Villa Gresti - Inspirational Story behind a Beautiful Wine
Historic Wine Made by a Truly Remarkable Family:
Not only does Villa Gresti come from one of the most important wineries in Italy (San Leonardo consistently produces the most highly-rated Bordeaux blends in Northern Italy), but the story behind the name is simply astonishing. Tom Harrow has been to visit on a number of occasions and as you can see astonishing really is the word to describe this beautiful place.
Villa Gresti is a place rich in history, culture and tradition. First established by monks in the early 13th century, Villa di San Leonardo was subsequently purchased by Gemma de Gresti, whose grandson and great grandson are now responsible for making the top quality wine we enjoy today and others have been enjoying for over 50 years.
The story of this great estate is focused around Gemma de Gresti. After being heartbreakingly widowed, de Gresti went on to be instrumental in bringing back over 6000 Italian soldiers imprisoned in Russia during the 1st World War. Not only did she have a considerable hand in helping the PoWs back to their families in Italy but also made sure the majority of them went on to secure employment.
Furthermore during the war itself de Gresti was key in setting up over 50 channels of communication to and from Italian prisoners in Russia. This meant their families in Italy could contact them, many of whom wouldn't have even known if there loved wines were alive.
After de Gresti's war time heroics (which saw her honoured by the Red Cross for humanitarian work) this remarkable lady purchased the villa di San Leonardo in 1918. Her grandson Marchese Carlo Guerrieri Gonzage was the first of the family to start producing wine and still continues to do so at the now called Villa Gresti with his son Anselmo. In remembrance of Gemma, a plaque on the wall of the family chaep bears the inscription “l'angelo dei prigionieri” – The Angel of the Prisoners.
The wine which Carlo and Anselmo make, we think, is truly deserving of this incredible lady's name and the San Leonardo Estate has kindly offered us an exclusive on their Vertical Mixed Case. It contains their 2000, 2001 and 2004-07 vintages all of which have excited us greatly! Even better, they can be drunk now or kept in the cellar if you fancy more maturity.
We are also holding a San Leonardo and Villa Gresti Vertical Tasting event in London on Tuesday 27th October.
Published on: August 6, 2015