New Direct Import, De’Ricci, Offers a Rich History and Bright Future
Greg recently returned from a trip to Italy and he brought back some fun finds that will be coming into the store over the next few weeks. First to arrive is De’Ricci, a new direct import from Montepulciano. This is an exciting new producer - not only for us, but for the region as a whole. Although the De’Ricci family is a pretty big deal in Montepulciano, in the past you’d be more likely to find their name in a travel book rather than on a wine menu. The family owns an impressive, historic wine cellar that was originally a church, but it wasn’t until recently that they started making their own wines.
For generations, the family sold their grapes to local co-ops, but in 2012, Enrico decided to create his own label. The family owns several hectares of vineyards surrounding the town, growing Sangiovese, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malvasia, Grechetto and Trebbiano. Although most of the wines are made at a modern facility situated in their vineyards, the cellar they are most recognized for is the Cantina Ricci. Often referred to as one of the most stunning wine cellars in the world, it is an incredibly impressive and unique barrel room located deep beneath the city center of Montepulciano.
Originally part of Palazzo Ricci, the family palace built in 1534 by Cardinal Giovanni Ricci, the cellar has also been called the “Cathedral of Vino” because it resembles a great underground Renaissance cathedral with soaring ceilings lifted by immense cross-vaulted arches. Rows of barrels line the walls, in all shapes and sizes. Massive Slavonian wine barrels, some that contain up to 10,000 liters of wine (that’s 13,000 cases in one barrel!), stand as a centerpiece, flanked by more traditional tonneaux and barrique barrels made from French oak.
Now, in his seventh vintage, Enrico is making several delicious wines and we are currently carrying three of them: the 2015 De’ Ricci Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, 2015 De’ Ricci “SorAldo” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and 2017 De Ricci Rosso di Montepulciano. These are classic Italian wines from Tuscany, made primarily from Sangiovese. Like the De’Ricci family, Vino Nobile has a long and rich history in the region and is recently making a bit of a comeback in the wine world. Although it fell out of favor in the last few decades, new wine laws are encouraging better practices and helping revive the reputation of this once highly-respected wine. Since then, the quality has only been increasing as vintners and winemakers find their groove. These are delicious, fun and easy-drinking wines that have a lot of character. They are also great values since they are still lesser known than the traditional Chiantis or Brunellos of the region.
I recommend seeking these new wines out. They are a worthy look into the past, as well as a fun window into the future, for both De’Ricci and Nobile di Montepulciano.