Gifts of the Earth – Castello di Solomeo
‘If I ask myself why I chose to produce Castello di Solomeo wine here in Solomeo, my thoughts go back to a few years ago, when a desire was born in me. It was a desire so beautiful that it seemed extraordinary, captivating even, and so I made it become a living reality without asking myself from whence it came.
It was only after some time, when the cellar building with loving care stood watch over the vineyard that gently meandered towards the valley, when for the first time the vines, protected by the rose bushes at the head of each row, blossomed more numerous than the stars, when the autumn leaves began to redden and seemed to compete with the setting sun, that I tasted the bubbling first pressed must and then the first tapped wine. While I was savouring all this under the noble vaults of the cellar, I suddenly felt inside me, like the gush of a new source, a feeling of gratitude, bursting gratitude towards Gaea, Earth Mother, of which all humanity throughout its ancient history is the daughter, and I suddenly understood where the desire that had led me to that lovely result came from.
I love the Earth.
I was born into a peasant family, and ever since I was a child I have learned to love Mother Earth, when I played with my siblings and cousins in the fields, and then as a teenager, driving the ox-drawn plough straight in the furrows, praised for this by my father, who saw beauty in that order. So spiritually and physically close to the earth, turned upside down by the ploughshare, smoking against the pale sky, I could smell its scent, I could see the humus that is life groaning, and I understood perfectly why that fertile land was worshiped by the ancients with the word Mother.
Brunello Cucinelli inside the Winery in Solomeo
The Earth seemed to me to be the queen of harmony of every aspect of creation, and thus of the family; in those times I don’t recall a single day of sadness, I never saw my parents arguing, and in the house nothing really necessary was missing: the table was adorned like that of kings with the simple gifts of the Earth, always new in accordance with the season, and a scent spread throughout the house, different depending on the hour of the day. Everyone had a job to do; there was an air of perfect serenity and mutual dedication. But there was always wine on the table, consumed strictly in moderation; it was almost a ritual to let the little ones taste a bit, they would say, to “make them grow big”. In my eyes that ambrosia seemed like a factor of wisdom, because the adults, who were wise, drank it.
Today, with the years that have passed, I think of that carefree youth, and I compare that country bliss, so lovingly praised by so many ancients, with life today, convincing myself more and more of the fact that the perpetual changing of nature only confirms its universal indispensability for mankind. That is why we should follow the example of the ancients and improve our relationship with creation. Producing good wine is a lovely way of doing it, because it respects the aspiration of quality that we pride ourselves on in Solomeo and means being grateful to Magna mater, recognising that, as Xenophanes said, all things come from the Earth.
Approximately nine thousand bottles of Castello di Solomeo wine are produced a year from a small vineyard that sits on five hectares. Its grapes are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, from which the prestigious Bordeaux blend is born, to which is added the Sangiovese grape as a tribute to the culture and winemaking tradition of Central Italy. From this union is born a wine that is structured and at the same time rich in softness and that light fascination that was at the origin of its desire.
The fruit of the vine, together with olive oil, which I have been producing for many years, is a primordial symbol of the Earth that has been handed down to us from time immemorial. I imagine wine from Solomeo as an act of filial sacredness towards the Earth, which inspires me in every choice, in life, in work, in the enchanted landscape.
In Theogony, ancient Greek poet Hesiod invoked thusly “To Gaea, The Mother of All”:
“I will sing of well-founded Gaia, mother of all, eldest of all beings. She feeds all the creatures that are in the worlds, all that go upon the goodly land, and all that are in the paths of the seas, and all that fly: all these are fed of her store. Through you, O queen, men are blessed in their children and blessed in their harvests”.
I already feel like I can see the dawning of a bright future where hi-tech, in harmony with biology, will increasingly be a precious tool for humanity, aware of the great symbols, the great ideals, the congenital values of the human species. Among these values, wine is one of the noblest, a source of that wisdom whose father was Dionysus, and which, regulated by Apollo according to what Nietzsche tells us, is the most human and complete form of knowledge.’
For more information about the Solomeo Winery and Vineyard, please send an email to email@example.com
Brunello Cucinelli with his family at the presentation event for the first year of production of Castello di Solomeo wine in Milan, November 2022