Il Palagio di Panzano
Monia Piccini and her husband Franco are the owners of Il Palagio. And they're what you call real Panzanese. They were born, raised and live and work here in this beautiful spot in the middle of the Conca d'Oro of Panzano in Chianti with great dedication. In 2007 the couple started to produce the wines according to their own ideas. With success: Award follows award. But when one comes to visit Monia after Il Palagio, it is as if one comes home. Everybody's like family here and there's always something going on. But between all the fun, the professional exchange does not come too short. Monia knows what she wants and attaches great importance to working together as partners.
Fattoria di Rignana
Rignana is a place of power for many people. A place that magically captivates you and never lets you go. And then there's the wine. And of course the charismatic Cosimo Gericke, to whom these wines ultimately owe their existence as owners of the Fattoria e Villa di Rignana: Whether Chianti Classico, Riserva, Gran Selezione, Rosato or Il Riccio - Cosimo's heart and soul goes into all these fine wines. The winegrower approaches things with calm and attentiveness. He has a huge "cellar knowledge" of his own, which he likes to share with friends. And he always has an open ear for ideas and attaches importance to further developing himself and his wines. Perhaps it is Cosimo's serenity that is reflected throughout Rignana. Perhaps that's why so many couples in love are saying yes to each other here in the middle of the Tuscan hills. And maybe that's why it's so easy to relax here? From the infinity pool, overlooking the Conca d'Oro, a glass of Chianti Classico in your hand as the sun slowly sinks.
Rocca di Montegrossi
In Monti in Chianti there is a true jewel of the wine world: the Rocca di Montegrossi winery. When you talk about the estate and the Chianti Classico, the oldest wine region in the world, the name Ricasoli inevitably comes up sooner or later. This family is inextricably linked to the history of the region and Chianti Classico: After all, Bettino Ricasoli is considered the inventor of Chianti. And Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi, the owner of the Rocca di Montegrossi winery, is a direct descendant of the famous noble Tuscan Ricasoli family. On the historic site of Monti in Chianti, not far from the Castello di Brolio, the family home of Ricasolis, the passionate wine-grower runs the estate with great care for the balance between quality and tradition - and the awareness of tradition was, so to speak, put into the cradle of the noble winegrower.
Le Fonti Panzano
Vicky Schmitt-Vitali and her husband Guido have been running the Le Fonti winery in the heart of Panzano in Chianti together for years. It's hard to believe the many international awards for the red wines of Le Fonti, but actually Vicky and her husband are absolute career changers as winemakers. Originally, Vicky's father Konrad had bought the winery in Tuscany at the beginning of the 90s. Vicky has her roots in Germany, Guido comes from Tuscany. Both had previously pursued completely different professions. It was not until 1994 that they took over the winery - the Fattoria has remained a real family business ever since. And: "Mama Vicky", as the boss is called with a loving wink of the eye, has acquired an immense store of wine knowledge in these years and is anxious to find an uncomplicated and quick solution for every problem. Whether it's her three children or her wine.
Since 1990, the Antico Podere Gagliole winery, located in the heart of Chianti Classico in Castellina, has been owned by the Swiss Bär-Bettschart family. Wife Monika had fallen in love with this spot of earth at a young age... Thomas bought it later. In 2011 Thomas Bär extended the family estate by another winery, La Valletta in Panzano in Chianti. Hospitality on Gagliole and La Valletta is always a top priority. In particular, Alessia Riccieri, which is responsible for the sale and export of the wines all over the world, gives a warm welcome to all visitors and guests at all times. It is also with her that you can take a look behind the scenes of the winery every now and then. And Alessia is always up to date with its knowledge of viticulture and is happy to support and assist you.
Monte Bernardi is located on the southern tip of Panzano in Chianti, where some of Tuscany's best Sangiovese wines are produced. Michael Schmelzer, owner of Monte Bernardi, was actually born in the USA and studied oenology and viticulture in Australia. But as he himself says, he learned there how not to make wine. Today, Michael on Monte Bernardi is deeply convinced that biodynamic viticulture is based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner. It can happen that the vines are "cured" with chamomile tea. And here in Tuscany the winegrower has also discovered his great love for the Sangiovese grape. At the same time, Michael attaches great importance to the preservation of traditional techniques and the transmission of ancient knowledge, which has earned him the nickname "Mr. Sangiovese". The result is top wines that do not need to shy away from international comparison.
Valeria and Luca Orsini are the owners of Podere Le Cinciole. When the two of them took over this vineyard in the early 90s, they were actually absolute lateral entrants as winegrowers. Since then, they can justifiably be described as co-founders of the Panzano organic district. Because bio is not just a catchword or a sales argument for the two of them, but they live this attitude from the deepest conviction. Valeria, who is also President of the Unione di Vitcoltori di Panzano, is convinced: "To live in harmony with nature and to create a cycle with the environment is both a challenge and an attitude to life". From the very beginning, they have gone their own way with their winery, cultivating their passion for the Sangiovese grape and always working with international grape varieties with great esteem.
If you turn off the small access road to Casaloste, lined with low stone walls, you will somehow immediately feel welcomed by the patina and cosiness that the house and the small wine cellar exude. Perhaps this is also because the owners, Emilia and Giovanni d'Orsi, are such warm people. Actually, the two come from Naples, which has the advantage that now the city saint of Naples - San Gennaro - also watches over Panzano and always provides good weather, tells Emilia with a wink. Emilia and Giovanni are the organic pioneers par excellence - Casaloste was the first winery in Panzano to be certified organic. Solar systems, organic cultivation methods and sustainable management are a matter of course here. "The small vineyard with the big wines" is the slogan of Casaloste - but actually one should add "... and with the big heart".
Coming from Radda in Chianti, it takes about 5 minutes by car to get to the entrance of the Fattoria Poggerino. In the tasting room you are usually greeted by John, who takes care of the organisation on Poggerino. From the reservation of rooms in the Bed & Breakfast to the handling of wine orders from all over the world to the welcome of the guests. Because the owners of Fattoria Poggerino are often on the move: Piero Lanza, agronomist and oenologist in one, either rumbles through the vineyards with his pick-up or he tinkers and refines his wines in the wine cellar. Benedetta, Piero's sister and co-owner of Poggerino, works in the Bed & Breakfast, housed in an 18th century building. There is always something to do here - and sometimes Benedetta also cooks for the guests. A pleasure of the extra class, which one must not be missed. Much of what comes on the table grows and thrives directly in the vegetable gardens of Poggerino. Responsible for this: Stefano, who also helps Piero in the cellar and mountain. By the way, this man is Italy's pumpkin king. Because he has bred Italy's largest pumpkin with a weight of an incredible 849 kilos.
Tenuta degli Dei Cavalli
Tommaso Cavalli is the son of the fashion designer Roberto Cavalli. But as far as wine production is concerned, he has the say at the Tenuta degli Dei. Tommaso was also the one who turned the 70 hectare estate that his father had acquired as a retreat in the 1970s into an economically successful company. Tommaso has lived and worked here with his family since 1989. He began with his great passion: with the breeding of trotting horses. Then we went on with grappa, vodka, gin - and wine. And just as Tommaso himself is, so too are his wines: precise and always exactly to the point. At the same time absolutely stylish and cosmopolitan, without forgetting the Tuscan roots. The Cavallis originally came from nearby Florence, where they still cultivate vineyards with around 1,800 Alicante vines today. Even on the five hectares of Tenuta degli Dei only international grape varieties grow. The reason why Tommaso decided to become a winemaker is simply that he would have found it a pity if no wine would grow in such good locations with perfect conditions. And the success proves him right - but that should be in the family...
In 1968 the Manetti family acquired the Tenuta Fontodi winery in Panzano in Chianti. When Marco Manetti and his younger brother Giovanni took over the estate from their parents, Giovanni was only 16 years old. In spite of everything, the two brothers began to replant the vineyards in the Conca d'Oro, full of energy. Since the beginning of the 80s Giovanni Manetti has been the sole director of Tenuta Fontodi, his brother Marco specialising in the production of terracotta. Impressed by the huge success of the Tignanello by Antinori - the first Super-Tuscan ever - Giovanni developed the Flaccianello della Pieve Colli Toscana Centrale IGT for the first time in 1981 in collaboration with the star oenologist Franco Bernabei, who still works for Fontodi today. A red wine from 100 percent Sangiovese, matured in barrique. And the wine became a sensational success and has remained so to this day. With the Flaccianello, Giovanni not only laid the foundation for Fontodi's success, but he can also be considered one of the pioneers who helped the Sangiovese grape to its present status in the Chianti Classico. And apropos good taste: If you meet Signore Manetti in the vineyard or in the wine cellar, he is always perfectly styled - you can't just put good taste on your wardrobe like a coat...
Poggio al Sole
Poggio al Sole - the hill in the sun winery - has been owned by the Swiss winemakers Kathrin and Johannes Davaz since 1990. Both of them remember of the first time they have visited the winery and "following a spontaneous intuition" discussed this purchase in the evening of the same day. However, for Johannes it was evident the size of the treasure that they have had found upon here. After all, Johannes comes from a Swiss winemaking family and he is an experienced agronomist and oenologist. Thus the best background to transform this winery with a history dating back to the 12th century into a successful, modern and biologically certified business. Today the estate, located between Tavarnelle Val di Pesa and Greve in Chianti, covers a total area of 70 hectares - of which 24 hectares of vineyards.
Visiting wineries & friends
Over the years Panzano in Chianti has become my second home. All in all, I spend almost three months a year here - after all, it's not for nothing that I say "Nina in Chianti"! I use this time to stop by wine growers in Chianti from time to time. To deepen my background and detailed knowledge about Chianti Classico - for example about the peculiarities of the individual vintages or about the weather conditions. And of course also to keep you up to date with the latest news...
With three hectares of vines, Podere Capaccia is one of the smaller wineries in Chianti. Small, but all the finer for it, are the precise and elegant three wines so typical of Radda, which owner Herman de Bode presses together with oenologist Alyson Morgan, mainly from Sangiovese grapes: a Chianti Classico, a Chianti Classico Riserva and a Toscano Rosso IGT. As the name suffix "Podere" reveals, Capaccia, located on a hill overlooking the Val di Pesa near Radda in Chianti, is a large estate consisting of six buildings. More precisely, Capaccia is the relics of a medieval hamlet. Stone by stone, the Belgian Herman de Bode, owner of the estate since 2005, is renovating the buildings with great attention to detail. A total of 20 hectares of land belong to the estate, on which, in addition to the vines, the olive trees common in Tuscany, but also numerous sweet chestnuts - that is, chestnuts - grow and thrive.
If you Google the name Dario Cecchini, you will come across countless entries and mentions on websites - including Dario's own website, of course - as well as numerous videos, all of which have one theme: Dario Cecchini and his Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano in Chianti. Because there's no denying it: Dario is a celebrity! How did a simple butcher from Tuscany come to cause an international sensation? Dario's story begins in 1955 in Panzano in Chianti, where his father was already the eighth generation "Macellaio". Dario had originally started studying veterinary medicine at the University of Pisa - with the aim of improving the lives of animals. However, he took over the business after the death of his father in 1976. However, Dario took some crucial principles with him from his studies: Even an animal that is slaughtered should have a good life. An animal should be treated with appreciation even in death. And above all, a butcher should not waste any of what the animal gives us. And it is precisely this way of thinking and approach that has been the cornerstone of his success. Today, thanks to his attitude, his professionalism and his talent as a showman, Dario is a celebrity not only in cooking circles - mega-star Jamie Oliver, for example, has immortalized him in his cookbooks, and gourmet pope Anthony Bourdain was his enthusiastic visitor. The Panzanese butcher is also invited to give lectures, interviews and symposiums around the globe. But guests prefer to come to him in Panzano, at the Antica Macelleria. Whether for a glass of wine and a slice of fennel salami standing up, where Dario recites Dante verses or belts out Pavarotti arias. Or whether you let Dario serve you a freshly grilled bistecca alle Fiorentina with the words "To beef or not to beef." One thing Dario has always remained despite all the fame: A kind-hearted person and a friend!