Tastes that transport to Tuscany

The sensory trigger of tasting wine serves as time travel for many aficionados. Why? Consider this: if you’ve ever visited Chianti’s wine region and then, years later, opened a bottle you selected as interesting (was it the artsy label that caught your eye?), that first sip is sure to send you back in time to your last visit.

Art is also in the mix of wine tasting; the association of the two are no surprise to wine afficionados who understand the artisanal aspects of winemaking. Beyond winemaking, to create a label, and variations that include adding the logo and brand name, lead to cleverly naming of wine blends. And sometimes there are labels that are actual works of art.

il Molino di Grace Toscana Gratius 2017 is one such bottle with a label that almost overshadows the Super Tuscan wine-tasting experience. Yes, the Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Colorino grapes were blended to perfection, but that label, titled “Bouquet of Grace,” created by famed artist and sommelier of Harry’s Bar in London, the late Valentino Monticello, is, well… ammazza!

Opening a bottle of il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 ($33) during a food and wine pairing dinner… with fettuccine and mushrooms drizzled in truffle oil, was a transport to my 2015 stay at Castelfalfi in the heart of Tuscany. The hills of Panzano, where the Molino di Grace winery is located, is a mere hour drive from Castelfalfi.

Wine and art fueled the vision of winery founder of il Molino di Grace, Frank Grace. A visit would be awe-inspiring with sculptures adorning the vineyards and art canvassing the cellar. In fact, 23 unique pieces created by Monticello are on display at this winery, including the “Wine as Art” collection and the series “The Life of Bacchus.”

Since the 1980s, the Grace Family has adored Monticello’s art, as well as his idea to name “Gratius” on the signature Super Tuscan label.

Daniel Grace, son of Frank and Director of the winery, said, “My family is proud to honor Valentino Monticello’s timeless legacy and truly unique art-form with the commemorative 2017 Gratius label – the 20th vintage of this authentic wine he originally named.”

During yet another Italian-themed wine pairing dinner, the Gratius proved to be a fan favorite. However, the 2015 Gran Selezione Il Margone ($40) stole the show on this oenophile’s palate.

Anyone who sips this wine will feel ‘gratus,’ a.k.a. gratitude. For more information, please visit www.ilmolinodigrace.it

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