Centesimino is a truly incredible grape variety! It displays ultra-rich, complex aromas that are totally unique among red grapes.
The history of this grape goes back many centuries. Studying the old tax maps and 17th-century agricultural parcel maps, I discovered that the vineyards near the ancient tower in Oriolo near Faenza were yielding prized wines even in those past centuries.
The re-discovery of the savignôn rosso, the dialect name given to this grape, was the contribution of a certain Pianori Pietro, known as “Centesimino,” in the 1940s, but the origin of the cuttings used for establishing the first vineyard is still unknown. Analysis conducted by the Istituto di San Michele all’Adige demonstrated that Centesimino has no relatives among the other cultivated grape varieties in Italy or with the sauvignon rosso francese grape. On 22 December 2003, Centesimino was admitted to Italy’s official National Registry of Grape Varieties.
When I acquired the Cà Donati farm on the hills beneath the ancient watch tower in Oriolo near Faenza, I immediately wondered about the possibility of producing a 100% varietal wine from the grapes there in order to judge their value.
The wines lived up to my expectations. In 2001, I launched the project with Traicolli, a Centesimino matured about 14 months in large oak casks, and Rubacuori, a passito Centesimino from ultra-ripe grapes, matured 12 months in barriques. Both were successful, and won appreciation both in Italy and abroad.
In those years, I was fortunate to know that great figure, Luigi Veronelli, who was truly a beacon for us winegrowers, and I didn’t hesitate to ask him his opinion about Centesimino. With the openness and humility that mark the truly great he welcomed me into his house and showed much appreciation for this new variety, so much so that he wanted to “stroll with me in the vineyard” so he could study it better.
He advised me to make Savignone, a Centesimino vinified in steel, without barrel ageing, so that the varietal aromas could shine out in all their inimitable individuality. I followed his advice, and this wine too aroused significant enthusiasm, particularly an invitation to the prestigious and exclusive IMV symposium in Florence in 2004.
In 2008, I wanted to broaden the project, since I could scarcely refrain from making a sparkler! So I began the production of Morosè, a rosé sparkling wine from centesimino according to the Charmat-method, which, I believe, successfully enhances the entire aromatic profile of the wine. Its first vintage was admitted into Golosaria’s list of the Top Hundred Emerging Wines.
Since these wines are so unusual and distinctive, I simply had to entrust their label design to well-known artists, in this case, Pablo Echaurren, a Rome-based painter, illustrator, and author whose incredible, brightly-coloured drawings summon up South America, and Gianfranco Morini, known as il Moro, a Faenza ceramic artist who makes our Morosè even more sparkling. That team adds a further touch of fine breeding to my wines, unique as they are, and fruits of a land that awaits discovery.