Thanks to the foresight of their father Antonio, today the Aliani siblings produce high-quality wines. And the wineglasses are full of the taste of italian history
by Emanuela De Pinto
A trip, a road sign, a castle. It only took a glance for Antonio Aliani, en route from Puglia, to fall in love with this piece of land in Umbria. In Ramazzano-Le Pulci (Pg) 226 hectares of sun-kissed land and an old manor house were rising proudly up among the Altotiberini Hills. It was October 14, and he decided to purchase the entire property. Today, this is the place where the excellent wines of Cantine Aliani are produced.
“My father’s dream was to fix up this castle, built in the 12th century – Angela Aliani, the oldest of the three siblings, tells us – and start a farm.” For the Aliani siblings, always traveling back and forth between Umbria and Puglia, those were years of hard work and sacrifice. Today, the battle has been won. Sipping a glass of wine in the Castle of Ramazzano under a splendidly frescoed ceiling is like tasting the history of these walls.
They produce two whites. “Non Otium”, IGT from Umbria (60% Trebbiano, 40% Chardonnay), is lively with a bouquet of aromatic herbs. Excellent as an aperetif or with sushi. The name comes from a 16th century Benedictine fresco over the main fireplace, inviting us to “work without idling”. “Silentium,” a white DOC from the Altotiberini Hills (50% Trebbiano, 30% Grechetto, 20% Chardonnay), has golden tints and a name evocative of these quiet hills.
Then there are the two reds. “Leone XIII”, IGT from Umbria, (40% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot), with flavors of wood and liquorice. This wine takes its name from the pope who authored the encyclical ‘De Rerum Novarum’. The Castle, in fact, was sold to Camillo Pecci, the pope’s nephew, in the mid-1800s. “Castrum Ramaçani”, a red DOC (60% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet), has hints of flowers and red berries. Perfect with roasts. A tip from Puglia: try adding a spoonful to tortellini in meat broth. It’s called ‘Castrum’ because this has been the name given to the castle on lists of Perugian strongholds since 1258. The most recent addition is the “Castello di Ramazzano Rosè”, a rosé wine made with Sangiovese, of clear Puglian tradition.
The cantina has received many prizes. The “Silentium”, to name just one, won the silver medal at the world contest in Brussels in 2011. “Our cantina is highly esteemed in Germany and England – Vincenzo Aliani tells us – where they prefer reds with a stronger alcoholic content. Even in the United States, despite the unfavorable exchange rate, our wines do well.”
If today this spectacular manor house has come back to life with its court, its fireplaces, its frescoed rooms, where the grapevines are visible from the window as in a postcard, and this reawakening makes us feel a part of history, it’s all thanks to the Aliani family. You can celebrate a romantic wedding or even a graduation at the Castle of Ramazzano and take advantage of its fine scenery. Or you can just spend a night in the countryside with a bottle of good wine.