Noble Tuscan wine company Marchesi Frescobaldi recently presented its latest acquisition to the press: Tenuta Calimaia, near Montepulciano.
“We wanted to return to Montepulciano and to Vino Nobile, one of Italy’s first DOCGs,” Lamberto Frescobaldi, president of Marchesi Frescobaldi told journalists during the press presentation held at DaV Milano. “From whatever direction one approaches Montepulciano, its beauty is literally breath-taking. My family and I have often visited its beautiful places, from the Duomo to the Piazza Grande, San Biagio and Sant’Agostino, and enjoyed its magnificent wines. Here, in 1390, our ancestor Lionardo di Niccolò Frescobaldi served as mayor, and today it is our desire to renew our family’s commitment to a world-famous grape growing and cultural area… Thus the launch of the new adventure, an initiative we are confident will bring our family much satisfaction.”
The estate takes its name from Arte di Calimàla, the textile guild that was one of the most powerful and profitable societies to rule Renaissance Florence.
Frescobaldi’s newest wine estate, the ninth in its portfolio, extends across 70 hectares to the east of the hilltop town of Montepulciano, near the village of Cervognano, which is renowned as one of the most sought-after grape-growing areas in the historic appellation. Lying at 300 metres above sea level, the estate is planted primarily with Sangiovese grapes, known locally as Prugnolo Gentile, in clay that dates back to the Pliocene era, as seen in the abundance of fossils discovered in the topsoil that point to the fact that this part of region was once actually a seabed.
“This is probably the most continental area in Tuscany with swings in temperature from day to night,” explains Nicolò D’Afflitto, Frescobaldi’s director of winemaking. “The budbreak is late and the summer ripening is later. For me, it’s fun to return to an area I know so well, even if we’ve had some surprises during the soil analysis, which revealed an abundance of sand among the strata.”
Formerly Corte alla Flora, owned by Sergio Cragnotti of Lazio football club fame, Frescobaldi found two high-quality vintages ready to go in the well-maintained cellar. The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2019 displays the finer qualities of the historic appellation: the impenetrable ruby red appearance and opulent nose make way for luscious cherries, Tuscan herbs and a hint of cocoa bean on the palate as well as a vibrant backbone. Potential pairings vary from international fare, such as hummus and burgers, to more traditional Italian offerings like fried courgette flowers and fillet steak, all of which were exquisitely served at the press presentation held in the modern surroundings of DaV Milano, on the first floor of the Allianz Tower skyscraper.
The endgoal is to reach 60 hectares of vineyards on the Tenuta Calimaia estate (currently around 45), to produce 350,000 bottles across three labels (an annata, a Riserva and a Pieve subzone cru), and add cellar tours and a restaurant. “You work better when you have visitors,” says Lamberto Frescobaldi. “It’s like having an open kitchen.”
“Our goal is respect for the classic local qualities in our grapes and the absolute highest quality wine possible, which are always the expression of their terroir,” states Lamberto Frescobaldi with his trademark energy. “I’m never completely satisfied. There’s still so much for us to do!”