The Allegrini winemaking family of northeastern Italy's Veneto region is finalizing the purchase of a 122.5-acre estate in Bolgheri, Tuscany's renowned coastal district, which is home to wines such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia. Their partner in the deal is Leonardo Locascio, the owner of U.S. importer and distributor Winebow, which specializes in fine Italian wines.
According to Marilisa Allegrini, 47, who runs the Allegrini family estate in Veneto with her brothers, Franco, 44, and Valter, 53, the final price of the new estate will be about $6.8 million, which the partners will split 50-50. The new Bolgheri property, which has yet to be named, consists of three plots (74 acres, 20 acres and 17 acres) situated on the "Strada del Vino," which runs between Castagneto Carducci and Bolgheri itself. It is located near Tenuta dell'Ornellaia.
The Allegrinis are among the top wine producers in the Veneto, which is best-known for light, fruity Valpolicella. Allegrini's Verona Palazzo della Torre 1997 (92 points, $18), a modern-style, single-vineyard red made primarily from the local Corvina grape, was No. 38 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2001.
Marilisa Allegrini said they bought the Bolgheri estate because they wanted to try their hand at international varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are uncommon in the Veneto. "Tuscany is the benchmark area of Italy, in terms of quality," Marilisa said. "And Bolgheri is the place where these international varieties have made their mark in Italy."
About 8 acres are already planted to 4-year-old vines of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and Allegrini will make its first Bolgheri wine from the 2002 vintage, which will be released in 2004. The Allegrinis will decide the course of future plantings based on the what they see in the 2002 wine. The property includes a winery sufficient to handle the intitial bottlings, and Allegrini said they may eventually build a new winery to handle planned expansions.
"I wanted a new challenge in life," said Locascio of his involvement in the project. "I have spent most of my professional life talking about and selling great Italian wines, and I wanted to have the opportunity to make it. I have high hopes for what we can achieve in Bolgheri."
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