“Should I call you Count?”. “No, just Lucio”. With these words Lucio Tasca d’Almerita breaks the ice. Class 1940 and icon of the excellence of Sicilian wine throughout the world.
We meet at Villa Tasca, historic family residence, deep in the green of the extended park of the Conca d’Oro gardens, in what was once the outskirts of Palermo. A name that recalls the elegance of award winning wines, the allure of family traditions that stretch out to 1830, year of the foundation of the winery in the Regaleali feud. The most ancient winery located between the provinces of Palermo and Caltanissetta.
Lucio Tasca quietly opens the door that leads to memories. “I am particularly attached to Villa Tasca because from this estate’s vines we produced Camastra our first wine. It obtained great success and until 1950 it was still in the Wine List of the Hotel Plaza of New York. Great prelude of a 150 year success with an actual production of tre million bottles. “Today we are present in 62 countries. Right this year we’ve exceeded the 50% quota of our presence abroad”, proundly says the former company president, now retired. “I have left the reins to my sons Giuseppe as vice-president and Alberto as chief executive, although we continue taking important decisions together.” It’s the passion for work, a pinch of luck and an attitude towards fatigue, the key to success. “The same as high mountain countrym en as my family from Mistretta origins, a village near the Nebrodi mountains. A place in which hard labor was necessary to obtain results. The perseverance to improve and not rest on ou laurels”
LUCIO TASCA, YESTERDAY: The free-spirit young Lucio, as all youngsters of today and yesterday in debate with his father Giuseppe, who he truly loves.
He obtains his degree “for cortesy” as he says, because he has no intention of working in a bank. For many years he goes after the company from the “outside” without any pay. To have economic authonomy he experienced various activities as establishing a knitwear factory, opens a florist, then an automobile dealer. “At the end I gave up! These activities were not for me!” The changement takes place in the 80’s, when the estate activities are more demanding and Lucio has his own family. He decides to take over and does it his own way: innovating. The confrontation with his father doesn’t stop his intentions and he is right. Next to the authoctonous vines he plants rootlings imported from France and ingrains a crucial turning point in Sicily’s winemaking. There are four cultivars of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. After three years I make a mini experiment producing a “dermijohn of wine”. A great success! The Tasca d’Almerita Cabernet Sauvignon is the first cabernet sauvignon monovarietal produced in Sicily. Toigether with the chardonnay monovarietal and the Rosso del Conte, these are the wines to which I am most fond of. I consider them my oenologic sons”.
In 1987 Lucio Tasca, at the age of 48, receives his first pay from his father. At that moment he confirmed his freedom. “It a value to defend”, he says without regret, “although there is a price to be paid”.
THE MISSION: The lion and sun winery has extended its project on the Salina Island where the five-star Capofaro Malvasia Resort is associated to the production of the Malvasia wine and the Mozia project for which the management of grillo grape vineyards were consigned by the Whitaker Foundation. Now also the Etna estate and recently the Sallier de la Tour estate in province of Palermo. Diverse microcosm with an identical mission: the perpetual search for quality in sustainable respect of the environment.
LUCIO TASCA – AWARDS – Many recognitions for his entrepreneurial activity. There is a particular award to which he is particularly fond of: “the Gran Vinitaly Award 2007, because that same year Corinne Mentzepoulos of the Chateau Margaux had received the same award. A great satisfaction for me, my winery, my land, to be awarded with the prestigious maison of French wines”.
LUCIO TASCA – CONSIDERATIONS – “ I consider myself a very lucky man,” he says, “I’ve had a nice work, a nice residence where my sons live, and most important, the greatest joys have been given to me by my family. I have a particular relation with money: I am in disagreeance with money. As for what concerns love…I haven’t understood it yet. Although women”, he says as connoisseur, “are the joy of life. About friendship, instead, my ideas are clear: having real friends is the nicest thing, to avoid psycoanalysis.”. Fond of hunting, fishing and going by boat, he has traveled world-wide for work and leisure. A trip in Africa truly impresed him, “ I have adopted nine children all over the world and as Christian devotee, I devolve 5 per thousand to the Catholic Church.”
LUCIO TASCA AND HIS FAMILY – The family is the center of his life. He has four children, Giuseppe, Alberto, Franca and Alessandra, and six grandchildren with one yet to arrive. “To say the truth, I’m not good at being a grandfather,” he confesses, “when I see them so tiny in the crib, I feel inadequate”. Thing get better as they grow, “I have a good relation with my 18 year-old grandson, Lucio. I invite him over and we have lunch together and we just talk about everything, including girls.” He shows me a picture where they are one next to the other with their heads leaning and Lucio Senoir’s arm around Lucio Jr’s shoulder. Two peas in a pod with the same smile: “Look how handsome my grandson is!” and his eyes shine with joy.
Maria Lina Bommarito