5 Very Good Reasons why Viticcio Should be Your First stop in Chianti Classico
An invite to visit a vineyard is never turned down. And when Alessandro & his wife, Alena, the owners, extended an invitation to the vineyards, cantina and follow up with a guided wine tour at Viticcio vineyards I was exceptionally enthusiastic.
Who wouldn’t be? Especially when they have a tendency to consistently improve the quality of their wines every year and have the international acclaim to prove it. This is the result of a combination of having good land, grapes and the "know how" to bring it all together.
A wine’s high quality begins in the vineyard. Only by respecting the land are we able to grow naturally wonderful grapes to make an exceptional product.
Walking around the traditional Tuscan farmhouse looking for the reception office, I noticed just how quiet the vineyards were...but the cantina was humming with activity. Peeking in the cantina (when possible), I could see the Viticcio team working at adjusting this and fixing that...the harvest was still percolating as far as they were concerned.
I met first with Lorena, the on-site sommelier and the person responsible for the wine tours. She invited me to follow her through her early morning routine of checking out the operations before meeting up with Alexander who was already on site discussing details of the harvest and fermentation.
The fall colors were enchanting as they began to appear in the vineyards, (thanks to a bit of a nip in the temps), and the fragrance of the earth (better known as terroir on a vineyard), grapes and falling leaves. She led me through the various stages of fermentation and once again the perfumes were invigorating and divine.
Alexander and Alana met up with us for a quick coffee and a brief interview before settling into the dedicated wine tasting room where they plied me with olive oil, local cheeses and cold cuts and of course...their wines. They were on a particular high because they just got word that James Suckling awarded their Chianti Classico Prunaio Gran Selezione 2013 with an unheard of 94 points.
I am looking forward to tasting the next series of award winning wines and olive oils...but I brought home a couple of bottles just in case that invite is too far off in the future!
1. Easy to Get to
A Review of Viticcio
Viticcio is a family run vineyard which while respecting the tradition of Chianti Classico brings a fresh new and international perspective to growing grapes and making wine with a passion.
If you are determined to do a little wine tasting on your own, without the benefit of an organized tour, Viticcio is...in a word...ideal.
Located in the heart of Chianti Classico you can arrive by car or without a car easily. Positioned in the hills just outside of Greve, the Viticcio vineyards command a prime position above the valley, with panoramic views 360°.
The 2 km hike starts off through town, and before you know it you are climbing a slight hill and completely surrounded by the traditional Tuscan landscape: rows and rows of grapes, patches of olive groves and even a castle brooding in the distance. You won’t find a better photo opportunity!
2. Family Run
Viticcio has big dreams: High quality wines that express the Chianti Classico, Maremma, and Bolgheri territories with a classic yet fresh style.
The family may not have been born and bred in the culture of wine...or even in Tuscany, but when you talk to Alexander and Alena, the husband wife team at the helm of the Viticcio vineyards, their enthusiasm and dedication to producing a wine that is the best that the terroir can produce emanates from them.
They started with this 30 ha farm, just outside of Greve, and have slowly expanded to include vineyards in both the Maremma and Bolgheri territories, two totally different wines but both with a long and studied tradition of excellence.
How involved do they get? A bit of humility on the part of Alexander was totally charming, admitting that he has his limits and recognizing his strengths:
I might not have grown up around wines, and I know there is always something to learn but I am always following the changes with my enologist, and I can “feel” the potential.
Together with his parents, he is determined to breathe a fresh new energy into the grapes, wines, the label and their market. He explained that, “Our guests at the agriturismo Viticcio are our best publicity. Taking them around the vineyards, having them see first hand the fermentation process, the hand selection of the grapes at harvest and then following up with a guided wine tasting, converts our guests into our best clients. They now feel the wine as much as we do.”
Viticcio at a Glance:
Type: Chianti Classico Wines
Location: Greve in Chianti, 20 minutes by foot
How to Arrive: by car or public transport from Florence to Greve, then walk 2 km
Bottles: approx. 250,000
Labels: Viticcio (Chianti Classico DOCG, Viticcio Riserva (Chianti Classico DOCG,Prunaio Gran Selezione (Chianti Classico DOCG), Monile (Toscana IGT),Bere (Toscana Rosso IGT), Per Camilla (Grappa Riserva del Chianti Classico),Dolce Arianna (Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC)
3. Vineyards, Wine Cellars & Tasting: blend your vintage of Chianti Classico
It is clear that Alexandar and his family want others to become as passionate as they are, and their young and energetic attitude embraces all kinds of new possibilities. So along with the regular wine of tours which include a visit to the vineyards (weather permitting), a tour of the newly restructured cantina, their aging cellars and of course a wine tasting, the family have added a few interesting possibilities.
For those who are just as enthusuastic as the family, there is the possibility to live the dream with them. Their most exclusive tour and tasting takes you behind the scenes for a two and a half hour adventure at Viticcio. Taste wine directly from the barrels, create your own blends, and then take home a bottle of your personal wine...and for some you can even make a blend, age it on the estate and take possession when the process is complete!
4. Guided Tour with a Sommelier
I believe we can agree that not everyone can taste the “hints of mocha express, smoke and French oak” lingering in the glass. And believe me, many producers will tell you to simply drink what you like … even if it doesn’t come with a 5 star review from Wine Spectator. And really, if you like it, then it is all good.
And then you have that group of people who love to learn all the nuances of what they are drinking...they want to understand why is it that "authorities" like Vinous and James Suckling find reasons to award such high points for the Chianti Classico of Viticcio? (That would be me….the Italians call me “un curiosa nata” - the equivalent to Curious George in English).
This means when you have someone who is knowledgable about the vineyard and a sommelier, it helps on the learning curve. Lorena is both and very personable, making the visit pleasant and informative.
5. Award Winning Flavors
The proxy at Viticcio has always been the authentic flavors of Sangiovese, making use of the traditions, the climate, the soil and more specifically the micro-climate on their 30 ha patch of Chianti Classico land. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why they are constantly making headlines on the international market.
Since 2003, eight hectares of vineyards are cared for using biodynamic methods; and since 2013, their entire production has been totally organic. And then maybe this is another reason why their wines are some of the best...
We honor the treasured traditions that teach invaluable winemaking knowledge, and we balance this with innovative technologies.
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