Researchers Recreated Wine from Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard
A limited run of 330 bottles is set to be auctioned off.
Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian living in the 15th century—so you probably aren't shocked to learn that he loved wine. And as a literal "Renaissance man" who excelled at many disciplines, you're also likely not surprised that he had his own vineyard. But here is a shocker: Exactly five hundred years after his death, an Italian winery is releasing a recreation of the wine da Vinci produced on this land, finally giving modern oenophiles a chance to appreciate the artist's work with their taste buds instead of their eyes.
Recreating a more than five century old wine wasn't easy. According to The Telegraph, the project began by digging through rubble in Milan in an area that once held a vineyard given to da Vinci as compensation for painting The Last Supper in 1499. The historic plot was destroyed during World War II, but the team of researchers discovered roots underground which they determined were the white varietal Malvasia di Candia Aromatica. A matching clone of this vine was then found in the Emilia-Romagna region and brought to Milan for planting in 2015.
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"We had to dig deep down beneath the rubble and then the soil to find the stumps of the original vines," Attilio Scienza, an Italian expert on the DNA of vines and professor at the Università degli Studi in Milan, told the British paper. "They had been preserved by the ash and rubble. We've managed to exactly recreate the vineyard from maps that Leonardo drew. It's been an extraordinary experience."
Last year, the vines produced their first harvest, and this year, the first bottles are finally being put up for auction. However, sadly, scoring this Da Vinci wine—which is called La Vigna di Milano (a.k.a. The Vineyard of Milan)—will not be easy. Only 330 bottles (not cases, bottles) were produced, and apparently they will only be sold during an as-of-yet undisclosed auction next month. The wine was produced in partnership with La Vigna di Leonardo, who have turned the vineyard space into a museum, so ostensibly the proceeds will at least benefit that cause.
Meanwhile, if you do manage to try it, winemaker Giovannella Fugazza of Castello di Luzzano, the winery where the final product was produced, hopes you'd be getting something close to what Da Vinci sipped. "It's dry, aromatic and very particular," she told the Telegraph. "We made it using the techniques of the past, including terracotta amphorae. It is exactly the wine that Leonardo would have known 500 years ago." Whether drinking it will turn you into a polymath genius is to be determined.