The history of the oldest dessert wine in Italy

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Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it happens that in Europe, and then in the United States, buildings, works of art, objects for the home, clothes and jewels are dedicated to flora and fauna. Even some architects become interior designers and stylists, imposing wardrobes and arranging furniture in the apartments with strict rules, from an aesthetic point of view. Everything must be linear, follow a logical thread. Or a branch, given the origin of the inspiration. And so, countries adopt figures such as Giuseppe Sommaruga in Italy, Antoni Guadí in Spain, Otto Wagner in Austria and Henry van de Velde in Belgium to establish what is perhaps the ultimate style in terms of art, understood at 360 degrees: Art Nouveau or, as it is called in the Bel Paese: Liberty. And we fly to Trani, in Puglia. Unlike the capitals of the aforementioned nations, the city is home to just 55,000 inhabitants, but its historical legacy is imprinted in textbooks and passed down in novels and poems. Even with regard to the food and wine sector, the municipality gives unique fruits of their kind. The farm is partly a witness Franco Di Filippo, born in March 1887. Today the reality is led by Francesco, ancestor of the founder. The winemaker is the creator of the label Ecstasy whose protagonist is the Muscat of Trani called own Passito Liberty, a tribute to the play of proportions and lengths of the branches of the vines, so emphasized and represented during the era of the New Art, but also to a modus operandi of excellence. Exactly a century earlier, a man with a refined taste born in 1860 in Aÿ-en-Champagne, came to Paris to impress his genius on most of the precious items that from that moment on all the women of the French capital (and then of the world ) wear. Is called René Lalique. Thanks to the right visits, his creations become unique, and today they are visible in museums (especially in the one dedicated to him in Wingen-sur-Moder) or, for the lucky ones, kept in refined private collections. The uniqueness of the jeweler and glassmaker is comparable to Moscato di Trani, both as regards its being certified DOC (it happens in 1974, when it is ennobled), and for its history, which affects Mr. Di Filippo, when he decides to produce it.

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And the legend goes something like this: “The nectar in question is the most noble and ancient of Puglia. Already in the years around 1000 the Venetians began to trade this wine, up to sign an agreement on the subject with the Trane Customs. The count of Trani, Roberto d’Angiò (14th century), took care of it so much that he placed a limit on the exports of quality wine from the ports of the Kingdom of Naples, thus causing the discontent of the Venetian merchants. In the 1500s the famous traveler Fra ‘Leandro Alberti, author of a monumental Description of Italy he had appreciated its goodness defining it “so excellent that it is a very delicate thing to taste”. And fine are Lalique’s jewelery creations, mainly made with the enamelling technique, very typical of the Nouveau style. The favorite subjects of the French goldsmith are peacocks and dragonflies, melted and then modeled above all on pins and hair clips. For the neck, on the other hand, it tends to use natural pearls, interrupting its texture with natural elements, including thin vine branches. René creates these wonders in his workshop at 20 rue Thérèse in Paris, designing the furniture and furnishings himself. The grapes of the Passito Liberty produced by Di Filippo. Usually ripe for the harvest already in the first ten days of August, “by our choice”, explain the company, “they are harvested late in the second ten days of October when the grapes are dried. Unlike drying in the loft or lying in the sun, the bunches remain exclusively to dry on the plant until an ideal concentration of intense and persistent aromas and fragrances is reached “.

White grapes

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And what are they? First of all the Muscat grapes, which are closely followed by honey and buttery notes, with a strong presence of hints of yellow fruit jam (apricot, peach, etc …) in addition to the aromas of yellow and strongly fragrant flowers, such as, acacia, linden, broom, to move on to dried flowers, with dried rose in particular, up to then spreading to pleasant hints of tropical fruit, from pineapple to mango, to papaya, up to opening up to elegant and clean citrus saline notes, to spicy aromas of vanilla, star anise, white chocolate, with a light and pleasant almond finish. The intense gold color is that of the sun’s rays, which during the year delicately strike the fruits and then flow into the palates of those who taste it, illuminating them with pleasant sensations. The same ones that some divas of the theater and cinema clients of René Lalique must try, such as Liane of Pougy, Julia Barthet and Sarah Bernhardt. Their love for the designer, whose pieces they assiduously wear, some even created ad hoc, is equal to what Franco Di Filippo has for wine. The one done well, whose processing respects the times of the season. A gesture that over time rewards him since in addition to Moscato di Trani Passito Liberty, manages to give life to two types of classic method sparkling wine: Ecstasy in Harmony and Ecstasy in Symphony. Balanced accords of bubbles, the background of unique evenings that are of today or of yesteryear. Here it is excellence that speaks, and nature that dictates the rules.

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