Last weekend from Friday 15th June thousands of lovers of vintage cycling, Great British life, fashion and wine flocked to Friden Grange in the Peak District for the fifth annual Eroica Britannia.
Since its launch five years ago this stylish British edition of the original Italian L’Eroica classic ridden on the famous “Strade Bianche” (white roads) of Tuscany, has grown in popularity become famous with enthusiasts and their families who come together for a 3-day celebration of the good life and the bike.
Paolo Bianchini – the man behind the renowned Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragana wine of Montalcino, has this year joined them, uniting his two great passions – cycling and winemaking. Once a pro cyclist in the Colnago professional team, Paolo hung up his pedals to lead his family wine business, but so intertwined are his two passions that he has found the two worlds naturally fit together. The strong relationships Paolo has formed with likeminded people who share his passion for both was the foundation of the Ciacci partnership with the Mentzendorff business in UK and Eroica Britannia, for whom Paolo has produced a wine specially available only at the festival.
Paolo recalls, “I was a professional cyclist, it was my job, when I stopped racing wine became my job and I continue to combine the two loves of my life as I believe that cycling and wine require the same combination of passion, commitment and persistence in the face of challenges. I look for people who also share this passion and qualities and was very happy to meet Andrew Hawes and then the Mentzendorff team who are our new UK importers; it was a great pleasure for me to ride Eroica Britannia with them.”
The cycling is at the very heart of the Ciacci and Mentzendorff relationship, with Andrew Hawes Managing Director adding: “we (Mentzendorff) had been looking to develop our Italian portfolio and it was only natural that I first met Paolo at the famous “Strade Bianche” Gran Fondo in Siena, it was terrible weather, Paolo finished 3rd in our veteran class, I finished 3rd last but the connection was made and it is wonderful to be here together 2 yrs later at Eroica Britannia with our teams riding and also showing the wonderful Ciacci wines to everyone at the festival where they seem to have been very much appreciated. ”
‘Eroica Britannia’ is the largest event in the global Eroica family, attracting over 4,500 riders and 10,000 visitors a day. In the beautiful Peak District National Park the festival celebrates Italian heritage with the best food & drink, outfitting & style, craftsmanship, music & entertainment with the joy of cycling leading the way.
As the Eroica Britannia official wine sponsor Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona had a fantastic selection of wines available for festival goers, including a Ciacci Limited Edition Eroica Britannia bottle!