Frescobaldi, Girolamo, 1583-1643, Italian organist and composer. He became organist at St. Peter's in Rome in 1608, where huge crowds came during most of his life to hear him play and improvise. From 1628 to 1634 he was organist at the court of the Medici in Florence. Through his pupil Johann Froberger, who carried his style to Germany, Frescobaldi's "noble" style and technique of improvisation influenced German organ style through the time of J. S. Bach. Besides numerous works for organ, he wrote some instrumental and vocal music.
The Frescobaldi Family is a prominent Florentine family that has been involved in the political, sociological and economic history of the Tuscany region since the Middle Ages. As bankers, the Frescobaldis financed ventures for numerous members of European Royal Households, including the wars of King Edward I & Edward II of England. The Frescobaldi family also served as papal tax gathers in England to finance the Crusades. The prominent Italian composer Girolamo Frescobaldi was a member of this family.

The family is currently headed by Marquis Vittorio Frescobaldi, in fact Vittorio Frescobaldi Franceschi Marini, and his brothers Marquis Ferdinando De' Frescobaldi Franceschi Marini and Leonardo De' Frescobaldi Franceschi Marini. The Frescobaldi family operates the wine producer Marchesi de' Frescobaldi and is behind the Laudemio brand of Italian olive oil.

History of wine production

The Frescobaldi family began producing Tuscan wine in 1308 and soon developed a notable client base. In exchange for exclusive paintings, the Frescobaldis traded their wine with the Italian Renaissance painter Michelangelo. The family also supplied wine to Henry VIII and have contracts in their family archives signed by the English King.

The agronomist Vittorio degli Albizi was an in-law of the Frescobaldi family through the marriage of his sister Leonida to Angiolo Frescobaldi and with Frescobaldi financing was able to pioneer modern wine production techniques in Tuscany. In 1855, Albizi introduced Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot vines to the region.

Partnership with Mondavi

In 1995 the Frescobaldi family's Marchesi de' Frescobaldi entered into a joint venture with Robert Mondavi Winery to produce Tuscan wine. The joint venture produced several labels including Danzante, Luce della Vite, and the Wine Spectator "2001 Wine of the Year" Ornellaia. Following the acquisition of Mondavi by Constellation Brands in December of 2004, the Frescobaldi family has been attempting to gain full control of the Tuscan ventures. In March 2005, the family was able to acquire control of Luce della Vite and Ornellaia in April 2005.

Fraud allegations

In 2005, Marchesi de' Frescobaldi was investigated by the Italian government on allegation of fraud in their wine making at their Castiglione in Val di Pesa property and bottling facility near Pontassieve. The wine producer was suspected of importing grapes from outside the Tuscan region and labelling them as "Tuscan grown" for benefits of DOC & DOCG appellation labeling. In 2008 Frescobaldi was implicated in an investigation involving fraudulent Brunello di Montalcino wine of the 2003 vintage in a scandal termed Brunellopoli by Italian newspapers. Although offered an out-of-court settlement, Marchesi de' Frescobaldi has opted go to court to clear its name of the allegations.

Tenute di Toscana

In May 2006, the Frescobaldi family merged their Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, Castel Giocondo and Luce della Vite wine holdings into a new venture partnership, Tenute di Toscana, with Stolichnaya Vodka and Michael Mondavi.


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