Owner | Silvia Minicagli her husband Stefano Billi. The farm was founded at the end of the 19th-century and it has always been a family estate. In 1998 Stefano Billi inherited the property from his grandfather (Giulio) and planted the new vineyards with Fabrizio Moltard consulting (chosing the clones and where to plant them). A few years ago Stefano’s wife, Silvia Minicagli, joined in the management of the estate.
The estate | The estate’s total surface area is 15 hectares. Very low lying, on a plain, at the foot of the hills of Castagneto Carducci. 2km from the sea where the prevailing wind comes from. Hills like an amphitheatre.
Vineyards | The vineyard extends for 8 hectares. The rest of the farm consists of an olive-grove of 1000 plants, a 1 hectare peach-orchard, and various vegetable gardens. Silvia and Stefano removed the existing Sangiovese (or most of it anyway) and Trebbiano and planted French grapes. The vineyard is situated 50 m. above sea level, the varieties grown are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for red wines, and from 2000 Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc (which they re-grafted), Fiano and Sémillon for white wines. The training systems are Guyot and low cordon spurs with a density of 6.000/8.000 plants per hectare and a yields are around 65%-70%. The estate has different types of soils, middle-hard with gravely structure, clayey and stony, which add more complexity to wines. “In 2004 we planted a vineyard of two special white varieties: Sémillon and Fiano, because, as a result of our research, both grapes could give excellent expression in our wine estate. The first harvest of those white grapes was in 2006.”
Winery | The cellar is placed in the oldest part of the farmhouse. Winemaking “ We use stainless steel vats for young wines, in order to emphasize fresh and fruity tones. We use the open top French oak barriques to create our superior-wines. For ageing we only use French oak barrels of 225 litres from the forests of Allier, Nevers and Tronçais. Fabrizio Moltard is our consulting enologist. In 2004, we though that, to learn more about the character of our terroir, we had to bottle a micro-cru of every single grape variety. We chose Cabernet Franc because of its complexity, elegance and texture.”
IGT Toscana Bianco, Fornacelle | Clayey soil with stony structure. Cordon spur. 7.000 plants per hectare. Sémillon and Fiano. Alcoholic fermentation in French oak barriques. 500 cases.
Bolgheri Vermentino DOC, Zizzolo | Zizzolo is the name of the vineyard. Guarda Boschi, and Vigna allo Zizzolo as well, were small parcels in the Bolgheri region, former vineyards of the Counts Della Gherardesca, who owned the largest part of Tuscan Coast till the end of the XIX Century. We replanted the vineyard according to the high quality philosophy in 1998. Middle hard clayey soil with sandy sediment. Cordon spur. 5.000 plants per hectare. 85% Vermentino, 15% Sauvignon Blanc. Around 9.000 kg of grapes per hectare with a yield of 70% of wine. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 16-18°C. About 700 cases per year.
Bolgheri Rosso DOC, Zizzolo | 60% Merlot, 30%, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 26-28°C. Malolactic fermentation and ageing in second use barriques. Production: about 1800 cases per year. | 2003 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot. 15,000 bottles. Full and smoky, over-ripe style with plenty of ripe berries (blackcurrants) and wild plum plus vanilla; well honed though as balanced for a big wine; still very international though at the Bolgheri wine route office on Tues 22 Feb 2005.
Bolgheri Rosso DOC, Guarda Boschi | See above for the origin of the name of this vineyard. The soil: middle hard clayey soil with stony structure. Planted from 1998. 60% Cabernet (30% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon), 40% Merlot. Low cordon spur. 8.000 plants per hectare. Alcoholic fermentation in open top French oak barriques, at 26-28°C. Length of maceration: 18 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in the same barriques that have been reclosed after the end of the alcoholic fermentation process. Ageing: In barrique during 15-18 months. Refining: 12 months in bottle. It is a non filtered wine. Production: about 500-600 cases per year. | 2002 70% Merlot, 30% CF. 3,000 bottles. A bit smoky prune for me; smoky wood and astringent wood at the finish; dry fruit, prunes, OK but clumsy at the Bolgheri wine route office on Tues 22 Feb 2005. | 2011 Bolgheri Superiore. 40% Merlot, 30% each CF and CS. 5,000 bottles. Low yield year. Local yeasts. Do a pied de cuve. Fermented in open barrels. Rich chocolate, firm style, grippy with well handled oak. Plenty of zip to this but bot sure how long this will last. Refreshing. Not too heavy at Il Marroneto on 13th January 2015.
Rosso, Foglio 38 Cabernet Franc | 8.000 plants per hectare. The name Foglio38 is the cadastral reference of our wine estate in the land register. CF planted in 1998. Alcoholic fermentation in open top French oak barriques, at 26-28°C. Malolactic fermentation takes place in the same barriques that have been reclosed after the end of the alcoholic fermentation. Ageing: In barrique during 18 months. Unfiltered. Bottled by hand. About 100 cases. Only made in the best vintages–not great in poor years she says at Il Marroneto on 13th January 2015, adding that she finds rosemary, mint and licorice in this. | 2004 Made their first barrel of Cabernet Franc for friends. | 2011 18m in barrel. Get balsam. 4,000bottles. 16 euros. Elegant fruit and depth, lovely flavour with no herb. Really good at Il Marroneto on 13th January 2015.
Merlot, Erminia | Not made very year. | 2008 Debut. | 2011 1,500 bottles. Nice and rich, bramble, sweet, well integrated oak. Good varietal character at Il Marroneto on 13th January 2015.
Olio extra vergine di oliva, frutta, ortaggi
Azienda Agricola Fornacelle
Loc. Fornacelle 232/A, I-57022 Castagneto Carducci (LI = Livorno), Italy
Tel+39 0565.775575 | www.fornacelle.it
GPS Coordinates: 43.176281, 10.594958