San Pietro in Lamosa monastery: a historic monument & supporter of a chemical-free world

san pietro in lamosa franciacorta

Above: Last year, the ancient monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa in Franciacorta was the site of a conference devoted to the effects of pesticides on the health of residents in farming communities.

As winery manager Marta Piovani put it in an email to me yesterday, “the monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa is an ancient one and our winery is relatively young. But we have something in common: respect for the environment.”

In October 2012, the beautiful 11th-century monastery – which sits at the edge of a marsh in the same township where Barone Pizzini is located, Provaglio d’Iseo — hosted a conference devoted to the ill effects of pesticides in commercial farming.

The monastery’s support of this cause aligns with the winery’s mission: to improve the quality of wine and to protect the farming community to which it belongs by farming organically, without the use of chemicals.

Not only does Barone Pizzini farm organically, but its mission (and that of its sister winery, Pievalta, in the Marches) is also to promote awareness — through its wines and approach to viticulture — of the harm that chemicals can do to a farming community.

So if you’re heading to Franciacorta this weekend for wine tasting, please stop first at the monastery to explore one of the great monuments of Franciacorta and a wholehearted supported of a chemical-free farming community.

Wine writer Kyle Phillips wrote an excellent post on the monastery a few years ago for About.com.

Palio di San Floriano, a medieval pageant held in Jesi every year

 

Today is the last day of the Palio di San Floriano, a wonderful medieval pageant that takes place every year in the town of Jesi.

Here’s a note on the festival from Silvia Loschi, manager of the Pievalta winery.

This week, Jesi is the backdrop for the famous Palio di San Floriano, a festival that dates back to the thirteenth century.

The modern participants in the pageant include the 21 townships of Vallesina, home to the Castelli di Jesi DOC (where we make our wine).

The festivities — dancing, flag bearing, parades, medieval re-enactments — commemorate the Christian martyr St. Florian, a popular saint during medieval times.

In the festival’s main parade, the mayors of the town play the part of the gonfaloniers and they re-enact their villages’ historic submission to the township of Jesi.

Then the “men-at-arms,” representatives of the municipalities present in the parade, compete for the “Palio” (a banner) in the tournament of the archers.

palio di san floriano

Image via CamperLife.it

Dispatch from Castelli di Jesi: The story of the Pievalta church

church with snow italy

The Pievalta winery takes its name from this yellow church on the hill above the estate.

The name, Pievalta, indeed, means “church on high.”

The church is also the symbol of the winery and it is depicted on our labels.

We do not know exactly when it was built but on the church’s façade, there is a plaque dedicated to the fallen of the first World War.

In the past, it was the church of farmers and people that live in this area. Now it is a symbol of an old agricultural world that is gone. Only a few families live here now and the church is opened only once a year, the first week end of May, on the occasion of the feast of Santa Croce.

—Silvia Loschi, winery manager, Pievalta

Franciacorta, a history by Darrell Corti (part 1)

darrell corti wolfgang puck

Above: American “national treasure” Darrell Corti in Los Angeles in late 2012 with Wolfgang Puck.

The following is the first part of our series devoted to the History of Franciacorta by Darrell Corti, one of the leading authorities on Italian wine in the U.S.

*****

It was 1964. The vintage was considered “of the century” in Bordeaux. In Burgundy, it was also excellent. In Champagne it was made into vintage dated wine. In Barolo, it was called a year to be reckoned with. California’s Napa Valley produced a vintage considered the best since 1958. In Franciacorta, it was the beginning of history.

Let me explain. Franciacorta is a territory on the northern Lombard plain that has been famous for centuries, with obscure and controversial histories. one for example, is its name. There are several interprtations, each having to do with the “Francia” part of the name which has been argued over as having to do with France or the French. One hypothesis deals with Charlemagne, another with the Angevin king, Charles I, whose troops were garrisoned there. Another has to do with the homonymous sound of the name: Francia > Franca (free) corta > curtes (corti) or agricultural properites usually held in the hands of religious or monastic institutes. The notion of “free” merely means that these properties were exempted from paying taxes or tithes. It was an exemptiont hat was important and jealously guarded. Whatever the etymological origin of the name, by 1277, as noted in the Statutes of Brescia, this area is called Franciacorta.