Picturesque medieval Tuscan village in the province of Lucca
Montecarlo is a small medieval village located on a hill at 162 meters above the sea
level and 50 kilometers from the town of Lucca.
The village was founded in the fourteenth century by Charles IV of Bohemia around the Cerruglio fortress and it was named Montecarlo in his honor.
In the fourteenth century, during the wars between Lucca, Pisa and Florence it has been a very important strategic garrison. The history of Montecarlo is strictly connected with viticulture, hence the meaning of its original name Vivinaia, which means passing along the wine road which gets across the hill of Montecarlo.
Until late Medieval times this area was characterized by the production of quality wines organized by religious orders. This activity is testified by the Abbey founded in 1200 in San Martino in Colle by the Benedictine order which was stating vey positive judgments on the wine of Montecarlo.
The first tavern keepers appeared in 1371. They started to store Trebbiano red wine in
barrels, carry them on wagons and sell them.
For all the fourteenth century the wine of Montecarlo was sold in Altopascio (which
at the times was a small village in the municipality of Montecarlo); in Lucca and in
Florence. Until 1567 the residents of Altopascio were selling Trebbiano wine to Duke
Cosimo I De Medici. To be noted that from 1400 to 1500 white wine of Montecarlo
was sold on the market of Florence for very high prices compared to any other wine.
Montecarlo wines were also sold to the religious community of the Popes. As a
matter of fact, in 1408 Pope Gregorious XII during a trip to Lucca tasted the local
wine and decided to order it for the Vatican in the future.
Also, the municipality of Altopascio was always donating its wine to the Medici
family and the Trebbiano wine coming from the “Community of Montecarlo” was
regularly ordered for the feast of San Giovanni Battista.
More recently, in 1930 the wine of Montecarlo was used for the celebration of the wedding between Prince Umberto di Savoia and Maria Josè at the Quirinale in Rome. At that times the wine of Montecarlo was considered as the “Chablis of Montecarlo”.
In 1870 the owner of Fattoria Marchi Magnani in Montecarlo, in order to improve its wines went to France to study the grape varieties and the vinification techniques. He imported to Montecarlo from Bordeaux Sauvignon, Semillon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. From the Rhone area he imported Roussanne and Syrah, and from Burgundy Pinot Blanc and Gris. Once back he tried to find the right percentages of grape varieties in order to improve the Trebbiano in a more elegant, soft and fragrant wine.
The above mentioned grape varieties are now included in the appelation of the DOC of Montecarlo and represent the characteristic of the wine of Montecarlo. We remind you the villages that are included in the area of Montecarlo, which are: Altopascio, Capannori and Porcari. On August 13, 1969 the “Montecarlo Bianco” wine was recognized as DOC and its specific requirements were included in the appelation. On October 1, 1985 the “Montecarlo Rosso” was recognized as DOC and in 1994 the requirements of the appelation were furtherly modified. The appellation requires for the Montecarlo Bianco the following grape varieties: 40-60% Trebbiano Toscano, and for the remaining 40-60% Semillon, Pinot Gris, Bianco,Vermentino; Sauvignon, Rousanne; at least three of the above mentioned varieties must get to a 10% quantity in the blend.
For the Montecarlo Rosso the appellation requires: 50-75% Sangiovese, 5-15% Canaiolo Nero, 10-15% Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Malvasia Nera, Syrah, Cabernet Franc,cCabemet Sauvignon, Merlot. According to art. 5 of the1994 regulation also the “Riserva del Montecarlo Rosso”, is recignized as DOC if the wines comes from grapes that have a minimum alcool percentage of 11,5%, and have been aged at least for two years in barrels and six months in bottle.
The Consortium of the DOC wines of Montecarlo was founded in November 1970.