The 900 acre il Palagio estate, in the rolling hills of Tuscany, has long produced wine. When musician Sting and his wife, actress and producer Trudie Styler, purchased the land they had no intention of letting the vines go to waste. They brought on biodynamic wine consultant Alan York, revitalized and expanded the vineyard acreage, and bolstered the on-site staff—some of whom have worked the land for 50 years. il Palagio wine was reborn. The latest addition to the portfolio, Message in a Bottle, a 2011 Tuscan vintage, has finally made its way to the US (and beyond) and it just so happens to be a very good Toscana.
“When I say ‘try my wine,’ people look at me quizzically. Sure, I’ll try your rockstar wine. Then they taste it and recognize it’s good,” Sting shares with CH. The estate “was owned by a Duke who lived there with his family. His family was there for 400 years and he was not very wealthy anymore. We went to swim in this lake that was there, and the Duke asked if we would like to taste some of the wine. I said, ‘I’d love to taste some of the wine.’ It was a very nice red. It was fantastic. We decided to buy it,” he explains. “We kept the same manager and all of the workers. A couple of years into living there, I said to Paolo [the manager], ‘Our wine isn’t as good as the wine the Duke gave me to taste.’ He said, ‘Sting, that wine was from France.’ I knew I had to do something.” This motivated Sting and Styler to meet with York and go down the path of biodynamic winemaking, something York told him would allow il Palagio to create a taste profile unique to the property.
Styler’s family actually has a history in agriculture and it motivated her. “When we came to il Palagio, I could never stop myself from looking at the soil and thinking about what we could do with it. When I was looking at the parched soil of the vineyard—overgrown and sad—I knew I had to do something there,” she says. York told them that cleaning all the soil and invoking the biodynamic growth systems would energize the entire property. Styler agreed, concluding, “It invites life.” il Palagio produces olive oil and honey, in addition to their wines. But with Message in a Bottle, they’ve crafted something with broad appeal. The wine, 70% Sangiovese grape, 15% Syrah and 15% Merlot, offers gentle complexity and a nice spice to a well-rounded red with a touch of cherry. It’s a strong Tuscan option at a very reasonable price point.
Message in a Bottle is available on Amazon for $22.
Images courtesy of il Palagio