The La Palazza estate, owned by the Drei Donà counts, extends over the hills of Romagna on the southern slopes of the Tesoro road, in the center of a hillside triangle which has its apex in the cities of Forlì, Castrocaro Terme, and Tredappio. It is a natural amphitheater in the heart of the most classic zone for Sangiovese di Romagna, south-southeast in exposure at an altitude between 350 and 500 feet above sea level. It is in a strategic position at the mouth of the valley of the Rabbi and Montone rivers, and is built around one of the towers which Caterina Sforza erected in to defend her territories in 1481. The estate, composed of three different farms – Palazza, Morettina, and Valentina – was purchased by the Drei Donà family in 1927. Fundamental changes only occurred in the 1980’s, however, when owner Claudio Drei Donà, who had abandoned his legal practice to take charge of the property, imposed a radical change of course, orienting production towards the achievement of the highest possible quality. The estate is almost 75 acres in size, and the largest part is planted to vines. The dominant variety is, obviously, Sangiovese. The owner has worked with rigor and maximum scrupulousness on behalf of the grape: the older vineyards have been carefully studied in order to create an experimental vineyard with six types of clones; a mass selection was then carried out in order to identify a “Palazza selection” for the replanting of the vineyards. The results achieved with this philosophy by Claudio Drei Donà, working with his son Enrico, are demonstrated by the excellence of the wines, all named – rather unusually – after the horses which the family raises. The most important wine of the estate is a Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore, Il Pruno Riserva. It success has been gained by fermenting it, since the beginning, with the objective of expressing a Sangiovese di Romagna, not as a trendy wine of the moment which masks its personality in an attempt to appeal to everyone. But, although native varieties are given a privileged place in the estate’s priorities, the family has no prejudices towards international varieties: a Chardonnay, Tornese, is produced in two small vineyards, along with Magnificat, an impressive Cabernet Sauvignon. The pride of the estate is Graf Noir, a blend of Sangiovese, Negretot Longanesi (an old native grape), and Cabernet Franc, all cultivated in a tiny two acre vineyard. These are the three wines which represent the best that can be produced with a modern spirit in this area, one with a long history of fine wine.