Last Wednesday I was at Daniel Pennacchio at Cascina Lorenzo to give a short lecture with tasting on the results of ageing red wines in wood (and not only). Although it is not Daniel I want to talk about, I must say that the Marzemino (Foppello) 2013 has evolved into an extraordinary wine. However, it was a real pleasure to meet among those present brothers Mario and Luigi Mazzucchelli, who in my beloved Monte Isola produce two really good wines.

Mario first took me to his house, where I got to meet his parents and his sister. His mother sliced the salami produced by his uncle, and as you can see from this photo I had the pleasure of combining it with my dear piadina romagnola this very evening. With great success I might add! How? Would you like to know the recipe for piadina romagnola? But it's so easy! 60 g of lard (I used Ardennes butter because I couldn't find lard on the island, we need to tell Fabio to provide it!!), 80 g of hot water, 240 g of 00 flour, salt and the tip of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Knead, leave to rest for at least half an hour under a bowl, roll out with a rolling pin, and off to cook on a non-stick frying pan 4 minutes per side over medium heat!

salami monte isola wines piadina recipe

Anyway, back to the wines of the Mazzucchelli family! I must say that as soon as I tasted the red wine, which comes from grapes produced from Merlot and Barbera which are now half a century old, immediately amazed me with the particularly spicy bouquet and an unusual softness for a relatively young Merlot. The first thing I thought was that the aromas are a gift from the cask since Mario told me that it is aged in oak barrels. Instead, Mario confirmed that it is indeed the grapes that hold this particular scent and I had the opportunity to verify this when we 'stole' with the thief (he taught me this very synonym... I always called him pipetta or alzavino!) a sample of wine from the 2017 vintage from the barrel. Very spicy, perhaps even more so than the 2015, and the cask is on its fourth passage! No, she is really not responsible for this very particular bouquet. The 2017 vintage promises to be truly extraordinary... too bad there's only one barrel available! 😋


I also tasted the2016 vintageThis one rested in the steel cask, but I must say that it did not convince me completely. I found it very pleasing on the nose, with notes almost of mulled wine: apple, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and marasca cherries under spirits of great intensity had me pleasantly attracted, but unfortunately in the mouth it reveals a green tannin that I think will hardly harmonise. One can try it a few months in the bottle to see what happens!

monte isola wines

The vineyards of Massimo and Luigi Mazzucchelli are very well cared for and denote preparation and love. The wine cellar is small, but there are plans to move it to a room that I have seen in a preview and it would be really good, both for the architectural features and the location. In the current cellar there are the essentials, the wine press that dad uses, a steel cask on which dad has a special licence to tap the wine he drinks at lunch, the wooden cask that I have already mentioned, a few other historic casks that are no longer in use... and a few old vintages of moscato passito.

Think, only 10 litres per year for a really interesting wine. With Mario we tasted the2003 vintage of Moscato Bianco PassitoI also took the bottle home: I was curious to see how it evolved over the next few days. The colour is a deep golden yellow, slightly lacking in clarity compared to the brilliance that technology and the current market have accustomed us to. It is absolutely to be tasted in a Napoleon glass, to bring out the best of its organoleptic characteristics and dilute a little of that alcoholic content that peeps out even from the bows so close together as you turn the glass. The nose reminds me of certain vin santos I used to drink years ago, when I spent summers with my grandmother at my aunt's in Tuscany... it reminds me of certain panoramas of the Casentino to which I am so fond and of which I jealously guard the memories. Time has given it almost ethereal notes, but candied fruit, particularly pear and citron, remains the main scent. When I closed my eyes, I lost myself for a moment and imagined myself in the candied fruit factory in Apt, Provence, when I was choosing the candied fruit to take to my dad to make my beloved Sicilian cassata. In the mouth, it has an excellent correspondence to the nose, it is very soft, and confirms that alcoholic content that was intuited at first glance. It still enjoys good freshness, and this lets me guess that a few bottles Mario Mazzucchelli might still forget in that little treasure chest.

For me there is so much potential here, you just have to gather it. I don't know if Mario's will always remain a hobby or become a real profession, but when there is passion I believe anything is possible. After all, I'm living proof of that, right?

Congratulations to daddy and mommy, in top form. I close this article with a line from the father, who told me that when he was young he was quite happy when he used to fill a basket of grapes from a single plant, and today he has given way to his sons who do thinning to focus on quality. Times change, study and the vicissitudes of life change perspectives... we inevitably change with them, we shape up like snow in the sun, melting away until we almost disappear, only to show up again every year in front of ourselves and say: we will overcome this too. But when there is passion, when there is teamwork, when there is love... the results are always there, it's just a matter of knowing how to wait.

A hug,


PS As always thank you Sony and Photo Universe for the wonderful RX100M4 camera (which you can buy on Amazon by clicking HERE for only €729 instead of €1,050)... which is really a godsend for cellar and sunset photos without flash! I think every winemaker and winelover should have one! Other than an iPhone!!! 😄

sony universe photo

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