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Winery of the Month: Icario

Montepulciano is not famous worldwide just for its Vino Nobile: it has a lot to offer in terms of art, culture, music, nature and architecture. And it’s easy to fall in love with this match – as it has happened to the Rothenberger family, who recently bought Icario winery.

Icario has a relatively recent history, if compared to the other historical winery in Montepulciano; it was born in 1998 with the Cecchetti family, who started producing Vino Nobile with the first five hectares of the old farmhouse, which was meant for domestic use. In 2008 the construction of the modern winery was completed – and it was designed by Studio Valle architects. Its style is in harmony with the surrounding natural landscape and it was designed in way it could blend with contemporary art.

The Rothenberger family followed in the property of Icario in 2015: it’s made of German industrialists active worldwide, who are passionate about arts, music and good wine. The love for arts and for the manufacturing quality can be found in Icario, a winery that works towards the harmony of contemporary architecture and the beauty of landscape, and of course, of producing quality Vino Nobile. The teamwork in Icario has kept strong links to the previous management, starting from oenologist Paolo Vagaggini, to those in charge of the winery, but there are also new key roles in the commercial unit.

And it’s a girl of the new team, Lucia, the one who is taking me through the visit of the winery: everything has been conceived in harmony with the landscape – starting from the beautiful entrance, which faces onto Valdichiana, from the offices, to the modern warehouses. The most fascinating element is perhaps the big room upstairs, meant for meals and samplings, whose walls are used for painting and contemporary art exhibitions: the glass floor allows to see from a privileged view the barrel cellar, with barrels made of French Oak, where the Vino Nobile is perfected. They are rooms full of charm, not so far away from the main street to access Montepulciano and not so far away from the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie: a corner plunged in nature, but with the eyes firmly cast towards the future and the heart devoted to arts.

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“The family wants to keep on investing on Icario and it wants to keep on offering events and exhibitions to tourists and to all the people of Montepulciano – Lucia explains. The idea is to start with June with the new course, the tours and the samplings. Next year, we plan to set up a wine bar and to renovate the old farmhouse, so to start the new restaurant activity and to set up some rooms as apartments for tourists and foreigner customers”.

Lucia comes from Friuli, and she is very young, but she has been passionate about Tuscany, Montepulciano and Vino Nobile at first sight: as soon as she arrived, she understood that was the place for her, a perfect match between nature, culture and good lifestyle. The local people made her feel at home immediately, thanks to their sociableness and openness: there is a great harmony in Icario team, with no hierarchies or closure, which allow to live well the work environment and to give the hosts back the pleasure of good wine.

Icario is part of a cultural project which is not only limited to the Vino Nobile: it organises exhibitions and concerts, and it involves the winery and the beautiful surrounding landscape. It can host private events, weddings, as it can exploit the magical atmosphere it has around.

“We set up a space to host painting and photography exhibitions, both for local artists and international ones; for each artist, we even created a specific label to match the wine with. During all summer, there will be musical events, to associate the Vino Nobile with arts”.

The production of the Vino Nobile is still the main focus of the winery. At the moment, Icario has 20 hectares of terrains, all next to the winery, but the idea is to expand the territory to 30 hectares in five years – with economical rights which have already been bought.

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The production is of 120.000 bottles per year and it consists of the Rosso di Montepulciano DOC, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, the Vino Nobile “Vitaroccia” Riserva DOCG; and then a white wine IGT “Nysa” and another red wine, IGT “Icario”, which contain some percentage of peculiar vineyards, such as
Gewurztraminer and Teroldego. Thanks to the 2.500 olive trees planted, even Extravirgin Olive Oil DOP is produced, together with the Vino Nobile grappa.

The new management of Icario will be celebrated on Saturday, 4th June, at 21:00, and in the rooms of the winery it will be possible to attend the first exclusive concert, organised by Ricordi Music School: from Billie Holiday, to Sheila Jordan, it will be a journey through the history of voice, in all its greatest shades. On 2nd July, at 21:00, Julia Lenti will perform, in a great performance that will include songs by Anastacia, Katy Perry, Beyoncé and many other artists of black music, such as Tracy Chapman. On 6th August, at 21:00, Pietro Squecco Quartet will perform in an intense concert, emotional and lyrical. On 3rd September, at 21:00, as grand finale, Icario will open to rock in its classical nuance – and it will become a New York club on fire, thanks to the energy, both human and musical, of the rocker Willie Nile.

“There is not a lack of anything in this territory – Lucia says – I come from Friuli, but I was surprised of the quantity of tourists coming to Montepulciano. This great attendance shows a wide range of services and events, not only wine. If there are new ideas, it’s easy to offer something new. I noticed, at the Preview of the Vino Nobile, that the winery in Montepulciano are not selfish, they are open to collaborations and to guests reception. There is a wonderful harmony and synergy, aiming to the overall growth of the product and its territory”.

(To visit and information: Via delle Pietrose 2, Montepulciano (SI) – E-Mail: info@icario.it – Tel: +39 0578 75 88 45 – website: www.icario.it)

Alessio Banini

Nato nel 1983, vive a Montepulciano Stazione e non ha nessuna intenzione di andarsene. Scrittore di narrativa e saggistica, appassionato di storie e tradizioni locali, si è laureato a Siena in Antropologia Culturale. L’editoria digitale ha salvato la sua casa dall’affollamento di scaffali e librerie.

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