The genesis of Il Molino di Grace is an unlikely tale. Transplanted Ohioan Frank Grace moved to Tuscany in the early 1990’s for a job transfer. What happened next is best told over a few shots of Grappa, but by mid 1995, Il Molino di Grace was born. Originally run by Monks, the estate is now in the hands of Frank’s two sons Tim and Daniel.
The estate’s 25 hectares of vineyards lie approximately 400 meters above sea level and are predominantly planted with Sangiovese. Certified organic since the 2010 vintage, the wine-making is in the capable hands of Franco Bernabei. The Grace’s mission is simple: to bottle the most authentic expression of Sangiovese that the picturesque Chianti hills deserve. For them, it’s about nature.
Tim Grace has always told me that he wants his wines to be affordable. As a result, they take pricing seriously. A few years ago I came across his 2012 Gran Selezione on a list in Michigan priced very fairly. Recently, I came across this article’s subject at a local Wine Shop; again at a compelling price. But fair pricing and availability aren’t the only pillars the Grace’s insist on. They take pride in the fully organic farming they practice.
Tim is quick to relate: “We make every effort to be a sustainable, bio-dynamic winery. We plow each vineyard only once every three years to the most shallow depths between the rows. We use the cuttings from the vines to fuel the heating and air conditioning in the winery, thus eliminating the use of gas. All of the fertilizer used in the vineyards is organic, the yeast is indigenous, and the grapes are harvested and picked by hand. Farming sustainably is a critical part of everything we do, and we are proud to have been designated Certified Organic since 2010.”
The 2011 Il Molino di Grace Gran Selezione is gorgeous. It is still a deep crimson color despite being 11 years old. The nose is maturing with a wide range of complexity. Crushed cherry is accented by toasted spice, worn leather, dried tobacco and hints of cured meat. On the palate, the sapid red fruits are juicy and lively. But the dried herb, worn leather, fennel and smoke notes form an interesting under current. This is a wonderful wine but for me, fully mature. Drink now and over the next 2 years. 94 points. About $34. Find this wine.
Have you tried the wines of Il Molino di Grace? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought!