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Region: Tuscany

Montecarlo DOC

The name makes it sound like we’ve arrived in a relative to the mundane, southern France, rich man’s paradise of Monte Carlo in Monaco, but we’re far from there. This Montecarlo is located in the Lucca province of Tuscany at the bottom of an old fort situated on a ridge dividing the Nievole valley from the plains at Lucca.

Originally this area was a military entrenchment in the residents’ eternal fight to keep encroaching enemies out. Yet even though the city of Montecarlo was founded for military reasons, it’s still an oasis of calm, lying with its great expanse of vineyards and olive groves stretching as far as the eye can see.

The wine cultivation originally stems from the ancient Roman period, and its quality is cited in documents dating centuries before that time. The wine industry was already blossoming prior to this period, and Montecarlo’s wines were the most expensive in the region at that time.

As so often before, we can read statements from church officials, who never missed an opportunity to raise their glasses. According to a document written by Pope Paolo III Farnese’s cellar master in the 15th century, Montecarlo’s wine was highly valued by the church at the time.

The former pope, Gregor XII, visited the area in 1408, and alongside him was Cardinal Giovanni Dominici di San Sisto Ragusa, a bishop with a reputation as a great connoisseur (and consumer) of wine.

As is common knowledge, Cardinals wear gloves, over which there is placed a large, impressive and expensive episcopal ring, but wearing gloves while drinking is rather impractical. Partly because pesky little stains get on the fine fabric, and partly because it is unbearable warm. So the pious and humble Cardinal therefore took off the very sensible gloves.

While drinking, the Cardinal became so ”enthusiastic” about the wine, and it was served in such great quantities, that he, in his drunkenness, forgot his precious ring on the festive table. A scandal at that time, since the ring was also used as a signet ring and as a ”kiss object”, when he as a host received visitors.

Enough about boozing cardinals...

In Montecarlo, there is produced a red wine and a white wine from both local and international grape varieties. The white attracts the most attention, but certain reds outside of the DOC category are particularly interesting. The latter are, however, not described on these pages.

Read more about the wines from Montecarlo DOC by clicking i the top menu in the right side.