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Cantina Fratelli Pardi

Cantina Fratelli Pardi was established in 1919 by brothers Alfredo, Francesco and Alberto Pardi, and at that time the winery was housed in the ground floor of the San Marco hospital, within the grounds of the Saint Francis monastery in Montefalco. The grapes they pressed were either grown in their own vineyards or were purchased from local growers and they produced both red and white wines. Sagrantino was important even then, but in those days it was used exclusively to make a sweeter, passito (dried grape) wine, Umbria’s version of Recioto. The Pardi brothers sold their wines across Umbria as well as to important customers further afield, one of which was the Vatican.

In the years following Alberto’s untimely death in 1943, the founders’ sons closed the winery to concentrate on other business interests, founding the Tessitura Pardi weaving mill in 1949. However, Alberto’s son, Rio, wanted to maintain his family’s winemaking traditions and skills and he continued to produce small quantities of Sagrantino Passito at his own house.

In 1990, Alberto and Agostino Pardi, the managers of Tessitura Pardi, required more space for their textile operations and moved the weaving mill out of Montefalco to new, larger premises. In 2002, their children, Francesco, Gianluca Rio and Alberto Mario, rekindled the Pardi’s passion for winemaking when they restored the old family buildings and revived their great-grandfathers’ winery.

Montefalco is known as “The Balcony of Umbria” thanks to its extraordinary geographical position: it is located on a hilltop and overlooks the valleys of the Clitunno, Topino and Tiber rivers. After the fall of the Roman Empire various settlements sprang up in the area, possibly on the ruins of the Roman villas, one of which was Montefalco. Historically known as Coccorone, between late 1249 and early 1250 this settlement was renamed Montefalco, probably owing to the falcons of the Swabian Emperor Frederick II. The Emperor visited the town from 9th to 13th February 1240, evidenced by the arch that was built in his honour.

Montefalco is famous for the frescoes of its churches and they are important references of Umbrian painting, as well as for the production of wine. In 1340, an order of Franciscan friars settled in the building of Saint Francis and started growing vines and producing wine. The municipal statutes recognised the importance of the surrounding land and the wines it produced, fixing the dates and the rules for the vintage and for the sale of wine. A system of severe punishments was established for anyone who damaged or stole from the vineyards. Nowadays, the Saint Francis monastery is a museum and it is the symbol of Montefalco’s proud wine producing history.

The story of the Pardi’s current winery begins in 2003, and the whole business is run from within it ancient walls. The wine-making room is equipped with modern stainless steel tanks and an underground ageing cellar is filled both with French barriques and with traditional large barrels made of oak from the Alps and Slavonia.

The Fratelli Pardi vineyards extend for about 11 hectares and are all located in Montefalco, along the gentle hills of Casale, Campolungo, Pietrauta and Lasignano. The choice of these areas is the result of the long winemaking experience of the family and its understanding of the terroir and traditions of the region. Ever mindful of the quality of its wines and respectful of regional production regulations, the Pardi family cultivates and harvests its vineyards entirely by hand.
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