«Suave and fragrant». Leonardo’s wine is born again in his Vinci

Leonardo as a winemaker

Storaro’s lights on the winemaker Leonardo. If it were a movie, it could also be called “Wonder Wheel”, like the last one signed by the three-time Oscar winner, directed by Woody Allen. The latest marvel from the Vitruvian circle is the discovery that Leonardo used to produce wine. And that he had developed, three centuries in advance, a scientific method to extract the “divine grapes’ liquor, suave and fragrant”.

The cultural operation

That method now has re-emerged, and it’s used for a line of 28 wines in 300 thousand bottles. Two museums will celebrate Leonardo Da Vinci’s oenological genius. And a documentary by Marco Carosi, embellished by the Storaro family (Vittorio the light wizard, John the producer, and Fabrizio the special effects’ expert ), will tell the story of the Mona Lisa author’s new alcoholic side. “A cultural operation. With its rules, Leonardo wanted to have ideal wines produced in the whole Italy,” says SimonPietro Felice, chief executive officer of Leonardo Da Vinci’s cantina, part of the cooperative group Caviro which has has promoted and supported the project.

The short

The short, with Storaro’s lights on the Last Supper, tells us that Leonardo used to drink wine every day, as evidenced by the expenditure notes that he meticulously wrote by hand. “The wine is good, so the water remains on the table,” he wrote. His family produced it in Vinci. He was for moderation: “Let the wine be tempered, little and often, not far from a meal, nor on an empty stomach”. Leonardo’s critic Alessandro Vezzosi tells: “In July 1504, Leonardo’s father dies and leaves to his children, the farms that yielded at least 128 barrels of wine a year. Uncle Francis gives other vineyards to Leonardo”. Then Ludovico the Moor gave him a vineyard, as a reward for the Last Supper, in downtown Milan, “15 and three quarters perches” in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In Romagna, he’s enchanted by the withering technique, with hung bunches (he draws one of them, the only one). In Malatesta’s library, he finds a fourteenth-century viticulture codex, by which he’s inspired to reinvent wine-making: fertilise with lime, cover the vats, with frequent racking. And when his factor doesn’t follow it, he writes: “The last four jugs didn’t meet my expectations. And I regret it. Fiesole’s vineyards, raised in a better way, should have provided our Italy with the most excellent wine”.

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