We know almost nothing of the life of Sante Lancerio, historian and geographer who in the sixteenth century was the bottler of Pope Paul III Farnese (pontiff from 1534 to 1549) and who is now considered the first sommelier in modern history.
Sante Lancerio is responsible for the procurement and service of his Holiness wine, on site and on the road. A service that he performed with skill and passion as shown in a letter addressed to Cardinal Guido Ascanio Sforza (1518-1564).
This unique document by Lancerio is considered the first testimony of Italian wine literature, where taste and aftertaste, appearance and aroma are analyzed as essential elements to consider together with mood, circumstances, and time of year, before drinking a wine.
At the time, wine was a fundamental component of banquets and Lancerio served it with his table perfectly set according to the dictates of the masters of the kitchen such as Giovanni de' Rosselli (16th century) and Bartolomeo Scappi (1500-1577).
About fifty are the wines taken into account by Lancerio, to be tasted according to the circumstances, the month, and the time of day. At the top of the preferences of the Pope's bottler, in front of Greco d'Ischia, Vernaccia di San Gemignano and Nobile di Montepulciano there is Malvasia, considered by far the best wine for the Pope's table.
Ferraro Giuseppe, I vini d'Italia. Giudicati da papa Paolo III (Farnese) e dal suo bottigliere Sante Lancerio. Livorno, Bastogi, 1973. Anastatic reprint of the edition of Roma, 1890; Idem, Alpignano, Tallone, 1991.
Lancerio Sante, I vini d’Italia nel Cinquecento. E note per chi viaggia oggidì. Introduzione di Luigi Veronelli. Milano, Veronelli, 1994.