Once upon a time, there was a large estate dating from the 18th century. Its name was Sansonina, after the biblical Samson (Old Testament, Book of Judges), in Italian: Sansone. It was situated near the southern end of Lake Garda, the largest lake in northern Italy, not far from Verona. The peninsula of Sirmione is very close, reminding us that we are here on the border between the regions of Veneto and Lombardy.
The breathtaking landscape with the presence of both lake and mountains attracted visitors since Roman times. Indeed, near Sirmione the lyrical poet Catullus (1st century BC) owned a villa, and in Desenzano lies a very large country villa dating to the Late Antiquity. Wine growing was popular then, as it is now, made agreeable by the mild and warm climate.
At the Sansonina estate some of the vineyards, which grew mainly Merlot grapes, were over 80 years old, and most of them over 25, when in the mid nineteen nineties Carla Prospero acquired it.
Actually, Sansonina lies in a zone that is famous for its production of the Lugana white wine (made of Trebbiano di Lugana grapes). Yet Carla Prospero did not consider of giving up the old Merlot , planted with only some 1500 vines per hectare. Quite on the contrary, she decided to take up the challenge and continue to grow red ones in this traditional white-wined area.
The original 3 hectares of vineyards were extended to 12, of which 6,5 hectares are planted with Merlot, and 2 with Cabernet Sauvignon. The density has increased enormously: from 1500 to 8700 vines.
The grapes are treated with respect and are allowed to age in new French barriques. The first vintage was due in 1997 and turned out to be very promising.
While the white Lugana is considered feminine, the name Samson and the strong red Merlot of course stand for masculinity, even virility, if you like. This dualism attracted Carla Prospero very much and she has since then succeeded in producing a powerful and elegant red wine, thus showing the vigour that female expertise and knowledge can achieve!