Nicola, Frank, and Tom are three fellow Italophiles, equal parts inquisitive, daring and conscientious. United over an attitude of adventure, an aptitude for exploration, and a thirst for great bottles, the three joined forces to take on Vecchie Terre di Montefili, and begin the never-ending transformative process to ensure its legacy.
A lover of Italy’s rural architecture, and an avid restorer of vintage Ferrari race cars.
From 2007, Tom embarked on a 6-year project to build an authentic Tuscan house in Southern California from almost entirely reclaimed components. His passion for Italian wine developed alongside this endeavor, and intensified over many dinners accompanied by great bottles with his then colleague, now friend, and Italian wine devotee…
A successful businessman and proud father, Frank’s wine journey started by way of another love, his wife, Nancy. On their honeymoon in Italy, the pair encountered Tuscan wine up close in its natural habitat: over a romantic dinner followed by a walk through the Sangiovese vines in picturesque Montalcino. As Frank puts it, ‘I guess you could say I picked up two lifelong passions on that trip’.
When Frank and Nancy moved to New York with their young son, they were in need of a place nearby for good food and drink. Luckily, the world famous I Trulli’ restaurant, complete with its sister bar ‘I Trulli Enoteca’ and all-Italian wine shop ‘Vino’, was just a few blocks away.
Whilst sampling its huge selection of Italian wines by the glass, Frank became firm palate-pals with the knowledgeable (and opinionated) …
A creative entrepreneur and restaurateur, Nicola was born in Puglia where he lived until he was 11.
Nicola’s career on the New York dining scene has always been characterized by daring and innovation, from his first restaurant Tempo in 1987 to ‘I Trulli’ and its ‘Enoteca’, and New York’s first all Italian wine shop ‘Vino’. With an intimate understanding of Italian wine, from its difficulties to its triumphs, and all the nuances inbetween, it was inevitable that Nicola would one day embark on a wine project of his own…
Frank and Nicola planted the first seed of Montefili when Nicola suggested he could commission and make his own wine. For a few years, the pair floated the idea of managing a vineyard with varying degrees of seriousness (largely influenced by the number of bottles of wine opened that evening), but the seed started to grow, and the question became not ‘if’, but ‘where’. On the other side of the country, in California, Frank regaled Tom with his grand viticultural dream, who immediately wanted to join the team.
The trio was made.
The three began searching with earnest for the perfect location, with not only terroir, a sense of belonging, and great grapes, but a pure place to fall in love with, somewhere they wanted to just be.
They realized they had only one real choice. It had to be Vecchie Terre di Montefili, and Sangiovese, and the blessed hill of Panzano. From then the real work began, with purity and passion.
‘It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.’
Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Persig
At Montefili our value is in our vision. We want to reach for the top, for the utmost, for the very best we can do here, in this very place. We know what can be achieved in a beautiful place, with good vineyards and good people. We care about culture, and respect local customs and techniques, and strive with sincerity to have a positive influence on quality and perception of wines from this special area.
Our goal is to make Montefili better every year. With our minds open, and willingness to evolve, we strive to prepare her for the future, when we will pass down this piece of heaven to other generations.
Vecchie Terre di Montefili casts a long shadow. It is a tree with the deep roots of a thousand hands past; its DNA holds the codes to create thousands of future leaves. Since the Medici in the Middle Ages they have been making wine on these hills. We find beauty in the fact that nobody on this tree-chart is important on their own, they are but one leaf of that ancient tree that continues to grow year on year.
So what is the value of a piece of heaven? We have no idea, but we believe the true value is not in its ownership, but in the knowledge that it will exist and flourish long after us.