Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The history of Italy’s oldest dessert wine


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Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th it happens that in Europe, and later in the United States, buildings, works of art, household objects, clothing and jewelery are dedicated to flora and fauna. Some architects even become interior designers and stylists, imposing cabinets and arranging furniture in apartments with strict rules, from an aesthetic point of view. Everything must be linear, follow a logical thread. Or a branch, given the source of inspiration. And so countries adopt figures like Giuseppe Sommaruga in Italy, Antoni Guadí in Spain, Otto Wagner in Austria and Henry van de Velde in Belgium to establish what is perhaps the latest style in terms of art, understood in 360 degrees: Art Nouveau or , as it is called in the Bel Paese: Freedom. And we fly to Trani, in Puglia. Unlike the capitals of the aforementioned nations, the city is home to only 55,000 inhabitants, but its historical legacy is printed in textbooks and transmitted in novels and poems. Even with regard to the food and wine sector, the municipality gives away unique fruits of its kind. The farm is partly a witness Franco Di Filippo, born in March 1887. Today reality is led by Francesco, ancestor of the founder. The winemaker is the creator of the label Ecstasy whose protagonist is the Muscat of Trani own call Passito Liberty, a tribute to the play of proportions and lengths of the branches of the vine, so emphasized and represented during the era of New Art, but also to a modus operandi of excellence. Exactly a century earlier, a man of refined taste born in 1860 in Aÿ-en-Champagne, arrived in Paris to translate his genius into most of the precious articles that from that moment all the women of the French capital (and later of the world) wear. Is named René Lalique. Thanks to the right visits, his creations become unique, and today they are visible in museums (especially the one he dedicated to him in Wingen-sur-Moder) or, for the lucky ones, kept in refined private collections. The uniqueness of the jeweler and glazier is comparable to the Moscato di Trani, both for its DOC certification (it happens in 1974, when it is ennobled), and for its history, which affects Mr. Di Filippo, when he decides to produce that.

moscow, russia october 20, 2016 hydrangea petiolaris enamel and diamond brooch on display at sotheby's pre-auction exhibit artyom geodakyantass photo by artyom geodakyan  tass via getty images

Artyom Geodakyan / Getty Images

And the legend goes something like this: “The nectar in question is the noblest and oldest in Puglia. Already in the years around 1000 the Venetians began to commercialize this wine, until signing an agreement on the subject with the Trane Customs. The Count of Trani, Roberto d’Angiò (14th century), took such care of it that he put a limit on exports of quality wine from the ports of the Kingdom of Naples, thus causing discontent among Venetian merchants. In the 16th century, the famous traveler Fra ‘Leandro Alberti, author of a monumental Description from Italy had appreciated its goodness defining it “so excellent that it is a very delicate thing to taste”. And fine are Lalique’s jewelry creations, made mainly with the enamelling technique, very typical of the Nouveau style. The French goldsmith’s favorite subjects are peacocks and dragonflies, cast and then modeled mostly on pins and hair clips. For the neck, instead, it tends to use natural pearls, interrupting its texture with natural elements, including fine vine branches. René creates these wonders in his workshop at 20 rue Thérèse in Paris, designing the furniture and furnishings himself. The grapes of the Passito Liberty Produced by Di Filippo. They are usually ripe for the harvest as early as the first ten days of August, “by our choice,” explains the company, “they are harvested late in the second ten days of October when the grapes dry. Unlike drying in the attic or lying in the sun, the bunches remain exclusively to dry on the plant until an ideal concentration of intense and persistent aromas and fragrances is reached ”.

white grapes

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And what are they? In the first place, the muscat grapes, which are closely followed by the notes of honey and buttery, with a strong presence of notes of yellow fruit jam (apricot, peach, etc …) in addition to the aromas of yellow flowers and strongly fragrant, such as acacia, linden, broom, to pass to dried flowers, with dry rose in particular, until later diffusing to pleasant notes of tropical fruits, from pineapple to mango, to papaya, until opening to an elegant and clean solution Saline citrus notes, spicy aromas of vanilla, star anise, white chocolate, with a light and pleasant almond finish. The intense golden color is that of the sun’s rays, which gently hit the fruits during the year and then flow to the palate of those who taste it, illuminating them with pleasant sensations. The same ones that must be tried by some of René Lalique’s theater divas and film clients, such as Liane de Pougy, Julia Barthet and Sarah Bernhardt. Their love for the designer, whose pieces they wear assiduously, some even created ad hoc, is the same as Franco Di Filippo has for wine. The well done, whose processing respects the times of the season. A gesture that over time rewards you since in addition to Moscato di Trani Passito Liberty, manages to give life to two types of classic method sparkling wine: Ecstasy in harmony and ecstasy in Symphony. Balanced arrangements of bubbles, the background of unique evenings that are of today or of yesteryear. Here it is excellence that speaks and nature that dictates the rules.

Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.

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