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Lodovico Antinori and Tenuta del Nicchio, the new project with his daughter Sophia Antinori

The “return” to Bolgheri and the confirmation in Bibbona of one of the names that have most marked the history of Italian wine

He is one of the personalities who have most affected the success of Italian wine in the world, founder in the early 1980s of the iconic Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, where Ornellaia and Masseto, among the most established Italian wines, were born, desired and internationally quoted of which he was the inventor, in Bolgheri, a myth-territory of enology of which he is among the “noble fathers”, and creator also of the Tenuta di Biserno in Bibbona, a “pearl” of Italian wine and the “cradle” of such emblazoned labels as Biserno and Lodovico. It is Lodovico Antinori who, now, with his gaze always turned to the future and focusing on the new generations, combining matured wisdom and fresh perspectives to continue to achieve excellence in the production of great wines, sets off with the new and last project of his life, as he told WineNews, together with his daughter Sophia: Tenuta del Nicchio, which they own, still in Bibbona but with vineyards also in Bolgheri, and which represents the fruit of the passion transmitted from father to daughter, and which writes another important chapter in the history of a family that has been among the architects of the “Renaissance” of Italian wine.
A project that marks, therefore, the “return” also to Bolgheri, of one of the personalities who most marked the destiny of one of the most important territories of world enology, such as Lodovico Antinori, together with the many authoritative interpreters who, at the turn of the seventies and eighties of the twentieth century, transformed a dream into reality, and that today continues to feed. The backdrop, after all, could only be this, because these are the family places, the most cherished, where the Tenuta del Nicchio has 12 hectares of vineyards, from Bolgherese to the woods, with 2 hectares planted with vines in Castagneto Carducci and as many in the shadow of the Donoratico Tower, and others still leased by Count Gaddo Della Gherardesca, entrepreneur, manager and producer descendant of the family of Count Ugolino, protagonist of “Canto 33” of Dante’s Inferno in the “Divine Comedy” and who lived in the ancient Tower. A family, which represents the trait d’union of the great names of Bolgheri along the Viale dei Cipressi planted in the nineteenth century precisely by Della Gherardesca, the “lords” of Maremma, and made forever famous by the poet Giosuè Carducci, thanks to Countess Clarice Della Gherardesca, bride, with a dowry of Tenuta San Guido, of Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, father of Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta and the legendary Sassicaia, and to his sister Carlotta, wife, with the Tenuta Guado al Tasso as dowry, of Marquis Niccolò Antinori, mother and father of Lodovico and Piero Antinori, but also between these and the other descendants of the Della Gherardesca family, the Counts Zileri dal Verme.
And it is here that the accomplished synthesis of power and elegance is already born in a single, emblazoned wine, Lodovico - a blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot, produced in 10,000 bottles from the Lodovico Vineyard in Bellaria, in the most vocated area on the border between Bolgheri and Bibbona, where the Biserno Estate is located, representing with the Lodovico wine a true “legacy” in the bottle - and where Il Nicchio, the company’s first wine (Cabernet Franc and Merlot, for a production that will reach 30,000 bottles) and Le Due Ville del Nicchio, the “second vin”, will be born, bearing on the label the unmistakable signature “M. L. A.” (Marchese Lodovico Antinori). And which can only be destined to be as great as the love between father and daughter, with a very small production, starting with the first 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 vintages produced in 2,000 bottles, already allocated exclusively to important wine merchants in the U.S., such as, among others, Zachys and Wally’s.
In the “dream team” with winemaker Helena Lindberg, the super-consultant, ça va sans dire, is once again Michel Rolland, the most influential winemaker of our time, a master of Bordeaux blending who brought Bordeaux wines to prominence and influenced the way of making wine everywhere, thanks to his signature and advice in such wine-myths as Masseto and Ornellaia, Biserno and Lodovico, in the wake of one of the most important professional partnerships, which began at the end of the 1980s, and the long friendship with Lodovico Antinori, and which, in the comparison and collaboration between generations that will work side by side in the new project, will continue with Julien Viaud, representative precisely of the new generation of winemakers who have formed in Rolland’s footsteps, and with Sophia Antinori. With a new production philosophy compared to the “strong” wines of the 1990s, to produce wines that are “lighter”, less alcoholic and more up-to-date, in line with the evolution of contemporary tastes, always aiming at excellence, thanks to the different location and exposure of the “satellite” vineyards that will allow the Bordeaux vines to find their terroir of choice in these areas, and express character and personality.
Going back, finally, to the return of Lodovico Antinori, among the most eclectic and brilliant figures in Italian wine for his maniacal attention to details and particulars, to his Alta Maremma where it all began, and which, for WineNews, is among the richest territories for stories to be told of the passion for wine transmitted from father to son, in a circle that comes full circle, is a bit like making sense of wine as a metaphor and companion to man’s life, which, in the passage of time, must take it in hand cultivating passions and feelings to the fullest so that it is worth living.

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