Text Size:-+

An Italian Prince and His Magic (Moldy) Cellar

Thanks to Jack, a regular reader of Vinography, for the tip on an excellent -- nay, enchanting -- article by Eric Asimov in today's New York Times about an eccentric Italian prince, Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, who started making wines in the 70's by himself on his estate, and prior to his recent passing, handed over his 14,000 bottle cellar to be distributed (once everything was extracted from a carpet of white fuzzy mold that covered everything (including the barrels during winemaking, according to those familiar with the Prince's operation.)

His story is a perfect wine fairy tale for the holidays:

"A fine white mold grew naturally in his cellar, covering the barrels and the bottles that he stored in neat stacks. The prince did nothing to remove it; he believed it was beneficial....

'[His wines] are treasures. They're wines made from grapes that nobody knew could make wines like that. They had no history. It was one person's devotion.'

...a 1982 malvasia with flavors of apples, minerals and pears; a 1980 sémillon that tasted of hazelnuts and wax and seemed impossibly young. As the wines aged, the youthful acidity seemed to give way to mineral, earthy flavors. Yet unaccountably, in contrast to most white wines, which get darker with age, the golden colors of the young wines turned pale as they got older."

Wow. I want one of those for Christmas.

Read the entire article at The New York Times. Note: Their site requires (free) registration.

Buy My Award-Winning Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

How to Help Lake County After the Fire Wine and Words in Three Volumes I'll Drink to That: Robert Bohr of Charlie Bird Vinography Images: Over a Barrel Warm Up: Sicilian Wine I'll Drink to That: Salvatore Geraci of Palari Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 27, 2015 Wine News: What I'm reading the Week of 9/27 The Lodi Zinfandel Revolution Continues I'll Drink to That: Master Sommelier Guy Stout

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud