THE REGION ...

toscana (italy)  Tuscany's winemaking industry counts on one of the most noble and ancient traditions that predates the universally known Chianti wine that often springs to mind when this region is discussed.

The hilly soil and the weather conditions of Tuscany are ideal for grape growing and, with the passing centuries, the numerous types of grapes grown gave rise to some rare and much loved varieties. Nowadays, the most grown variety is the noble Sangiovese, which is often combined with small amounts of locally grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo and other grapes into wonderful blends such as the signature Tuscan wines, the Chianti and Chianti Classico, which probably are the best known Italian wines in the world.

OUR PRODUCERS ...

BOLSIGNANO
CASTELLO DI POTENTINO
MONTECALVI
PODERE IL CARNASCIALE
IL BALZO
AZIENDA AGRICOLA OSTRICHETTA
ROCCAPESTA
TENUTA IL PALAZZO
FABRIZIO DIONISIO
CASTELLO DI VICARELLO
VILLA MANGIACANE
 






BOLSIGNANO

Bolsignano Cellar The Bolsignano winery owned by Roberto Rubegni lies on a mere 3 hectares of a south-west facing slope in Montalcino at about 300 meters above sea level. The nearby mountain of "Monte Amiata" brings a particular climate to this particular part of Montalcino which is mostly dry summers and minimal rain in autumn. Both conditions types favor the perfect ripening of the Sangiovese Grosso grape. The tufa at Bolsignano is the perfect soil for producing age worthy wines. Wines from Bolsignano are representative of true wine of Montalcino. The production is very limited; 5,000 bottles of Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and 4,000 bottles of Rosso di Montalcino DOC are made. Roberto insists that he makes only one wine and that is Brunello. Not a Rosso and not a Brunello Riserva. All the work in the vineyards and in the cellar is intended for making Brunello. Roberto decides later which 30hl oak ovals are released early as Rosso di Montalcino making Bolsignano Rosso di Montalcino a re-classified Brunello.

BolsignanoFermentation
Roberto Rubegni is the brains and brawn behind the wines of Bolsignano. Roberto is a kind, generous and amazingly talented and knowledgeable Brunello producer. Roberto is a true artisan and his hands are capable of creating Sangiovese in a true Tuscan style.



  Bolsignano Brunello di Montalcino 50 Cases Imported
  Bolsignano Rosso di Montalcino 100 Cases Imported
 
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CASTELLO di POTENTINO

Once in a while we find a diamond in the rough. Castello di Potentino is exactly that brilliant diamond in the rough in the DOC of Montecucco. Deep in the foothills of Monte Amiata in a small town called Seggiano in the province of Grosseto is the beautiful and said to-be haunted Castello di Potentino by Charlotte Horton herself; the passionate and very personable owner of Castello di Potentino.

Charlotte (Greene) Horton and her family have owned different properties in the Tuscan Maremma for over 30 years. In 1989 for example the family purchased their first ruined castle which was the Castello di Montepo in Scansano. The restoration was completed, the vineyards had been planted and the winery had been built. 10 years later it was sold to the well-known wine producing family of Biondi Santi.

The second project is in fact Castello di Potentino. The first document to mention the Castello di Potentino dated back to 1042. The original foundation is believed to be Etruscan. Over the centuries the property passed through the hands of many well-known Tuscan families of noble descent. For many years Castello di Potentino had been abandoned, dilapidated and the grounds were overgrown but the potential was more than apparent to Charlotte and her family. The castle was for sale but the problem was it had to be purchased from 22 different people. Negotiations took a year but an agreement was finally reached with all the owners in cooperation. In the year 2000, work had finally commenced on rebuilding the castle. Charlotte is committed to keeping the castle as authentic as possible without making it look as if it had ever been "restored".

The vineyards consist of only 4 hectares (10 acres) and are comprised of Sangiovese, Pinot Nero and Alicante. The vines are trained on "cordone speronato semplice" system with a plant density of 5,000 plants per hectare. Vinification takes place only in the winery of the castle.

The crushed grapes ferment separately in wooden vats of 50hl, made from French oak, where they remain during a maceration period of about two weeks. When the grapes skins are racked off they are left to drain naturally without being pressed. The remaining pomace is sent full of juice to the distillery of the Maestro Gioacchino Nannoni to be transformed into grappa to produce a very smooth grappa di Castello di Potentino.

Both wines of Castello di Potentino are produced in a very elegant style. Charlotte feels her wines are meant to be enjoyed by lovers of fine wine. Charlotte says "everyone speaks of vin de terroir but we make it". Wines intended to express a true sense of place not style. Nicolas Belfrage MW could not agree more. Featured in "The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy" by Fine Wine Magazine, Nicolas Belfrage states that "Charlotte has made a 'real' wine and wines with 'spalla'- a backbone - yet with complexity of aroma and flavor that justifies her claim to originality". No attempt to improve color is ever used and native yeasts are always used.



Montecucco Rosso DOC Sacromonte (Holy Mountain)
is 100% Sangiovese aged 16 months in oak
-GUIDA ESPRESSO 5/5 Bottles 18.5
Piropo (Fiery Ruby Hue) IGT
is a blend of Sangiovese, Pinot Nero and Alicante
-GUIDA ESPRESSO 4/5 Bottles 16.5
 
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MONTECALVI

Montecalvi is a small wine estate in the heart of Chianti, specifically in the hilly area of Greve in Chianti, 20 km south of Florence. The south-westerly facing estate covers 10 hectares of which 3,5 hectares are vineyards. There are four small vineyards one of which has been planted in 1932 on small terraces) at an altitude of around 300m above sea level, on land derived mostly from sandstone. Jacqueline Bolli and Daniel O'Byrne conduct this jewel with passion and devotion. The Bolli family bought the Montecalvi estate in 1988. Since the 1991 harvest there has been a steady growth which has reached a qualitative standard in recent years that would be difficult to match anywhere.



 
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PODERE IL CARNASCIALE

Podere Il Carnasciale is situated on the very last of the southern Chianti mountains in the Valdarno, 30 km north from Siena and Arezzo, and 60km south of Florence. The small hilltop estate is run by Bettina Rogosky and her son Moritz, in collaboration with the enologist and winemaker Peter Schilling.

The variety, or rather biotype, Caberlot, was first identified in the late 1960´s in an abandoned vineyard near Padu by the agronomist Dr. Remigio Bordini. While the grape has the organoleptic characteristics of Cabernet Franc, its ampelographic profile however is closer to that of Merlot, leading us to assume that the loose-cluster Caberlot is a natural hybrid of the two varieties.

The Caberlot grape is cultivated exclusively at Podere Il Carnasciale on 3 distinct plots totalling 2,4 hectares.Being what one could call a 'haute couture' winery, extreme care, craft and precision go into every detail. The work in the vineyards is carried out with utmost respect for the land, with minimal intervention. Pruning, budding and leaf-management is done by hand, no chemical fertilizers or pesticidesare ever used, and all eventual sanitary treatments are natural.

After the manual harvest, with all selection already carried out in the vineyard, the grapes are left to cool and, after destemming, are gently fermented in small stainless steel vats (10hl) with temperatures kept below 30°C. Podere Il Carnasciale believes in minimally invasive, hands-off enology, allowing the fruit, the vintage and the distinctive characteristics of each vineyard to play the leading roles.

The use of sulfites is kept to a strict minimum. The malolactic fermentations in barrel is followed by ageing in carefully selected French barriques, of which 70% are new, one third each Allier, Vosges and Troncais oak, medium toast, over a period of 22 months.

Il Caberlot is bottled manually and unfiltered only in magnums, which are matured a further 16 months in the cellar, prior to their release. Carnasciale, having seen the same vinification and care as Il Caberlot, is a true second wine and is the barrel selection of the more approachable wines of the vintage, released 6 months after having been filled in 0,75l bottles.

The estate annually produces about 3300 magnums of Il Caberlot, hand-numbered by Bettina, and between 3-4000 bottles of Carnasciale, with 1988 being the first vintage for Il Caberlot, and 2000 the first vintage of Carnasciale.



 
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IL BALZO

We have spoken in the past about the searches for the proverbial diamond in the ruff. I discovered this Chianti Rufina from Podere il Balzo di Paolo Poticelli on one of my annual visits to Italy. It was introduced to me by Dott. Franco Bernabei, at his lab in Greve. Admittedly it was the label that caught my eye at first. If you love Italian wine as I do then you have to love Chianti Rufina. Up until now, I had not found the right Chianti Rufina that fit my style and requirements for import or should I say it had not found me.

The vineyards consist of about 7 hectares and sit at about 300/400 meters above sea level but of these 7 hectares only about 5,000 bottles are produced. The soil is clay, calcareous, rich in mineral and with a high percentage of rocks and stones which is perfect for proper drainage. The land overall is ideal for the growth of Sangiovese. The vinification is traditional. The maceration lasts for about 20 days with 3 daily pump-overs. Fermentation in stainless steel casks at controlled temperature of 28 - 30 degrees. Aging is 100% in second passage French Oak barriques for a period of about 18 months; then refined in bottle for other 6 months.

This Chianti Rufina is something special!!



 
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AZIENDA AGRICOLA OSTRICHETTA

The Pederzolli family have been growing grapes and producing wine since the early 19th century. Pierpaolo Pederzolli and his son Andrea were looking for a place in Tuscany where they could revive the family traditions away from their native northern Italian region of Trentino Alto Adige. In 2000 they found the right place in the "Podere Santa Maria", a property of 90 hectares situated in the heart of the Merse Valley in the Commune of Casole d'Elsa, 15 km west of Siena and 10 km south of San Gimignano. In 2001 they acquired the abandoned property with the goal of constructing a small and focused winery of superior quality wines. As they embarked on this fascinating journey, Paolo and Andrea conducted extended soil analysis in order to ascertain its texture, structure and mineral nutrients content. The results were encouraging: a soil generously rich in minerals with a great skeleton structure alternating areas of sandy clay and basalt limestone. This provided the right foundations for the quality vineyards.

A special emphasis has been placed on the local Tuscan varieties among which were chosen; "Sangiovese", and the lesser known "Foglia Tonda" (grown exclusively in the Siena area, full of flavor and deep red color) and "Pugnitello" (rich in extracts and tannins, excellent for ageing, with a red to violet color). Also, two well-known international varieties were chosen; Merlot and Petit Verdot, whose characteristics are particularly suited for the soil in two "poggi" on the property. A little over 5 hectares of vineyards were planted with the most modern concepts in order to maximize the quality of the production by low yields as opposed to large production. The vineyards are positioned in the higher part of the properties at altitudes varying from 450 to 500 meters above sea level. "Il Generale" is comprised of 75% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 5% Pugnitello, 5% Colorino and 5% Foglia Tonda.



 
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ROCCAPESTA

Roccapesta is comprised of 15 hectares and is located in the Maremma subzone of Tuscany; more specifically in the Morellino di Scansano DOCG. Maremma is a word derived from two Italian words; "mare" (sea) and "montagna" (mountain). It is a little strip of land in the southern part of Tuscany between the Mediterranean Sea and Monte Amiata. The very first vineyard planted at Roccapesta was in 1975 with Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo.

Alberto Tanzini is the brains and brawn behind what is considered one of the very best estates in Scansano. Alberto invests over 500 hours of time per hectare to produce the wines of Roccapesta; quality is paramount here. The origin of the soil at Roccapesta is part sedimentary and part volcanic clay and limestone and it is very rocky. The average temperature is 16°C with an average annual rainfall of approximately 500 mm.

It's easy to surmise the sort of wines that can be produced here; full bodied, concentrated, mineral rich wines. Needless to say the wines at Roccapesta are produced naturally without the use of pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. The work in the vineyards is carried out with utmost respect for the land, with minimal intervention. Pruning, budding and leaf-management are done by hand, no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are ever used, and all eventual sanitary treatments are natural.



 
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TENUTA IL PALAZZO

Since 1971 Anna Maria Banelli’s began managing Tenuta il Palazzo after years of abandonment of this diamond in the ruff near Arezzo. In 1976 Anna Maria Banelli and her husband Primo began to restore the estate recovering its original architecture. There were important land improvements such as an irrigation systems and an artificial reservoir to collect rainwater to be used to irrigate the vines during the summer. In 2005, a modern wine cellar was constructed.

With over 105 acres in total, the property stands on a high hill 300-400 meters above sea level. In the center part there is the medieval hamlet and the farmhouse surrounded by 35 hectares of vineyards and 6,000 olive trees. The soil composition plays a main role in the quality of the wine at IL PALAZZO. It consists of a heterogeneous structure, well combined with clay, sand and limestone; the typical Chianti stone called Galestro. The wine-making methods are scrupulous and elaborate. They are entirely manual. The grapes undergo a "one by one" manual selection when they arrive in the cellar in order to achieve quality grapes from the start. Open vat fermentation is preferred along with a slow and delicate pressing to obtain the full aroma of the grapes. All this leads to a traditional Chianti DOCG interpreted without the use of wood. Il Palazzo Chianti Riserva is aged in barriques.



 
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FABRIZIO DIONISIO

Sergio Dionisio acquired the 6.5 hectares known as "Il Castagno" in the early 1970s. In 1992, a 2nd parcel called "Poggio del Sole" was purchased reaching its current size of 12.5 hectares of vineyards. Both properties are located on Cortona’s gentle hills in what is also known as the "Chiuso della Valdichiana" and rests at an elevation on average of 300 meters above sea level. Overall, the area resembles a high plateau set between the Val d’Orcia and the steep slopes of the Casentino and of the upper Tiber Valley. Rising up over the area from its perch on the slopes of Monte Sant’Egidio is the ancient and noble city of Cortona.

Fabrizio and Alessandra Dionisio have been running this high quality operation since the late 1990’s. In the year 2000, new vineyards of Syrah were planted on both properties. Syrah from Cortona is unanimously considered the best Syrah of Italy. For this reason this small area in the south-east of Tuscany (neighbor to Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti, domains of Sangiovese) is called Italy’s "Cotes du Rhone". The rootstocks and clones were carefully selected following the advices of Federico Curtaz in France (Rhone Valley). The use of chemical-based treatments is severely limited, and thus vineyard practices are largely organic. With the sole exception of canopy hedging in the spring, all operations are carried out manually.

Fabrizio Dionisio’s dream arose many years ago, when he was only a boy fallen in love with Cortona, Tuscany. His commitment to quality has never wavered and for this the wines of Fabrizio Dionisio are second to none and should be appreciated for those who appreciate quality Syrah.



 
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CASTELLO DI VICARELLO

Carlo Baccheschi Berti is the work force behind this high quality operation in one of the most gorgeous areas in Tuscany. The vineyards lie on 6 hectares in the heart of a rolling landscape in the heart of Grosseto just west of Mount Amiata and slightly southeast of Montalcino. The vineyards were planted on very well-tended soils where care is taken to leave these charming hills intact in their original form. The planting on the vines were completed in accordance with the concepts of a highly advanced level of viticulture. The thriving of the vines is made possible by its use of the best natural composition as possible.

Attention to every detail at Castello di Vicarello is of utmost importance. From the selected grape varieties to the grape growing process, to vinification, elevage and all the way to bottling, the process is always focused on the ideal balance of the environment.

Being so close to the Tuscan coastline it was an obvious decision for Carlo to choose to grow Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot but with the intention of producing wines in which no grape variety dominates over the others. Cultivation and vinification are of course carried out in accordance with the precepts of organic wine production.



 
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VILLA MANGIACANE

Overlooking Florence, the Villa Mangiacane Estate spans 306 hectares situated between San Casciano Val di Pesa and Greve in Chianti, at an altitude of 250-300 meters. Of the 43 hectares of vineyards, 15 were planted in the 1980's with 3500 plants/hectare, and 28 were replanted after 2001 with 5500 plants/hectare. The diversity of soils and exposures, to the East and North East in San Casciano, and to the South in Greve, generate different microclimates and guarantee the production of wines with great complexity and personality.

Whilst Mangiacane has been around for 500 years, they started their premium wine in 2001 and after extensive modernization, constructed a new cellar and planted the new vineyards. The wines are produced following an authentic Tuscan "Chiantigiano" style, representing a perfect mix of ancient tradition and modern concepts of wine making. Villa Mangiacane produces mainly Chianti Classico DOCG wines, but also produces IGT wines (typical geographical indication).

The timeless passion and definitive traditions of the Chianti area, together with innovative viticultural and winemaking techniques, allows Mangiacane to produce wines of exceptional quality/price ratio.



 
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