The Vikings in Volterra.
The Vikings in Volterra.
Yes, the Vikings, not the Etruscans. Or maybe both?
Let me tell you a story.
VIII century B.C.
From the village of Foteviken on the Scandinavian peninsula, the Thomaeus clan is determined to embark on a long journey to discover new lands.
Bengt, the clan leader, had been travelling a lot ever since he was a child, on his father's drakkar. He came from a family of merchants, his father and grandfather before him were merchants and had travelled very far, perhaps farther than any other villager. And who knows, perhaps, farther than any other Viking.
They had traded with unknown, strange and bizarre people.
They had received in barter for their precious furs the most varied, useful, extravagant and even precious things; but there was only one thing, one in particular, that had triggered Bengt's imagination, desires and dreams.
When he was a teenager, during one of his trade expeditions with his father, they accepted as a bargaining chip a jar containing a mysterious, almost magical drink.
The merchant who sold it to them said that it was a precious nectar made by a Divinity, with a generous fruit that grows where winters are mild and summers are hot, where the slopes are gentle, and you can see the sea.
A sweet ambrosia that had the power to make you as cheerful as a hummingbird if you drank a sip, as brave as a lion if you drank another sip, and as stupid as a donkey if you drank too much of it!
It was called wine.
Bengt did not buy the story of a Divinity making the wine, his gods were of war and destruction and would never bother making any magic concoction.
After drinking his first sip, however, he started to change his mind, and from that day on his only thought, day after day, was to go and find the source of that mystical elixir.
After all, he did not mind at all finding a land where snow and cold were certainly not the norm but rather sporadic events.
So he took off. 100 days and 100 nights at sea.
And he finally reached the promised land. That territory with lush rolling hills was already inhabited by a few and sparse groups mainly of Asian origin, Phoenicians perhaps, who had fled from their land in search of new opportunities and fertile virgin lands to colonize.
They were therefore well inclined to accept those "strange" foreigners, sturdy and tall, with blond hair and blue clear eyes moved by the desire for a new beginning.
The Etruscans originated from this fusion of different people (perhaps thanks to wine?).
Granted, I have obviously made up this story, but some research did prove that the Etruscans could have actually originated from the fusion of several ethnic groups, including the Nordics and Vikings. The most recent investigations of DNA do not deny it and there are various aspects that trace back to those origins.
The good news is that Bengt, the clan leader, is not a fictional character! And I know because I have met him!
He is a true Viking from Sweden, as I am an Etruscan from Volterra, and he did come to Etruria to produce (and drink) good wine.
In Monterosola, in the countryside of Volterra, he created, or rather rediscovered, and enhanced the culture of the vine and wine, producing quality wine, with a strong bond to this territory, or I should say with the terroir according to its broader definition as used by winemakers.
A rather new endeavor, the wines produced here are only a few years old (it will be my honor and pleasure therefore to follow their evolution over the years), and they reflect the desire and vision of the Bengt family to be a direct and coherent expression of a very peculiar and unique territory (that of Volterra) which is surrounded on the sea side by Supertuscans, and on its inland borders by Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Chianti areas which then give way to Brunello and Nobile.
It is therefore a suitable area for winemaking, but with its very own microclimate, characterized by constant and strong ventilation. It is not by chance that it was called Vola Terrae (land that flies), where summers have considerable temperature changes between day and night, and winters are harsher than the surrounding areas. Combine all this with a soil rich in noble clays so good for winemaking, and you will have an idea of the oenological potential of Monterosola Winery.
Such a great potential therefore becomes a responsibility in creating wines of absolute quality and with a precise geographical identity.
Etruscan Wines? Viking Wines?
Wines of Volterra.
For now, there is a solid basis for tasting the first vintage of Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc (very interesting) and also the whites from Manzoni crossbreeding and Vermentino and Grechetto are very positive, encouraging and intriguing.
If they are Rosole... they will bloom!
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