Villa Calcinaia, Tuscany

The traditional Chianti Classico property of Villa Calcinaia in Greve-in-Chianti has been owned by the Capponi family since 1524. Conte Sebastiano Capponi is the 37th generation and significantly, the 1st generation of the family to manage the 200 ha estate in person; his ancestors employing agents during the feudal mezzadria/share-cropping system that characterised Tuscany in particular (and Italy in general) until the 1970s/80s.

‘Significantly’ because since Sebastiano took over the reins in 1992 - having graduated from Florence University with a degree in Political Science - there has been an appreciable rise in the quality of the wines, especially from 1996 when he employed Dr Federico Staderini as enologo/winemaker, and as a result of Conte Capponi’s switch to organic viticulture. It should be added that the estate doubles as a large pheasant and hare rearing pen for the three local hunts; a fact perhaps explained by Sebastiano’s Scottish roots, being related to the Arbuthnotts of Aberdeenshire!

The 27ha estate is located in the historic Chianti Classico commune of Greve-in-Chianti, in the Val di Greve. Greve was one of the original Chianti Classico villages, along with Radda, Castellina and Gaiole. The valley runs in a north-south direction; the west facing slopes characterised by sandier soils while those with a east, southeast aspect,  on which the Villa Calcinaia estate is found are heavier with a larger percentage of galestro (schist) along with outcrops of limestone alberese giving more structure and minerally finezza.

Sebastiano has also been at pains to understand the various soils at his disposition, vinifying the blocks separately, notably La Fornace, Contessa Teresa, Contessa Luisa and Bastignano; the latter a single vineyard expression of Greve Chianti Classico introduced from vintage 2006. He also employs three different trellis methods: cordon speronata, alberello, and guyot in an effort to match the subtly different terroirs on the estate.

Vinification of the wines takes place in stainless-steel and cement, while ageing (affinamento) occurs in a variety of oak: both French tonneaux and in an increasing amount of larger slavonian botte grande of 10 – 30hl.

The wines reflect the open-hearted, sandy red berried charm of Chianti Classico from Greve, while having a notably intensity, traditional elegance and salty ‘salmastro’ minerality
David Berry Green, BBR Buyer

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