by quoting Diocletian: At a certain time it is better to cultivate the fields than to become an emperor. He is 69 and dreams of a boy. I didn’t give birth to it for profit. But to restore beauty and value. In the cellar there is a large sculpture of Bacchus. The new wine tells and amplifies Cucinelli’s idea of the world, a new humanism that blends spirituality and welfare, visions of the future and budgets. In the territory we must take care of the original products, reconstructing the relationship between man and creation, aiming for harmony, Cucinelli explains, inserting quotes from St. Augustine, Marcus Aurelius, Homer and Socrates (phrases of the last three appear on the tissue paper that wraps the bottles) and telling, at the same time, a dinner with two Buddhist monks and the magnificence of the dishes of the Cerea brothers (the chefs of the dinner dedicated to the Solomeo Castle).
The vineyard was planted in 2011. Small and designed in waves, like a Renaissance garden. For a single label, which is refined in new woods. The first vintage of red is 2018. Wine and oil are my way of finding a new union with my land, he says. I spent the first part of my life in the countryside, we were farmers, we didn’t have electric light. Everything I am doing now, like this wine, comes from pullovers, and it would not have been possible without being listed on the stock exchange. Now it’s time to regenerate, repair, reuse. Even the countryside.
For the debut of wine in Milan, he chose the nineteenth-century Institute of the Blind, because in places where there has been suffering the spirit rises. It brought together the master who revealed the secrets of oil, the money men who followed the stock market listing, the galaxy of fashion and new friends from the world of wineries. This bottle is already a symbol, even a sentimental one – comments Cotarella – will demonstrate to the world that Umbria has a great wine vocation. A pioneer like Cucinelli was needed to enhance the richness of this territory. The Solomeo Castle is 5 years old, but very young, it will last for a long time to come.
A few days after entering the wine world, today Cucinelli will be on the stage of the Astrusi theater in Montalcino, awarded as character of the year, in the 31st edition of Benvenuto Brunello. He designed a tile that will remain forever on the city walls. He dedicated it to famous wine, where I recognize myself by name, which approaches the wisdom of Dionysus.
November 11, 2022 (change November 11, 2022 | 21:16)
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