From the 29th generation of the famous Tuscan wine-making family, Leonardo Frescobaldi served as Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi’s president from 2007 to 2013. These days, Leonardo’s capacity as honorary president still takes him across the globe, promoting the house of Frescobaldi. W&D caught up with him for brunch at Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare.
One of the most important changes within the Frescobaldi family business is making way for younger generations to enter the operations. My most important task now is to transmit the knowledge and passion for the business to the next generation. The people in charge of our different estates and our winemakers are all quite young and they bring a good enthusiasm and energy to the company. My nephew Lamberto was elected as president in 2013 at the age of 50. In Europe, that is considered quite young.
We have a total of six different estates which we treat as individual entities. Each estate has its own team responsible for viticulture and oenology and each team wants to be the best. That kind of motivation is important. By having different teams working on each estate, we make sure that difference is protected.
We offer vineyard visits as well as accommodation for people to stay the night at our different properties. When a visitor stays over, he gets the sun in the morning—the same sun that our grapes get. This immersion is important. They have to be there, to feel and smell the soil and experience the surrounding nature and climate. Our wine is the result of all those sensations, and if you can experience that too, it is extremely useful as it reinforces memories. Appreciating wine is not just about its colour and taste, it is about memory.
In the 1970s, Sangiovese was cultivated throughout Tuscany, regardless of soil and micro-climate, so you’d find it in good and bad places. Sangiovese is a difficult grape and it needs to be cultivated in the right place. That was our motivation to produce the single vineyard wines Montesodi in 1974 and Mormoreto in 1983. The message that we wanted to convey by having single vineyard wines was that the quality of a great wine is the combination of the right choice of grape for the soil. We have to know the soil and what is the best grape for that particular terroir.
Cover: Leonardo Frescobaldi
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s February 2017 issue, Love Food ‘Winemaker’