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.

Comments (1)

Tony wrote:
12.23.04 at 9:22 AM

True. This is a good holiday story and one of the better pieces I have seen Asimov do as the wine writer for the times.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Buy My Book!

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

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Tallying the Damage from the Napa Quake Vinography Images: A Sea of Blue Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 14, 2014 The Taste of Something New: Introducing Solminer Wines Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud 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 World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.