When we arrived at Paradiso di Frassina it was pitch black outside. Slowly, the car drove up a gravel road and although we didn’t see a thing, we knew we were surrounded by vineyards. Then, as we approached the parking lot and I stepped out of the car, I heard it. Mozart.
Of course, I wouldn’t know it was Mozart. Although I’ve played the violin for 9 years I couldn’t name all of Mozart’s oeuvres. But there we were, somewhere close to Montalcino, listening to classical music streaming out of the speakers and into the night.
Giancarlo Cignozzi, a lawyer turned viticulturist, moved here in the 00s and brought sweet music with him to the Tuscan hills. That night, when we first heard Mozart playing, Mr. Cignozzi welcomed us to his rustic and cosy accomodation at one of the farmhouses in Frassina. I was exhausted from our hiking in Portofino earlier that day and yearned for nothing else than to crawl up in the inviting bed. Mr. Cignozzi took a look at my traveller-weary mien and reassured me, with a wink, that the music would stop playing around 10pm.
Paradiso di Frassina is a fantastic estate. Music is played to the vines throughout the day, as research has showed that where the music reaches, the leaves and the roots grow thicker and bigger. Can you imagine waking up in the morning, the autumn air slightly crisp, the skies incredibly blue and all you see is rows upon rows of vines surrounding the farmhouses? Add to that that you hear Mozart being played in the background, and you really do understand why it’s called Paradiso di Frassina.
The estate has that dream or movie-like quality about it and you can’t describe it in any other way than sounding absolutely poetic or fanatic.
You would think that this music therapy is therapy not only for the vines, but also for the locals picking the grapes. Not so. Mr. Cignozzi told us, at our wine tasting session later that morning, that the odd complaint do filter through as people get sick of the incessant playing of Mozart too. I guess some just prefer the radio…
At our tasting we tried three of the different organic wines produced in Frassina (Gea, 12 Uve and Brunello di Montalcino). We had tasted them before, actually at home at many dinners, and knew they were good, especially the Brunello. Since our tasting was at noon, we decided it was time for us to have lunch before the Brunello got too merry in our systems.
When we left the vineyards, with quite some wine in the trunk, I think we both felt we’d experienced something out of the ordinary.