My origins are summed up in the symbol of the estate, which combines the deepest meanings of my roots. In the middle of the symbol is the almond, the secret of the peasant society from which I come. The almond is formed by two arcs that meet, one in the centre of the other: from this union comes the hearth, the keeper of ancient traditions.
I have researched my background, my family’s history, in documentary evidence from the late 1700s. That is when my great-great-grandfather, Pantaleone Forte, was born. Pantaleone was a true countryman, forged by sweat, labour, discipline, by the rhythms of people and nature, of tradition and culture united with a great passion for the earth and its animals. From these rituals and customs and the union between people and nature comes folk memory, the keeper of the secret, of the burning fire, that grows but does not consume.
It started with the logo: that is how I summarise my vision of a farmer going back, in my memory, to my great-great-grandfather Pantaleone Forte, peasant, keeper of the secret of the almond. Pantaleone became father to Pasquale, who was his faithful successor, respecting and enriching the work done by his ancestors. In his turn, Pasquale passed the baton and the guardianship of his values to his son, who was given his great-great-grandfather’s name, Pantaleone. My grandfather Pantaleone passed down the art of the cultivation of the soil and the breeding of animals to his son Giuseppe, my father. My father was a great farmer, a man of strength and balance, a tireless worker, motivated and inspired by the passion and tradition he learned from his father Pantaleone. He was the new keeper of my family’s folk memory. One day, Cupid’s arrow hit Giuseppe and Giuseppina, who were joined in a solid marriage, building a new family. From their love, I and my brothers were born.
I had a rich, happy childhood, until the day when circumstances forced my family to take a tough decision: to leave Calabria, the fields of the family farm, to move to the province of Como in the north of Italy. A silent and sad move, a sudden tearing up of our roots. Despite that, our family values did not allow complaint, just rolling up our sleeves, starting a new life, as my name Pasquale [Paschal] implies.
I found Podere Petrucci one day in 1997. When I set foot here that day, my first step showed me the marvel, my second what it could become. That day, not only did the almond knock on the door of my heart, it opened it. Podere Petrucci became the base for my return to my roots, re-establishing the foundations of my family’s origins. In honour of my background, I gave this place the name Podere Forte. However, it was important to me to keep alive the story of the Petrucci family, one of the most important Sienese houses of the XVth and XVIth centuries. The family dominated the political scene in Siena, especially Pandolfo, Bartolomeo and Giacoppo, known as “the Magnificent”.
The respect I have for the Petrucci estate and its origins made me call the top wine of the estate “Petrucci”. In honour of my grandfather, my great-great-grandfather and my borther, all called Pantaleone, I have put a pair of winged lions at the entrance to the winery; they are the custodians of fire, which is what the name Pantaleone means. I am convinced that a man without values is a man without roots, and I always remember that when I start the day, taking the first definite and delicate steps in this beautiful environment. On the estate I have chosen to work the earth, raise animals with respect, following both organic and biodynamic methods. Oil, ancient grains, vegetables and fruits are kindred of the central focus, the sacred fire of this macrocosm: wine.
Wine is at the centre of the estate because our job is to follow the millennial tradition, of which wine is the messenger, the memory of the growth and cultural unity of peoples. The vine, in so many old texts, is associated with the symbol of the lion, faithful companion to the finish on the grape’s journey to the harvest, a sacred moment in which the fire is extracted, the energy of the wine contained in the secrets of the vine. Through several ritual steps it reaches the oak barrels and finally the bottle. The bottles will travel around the world and carry the memory and flavour of this place. Thinking about wine’s destiny, I feel responsibility first and then a great joy. Wine is drunk to remember, not to forget. The memory of my past has become my present, will become the future for my sons and the generations to come.
Memory is always a germ of new life in the endless succession.