Love and Passion of a Family for Four Generations
The Antica Cantina Leonardi was established in Montefiascone early in the 1900s by the passion of a young entrepreneur, in love with his land and its wines.
In a terroir dedicated for millennia to the cultivation of the grape and the making of wine, Domenico Leonardi established the foundations of what would become the most historic and prestigious winery of the area, with a family tradition now extending over four generations, that has experienced all of the changes in winemaking techniques of the last century.
Throughout this long period, until the present day, we have focused on two fundamental elements: A passion for wine and the historic, ever-present “Est! Est!! Est!!!” wine, which dominates the scene.
Our terroir is a land dedicated for millennia to the cultivation of the grape and the making of wine.
Montefiascone, in the Province of Viterbo, stands on the highest hill in the Monti Volsini range, on the southeast shore of Lake Bolsena.
At 600 meters above sea level, in Alta Tuscia (Northern Lazio), between Umbria and Tuscany, Montefiascone is located in a strategic position, which together with the special configuration of the territory, has allowed this small town to make a name for itself in the world of wine-producing.
The explosive origins of Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in all of Europe, have made the area particularly fertile, thanks to the presence of lava-enriched material in the soil.
From the Middle Ages onward, Montefiascone, located at the 100 kilometer mark from Rome on the pilgrim road from Northern Europe called the Via Francigena, was considered a center of great importance and, under papal rule, experienced a period of great splendor.
The legend of Defuk, which has made Montefiascone and its “Est! Est!! Est!!!” wine so famous goes back to the year 1111.
THE LEGEND OF EST! EST!! EST!!!
The hero of this legend is John Defuk, a nobleman in the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, and a great gourmet of good wine. During the travels of the imperial court, Defuk was accustomed to send his servant Martin ahead, to find the best wine cellars and taverns in the towns on the Emperor’s route. By writing “Est!” (The wine here is good) on the door of the cellar or tavern, Martin signaled to his master that the wine inside was the good wine that Defuk sought. The story goes that on his way through the town of Montefiascone, the trusted servant was so impressed with the high quality of the local wine that he indicated it by writing “Est! Est!! Est!!!,” (The wine here is, is, is good). The nobleman, who, on his own tasting, truly appeciated the wine of Montefiascone, stayed in town a few extra days, then decided to abandon the Emperor’s court and to remain here permanently to continue to enjoy the great wine of the town. And he drank so much of it that, two years later, in 1113, he took ill and died of an excess of wine and is buried here in the church of San Flaviano. In recognition of the hospitality he received in Montefiascone, and as a final homage to the local wine that he loved so much, Defuk left all of his worldy goods as an inheritance to the town, on the condition that, every year, on the anniversary of his death, a barrel of Est! Est!! Est!!! wine would be poured over his tomb, a ritual that is still performed to this day. Every year, in fact, during the Fiera del Vino (Wine Fair) that takes place in August, the people of Montefiascone re-enact a medieval courtege, in historic costumes, dedicated to Defuk and his legend.