A pleasant interlude with a winemaker, 1997
A few months ago I had the pleasure of dining with Francesco Giuntini of Fattoria Selvapiano, and of drinking some of his excellent wines. I asked if he would write a few words for the wine page; here they are.
Produces the well known Tuscan red wine "Chianti Rufina"
It is true that "Chianti" wine is produced in almost all of Tuscany (see Map 1), nevertheless, the committee established by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture in 1932 found in "Chianti Rufina" certain special characteristics which make it the smallest but not by any means the least renowned "Chianti" region. In fact the "Chianti Rufina" territory comprises 12.483 hectares compared with 455.122 hectares of the entire Chianti region. The wines produced in this region were already so well known in centuries past that the grand-ducal government of the Medicis issued in 1716 the famous proclamation ("bando"), aimed at curbing illicit practices in the wine trade, in which, among others, the area for growing the "Pomino" wine was defined which today is included in the Chianti Rufina region on the left side of the river Sieve (see Map 2). The Selvapiana estate, also located on the left side of the Sieve, finds itself not only in the "Chianti Rufina" but also in the "Pomino" area defined in 1716.
Typical of "Chianti Rufina" is the disposition toward extended ageing which, for certain vintages, can go beyond 30 years . In the cool underground cellars of Selvapiana visitors can see bottles of 28 of the best vintages starting from 1947 to 1993.
Selvapiana, which was in the middle-ages property of the Bishops of Florence, belongs since 1827 to the Giuntini family. It is visited all year round by wine lovers (it is only 23 Km. north-east of Florence), who are led through the vineyards surrounding the "Fattoria". Visitors are also welcome to the medieval cellars where the wine slowly matures in the traditional oak casks and can taste the wines in the tasting room adjoining the cellar. The buildings of the "Fattoria" have grown through the centuries around an ancient watch tower, presumably built in the second half of the thirteenth century, surrounded by a garden with old stately trees.
The Chianti Rufina of "Selvapiana" is exported to many countries including the new world together with the red "Pomino" wine which the estate also produces in 6 hectares of vineyards cultivated on a long term lease higher up in the Rufina hills.
Besides the normal Chianti Rufina aged one year, Selvapiana produces also a Chianti Rufina "Riserva" aged for two years . The "Riserva" includes also the special vineyards "Bucerchiale" and "Fornace", the former made only from the typical Tuscan "Sangiovese" grape, the latter also with "Sangiovese" but with the addition of some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. "Vinsanto" is the typical dessert wine obtained from grapes which are left to wilt in ventilated rooms 'till the beginning of February. A white wine is obtained from a mixture of white and grey Pinot noir grapes and is bottled with the name of "Borro Lastricato".
The Selvapiana olive oil is well known for its fruitiness and new mown grass aroma and is certainly not inferior in quality to the Selvapiana vines.