The Heavyweight Champion of Legacy: Rocky Marciano Jr.

Study the man on the label: arms up, body twisted in a fighter’s stance. In black and white, the photo retains his focus, strength and, if you look closer, softness. Kindness. Next to him, the 49 denotes his status as the only World Heavyweight Champion to retire undefeated in the boxing ring with 49 victories. This is Rocky Marciano, and the wine is a product of love and remembrance by his son, Rocky Marciano Jr.

An Italian family, the elder Marciano was raised in Brockton, where the traditions surrounding community and home were prevalent. In his youth he helped his own father, who was from Ripa Teatina in Italy’s Abruzzo region, make wine with imported grapes and the wine press in their basement, which he often attributed his adult strength to. On the weekends, they would gather with family and friends for dinner and, of course, wine; and Scene’s publisher, Bobby DiMarzo, fondly remembers summertime picnics, weddings and holidays together and then putting boxing gloves on to square up against the heavyweight champ.

Rocky Marciano Jr., less than two years old when his father passed away, grew up physically outside of Brockton but emotionally and familially held ties there, a frequent visitor. He admires his father’s devotion to family and down-to-earth, respectful and approachable manner so many remember of him. Marciano Jr. carries those same qualities, the same gentleness in his eyes when he speaks about his family and the commitment to preserving tradition and closeness.

He says that this was a natural project to undertake, given his father’s ventures in the restaurant industry after retiring from the ring and the family’s homage to their culinary roots. There needed to be more substance to honoring Rocky Marciano Sr.’s legacy than simply a picture on a bottle, cueing the Masciarelli Wine Company. A meeting with the family at their castle in Abruzzo, lasting a couple of hours and acting as more of a catch-up between friends, solidified Marciano’s belief that this was the right connection.

Rocky Marciano Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Doc is a 2013 red with grapes grown through the Cantina Ripa Teatina in Italy and calls forward the warming flavors of vanilla, spices, liquorice, chocolate and red fruits. It is a wine for all occasions, one that can be poured at home for a night in or to be ordered on a night out. And it is, as Rocky Marciano Jr. says, another branch of the Italian tree.

What links Ripa Teatina and Brockton are their small communities of shared values for togetherness among family and friends and the sharing of food and wine. Both also see their people seeking better for themselves, whether within or beyond home, but never losing the strength of their relationships.

Masciarelli Wine Company is proud to help serve the memory of Rocky Marciano through his son’s wine. The first bottle was uncorked in mid-September at Eataly, with more events scheduled at the Masciarelli Trade Show and in the hometown of Rocky Marciano, Brockton. Here is where Marciano Jr. felt it right to first unveil his wine: home is home and community is community, no matter where individual paths veer.