"My ancestor, Pope, drank worse wine than I! | Q&A w/ Aldobrando Azzoni, Azzoni Wines, Tuscany
Updated: Feb 10
Bella Tuscany, a place where one’s eyes are greeted by painted hills of green and gold, along with picturesque passageways lined with tall cypress trees leading to ancient vineyards, farmlands and estates.
Toscania a place like no other, where poetry remains in motion throughout the seasons and centuries. Within the terraced vineyards planted by generations past one can breathe in the beauty of life as it unfolds; soaking in light of the setting sun as it covers the land in rosy kisses, all the while recognizing you are perhaps walking on the footprints of Etrucans, Romans and even a specific Pope from the past...
Above all, vino from the region between Pisa’s leaning tower, Lucca’s towering ramparts and Florence’s renaissance art is an experience of a bella vita, the reason we now introduce you to winemaker Aldobrando Azzoni:
Q | How is it living in a renowned place such as Tuscany?
A |Tuscany is a beauty trap...I have been to many places around the world but I always enjoy returning to the heart of Tuscany. I feel fortunate to experience the bliss found from the amazing colors provided each sunset and the tenderness of the vineyards growing on the hills...
Within Tuscany comes with the possibility of tasting incredible food and wine. I feel proud to live at the core of a place with such culture and history that has inspired so many through the centuries.
Q | Can we say that winemaking is also an art form?
Yes, I do think that we can establish that parallel. Winemaking and art is mostly an individual challenge. Artists will not succeed if they do not master their element - being it stonework, painting, drawing, sound, movement, etc…to be technical & knowledgeable of what they create is imperative. This also applies to winemaking which sometimes can be even harder because you can not master the forces of nature.
I am just glad that in Tuscany we can find so many things we can draw inspiration from, being it art, wine or food.
Q | How did winemaking start for you?
I was born in the middle of it. Originally my family came from another Italian region, Venetto. My grandfather bought this estate along with others and started developing vineyards on the hills, also farming sunflowers, basil and other vegetables.
I became responsible for the wine business 21 years ago, developing what we already had based on the knowledge of my family and from my trips made around the world which helped me be on top of trends and set in place efficient answers to new challenges regarding the wine world.
Q | What challenges are those and what can you tell us about that?
A | Although winemaking is a sort of conservative business, it is always evolving and there are many people trying to come with something new or inspiring. Take for instance the biodynamic wines or natural wines as a trend: Personally, I do not believe in it as a strategy. At Azzoni we muster a broader concept: sustainability. It goes further than natural or biodynamic approaches because sustainability also focuses on other areas beyond grapes and vineyards, concentrating on conditions set for growing and balance overall.
Alternative areas that we have been focusing on are with solar energy, systems to better manage water needed for our crops and a state-of-the-art program using insects to better monitor the quality of the soil. Using all these modalities, we and all those who surround us, are able to experience a more sustainable future.
Q | What wines do you drink at home?
A | It really depends on the mood. One thing is for certain: I always drink wine.
Once I went to Switzerland for a medical appointment and at the end of it the doctor said that I should drink wine, good wine. As you can imagine I was thrilled to hear that.
I drink not only our wines but also from other places in the world…really it depends on the food I am eating.
Q | Can you tell us an interesting story about your family?
A | We go a long way back...in the 10th century my ancestor was Pope Gregory V. He was pope for a very short period of time and one thing is certain: he did not drink as good wine as I do now!
Q | With what kinds of cuisine do you recommend to be paired with your wines?
A | Starters or vegetables with Vermentino white (link). Pinot Grigio - which is a more complex white wine - with fresh pasta & porcini mushrooms or truffle. Also delicious with chicken or porc.
Our chianti (see the brand + link) best paired stronger flavors like with a meaty ragu sauce topped with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan or sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese or roasted lamb with rosemary.
Dessert wine (see brand + link) brought to life with the taste of almonds, gorgonzola cheese, figs, dark chocolate...and love for life’s beauty.
Q | What do you do in your free time and what are your plans for the holidays?
A | I enjoy travelling a lot! Essentially that is what I do whenever I get some free time or when I go on holidays.
All phtos provided by Degli Azzoni de Avogadro | Follow us on Fcebook and Instagram
article editing w/ Seanna M. Cabezut
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Degli Azzoni Avogadro "Villa Sol" Pinot Grigio, 2018 | La Rotta, Tuscany, Italy
The Villa Sole is not a typical Pinot Grigio. The grapes undergo maceration pre-fermentation which means the wine has longer skin contact than most white wines, giving it a distinctive copper color, commonly known as orange wine. The result is a fresh and mineral forward wine with great acidity. It has delicious aromas of exotic fruit followed by flavors of peach and hazelnut.
This wine is delicious with fish, light pasta dishes and shellfish.
Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Grigio