India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
Tuscan Producer Lionello Marchesi

Posted: Tuesday, 21 August 2012 16:13

Passing By: Tuscan Producer Lionello Marchesi

August 21 : Lionello Marchesi, the Tuscan wine producer having the distinction of being perhaps the only one making all of the five important docg wines of Tuscany, is in India these days to launch 6 wines from his range in Mumbai and Goa, through Goa based Tonia Group. Subhash Arora tasted these wines and had a chat with him over dinner in Hotel Hilton, Janakpuri.

Click For Large ViewLionello Marchesi is a Milanese industrialist who owns the label Lionelle Marchesi. The brochure of these wines shows him as the Inventor and Winemaker. Sitting on the barriques of one of his wineries with a glass of wine in his hand, he looks more like a successful businessman perhaps with a penchant  for wine. He specialises in making seatbelts for buses, caravans and wheelchairs; in fact he claims to have invented the mechanism for seat belts that go over your shoulders and around the belly.

His passion for Tuscany and the Sangiovese grape made him invest in wine making in the region over 30 years ago. Starting with Castello di Monastero in the chianti classico area between Radda in Chianti and Castelnuovo Berardenga where he makes both Chianti Classico docg and Chianti Superiore docg, he went on to build the prestigious but small winery ColdiSole in Montalcino where he makes Brunello di Montalcino from 100% Sangiovese grape known as Sangiovese Grosso.

Keeping up with the business tradition set by most successful quality Chianti producers, he bought land near Grosseto where he set up Poggio alle Sughere in the Maremma area where he owns 16 hA of southwest facing vineyards and produces yet another docg wine of Tuscany- Morellino di Scansano. As if to own all the docg jewels of Tuscany, he even owns Pieve Petroio near lake Trasimeno in Montepulciano where he grows Prugnolo Gentile (local clone of Sangiovese) to make Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg- one of the highly coveted Tuscan wines falling in between the structured Brunello and the perfumed Chianti Classico. His love for Sangiovese is evident; he uses 100% of the grape whereas a minimum of only 70% needs to be used for the docg appellation.

Lionello claims to be the only producer owning wineries that produce all the five most famous DOCG wines in Tuscany- Chianti Classico, Chianti Superiore, Morellino di Scansano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino. He can thus claim to offer Sangiovese in all its diversity and blends with other varieties. His 1000 hA total estate includes 85 hA of vineyards that help him make 35,000- 40,000 cases of wine every year. He does not buy any grapes or juice from outside and uses only his estate grown fruit.

I first met Lionello in India about 6 years ago when I presented a bouquet of wines from different Italian wineries including Castello do Monastero in Delhi and Mumbai. He was then equally excited about his agriturismo built in a medieval castle near Castelnuovo Berardenga. He has sold off a majority of shares, keeping only 10% with him: it’s now a 5-star resort and spa. ‘If you don’t know the hotel business, your head can get chopped off,’ he says smilingly. ‘Besides, I wanted to focus on my core business and passion-wine.’ Although he still lives near Milan and controls the wine estates through a string of managers at each place, he has weaned himself from the seat business and lets his daughter handle it, so that he may focus on marketing and other issues of his wine estates.

His passion for India and desire to sell never diminished; he has visited 4 more times in what might be considered persistent efforts to make the presence of Lionello Marchesi label felt. He has finally tied up with the Goa-based importer, Tonia Group owned by Mario Sequeira who has so far been dabbling with the production of low end Indian wines; coming from a strong political family, he plans to sell over 200,000 cases this year (he claims to have sold 130,000 cases last year. Mario is the undisputed king of wines in a category the ‘mainstream’ producers don’t like to talk about - except that everyone has been trying to catch up with the big numbers these wines generate. Sula, John Distilleries are just a couple of examples of the wine producers quietly cashing in on this un-noticed but fastest growing segment.

Lionello is Italian, looks Italian, talks like one but there is something missing in his traits that would indicate he is perhaps not - he does not eat garlic. He is almost allergic to the word. Italian cuisine without garlic is like Indian food without onions (although many people in India don’t eat onions for religious reasons). The chef at the Pomodoro Restaurant at Hilton Janakpuri was responsive enough to quickly rustle up a fancy platter of breads, which some may call Italian naan but I would call it a delectable pizza bianca. It was not surprising that the meal was up to the mark as was the presentation. The staff is very courteous. West Delhi folks don’t have to wade theri way through traffic anymore to come to town to enjoy nice Italian cuisine which was a perfect choice for the Chianti Classico and  Sangiovese but paled against the fuller-bodied, elegant and harmonious Brunello di Montalcino 2004 (an outstanding vintage that has now become drinkable).

Click For Large ViewLionello Marchesi wines will have mixed reception in the Indian market. Brunello is known for limited takers. Where it will score is the wines from Maremma and also the Chianti wines - some of their wines are excellent value-for-money food wines-for example Sangiovese IGT.  Lionello should also be aided by the fact that Mario has just gotten into mainstream imports at national level and would muster all his resources to help him as an importer with a class. Since the Goa market is not going to get him so much business, he would need to reach out in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

Subhash Arora



Mario Sequeira Says:

Thank you very much Subhashji. It was a privilege to spend time with you. I look forward to meeting you again. Warm regards Mario

Posted @ August 28, 2012 14:57


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet