Tenuta La Novella | Organic winery in Greve in Chianti in the Chianti Classico DOCG region of Tuscany, Italy. 

Owner | François Schneider (from Alsace) bought the estate in 1996. It had been abandoned or at least not looked after for the previous 20 years. Now run by his son Jean-Olivier Schneider. Also Tomasso Pagioni, François Schneider has been involved it seems.

Staff | The general manager was Bertrand Quesne (from the Auvergne; son of farmers; moved to Tuscany to become technical director of the estate). Quesne was advised in the vineyard and cellar by Stéphane Derenoncourt. Quesne was dating the office manager, Laura Borrelli whom I met at VinItaly in 2015. On 10th Oct 2016 I was told they had both left (see Font des Ormes in France) and the new vineyard manager was Simone Zemella (+39 331 6655 953), who had joined the estate in 2015. 

Vineyards | 180ha estate located in the Val dell’Emme (sic), a cool climate part of Greve, at 400-600 metres. There are 12ha (300hl) of vines in 14 blocks planted 66% Sangiovese, 18% Syrah, 8% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Teroldego, 1% Malvasia, 1% Trebbiano, 1% Moscato.

Soil Varied soil types for the vines: 6 ha schist, 4 ha sandstone, 2 ha clay. Across the schist soils, Sangiovese is king (80%), accompanied by other varieties (Teroldego, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Ancelotta), all densely planted at 6,000-7,000 vines/ha).

Biodiversity | Around 5ha of land is given to cereals, or other crops as food for bush animals because the estate is in a hunting reserve (there is roughly 140 ha of woodland).

Biodynamics | Biodynamic practices were introduced under Bertrand Quesne (above). In 2007 Stephane Derénoncourt was doing some consulting here on Biodynamics and advising as the oenologist but in 2011 he was no longer involved. | 2012 In 2012 the main practices including spraying Prepared Horn Manure 500P in autumn and Horn silica 501 in spring, supplemented by plant-based sprays. Stirring (dynamizing) was done in a 120-litre copper dynamiser from EcoDyn. Only a little bit of compost was being made, from grape stems and skins, and olive tree leaves. The main cover crops were legumes like broad beans and vetch, plus cereals too. | 2017 Using Horn manure 500 and Horn manure 501. Some plant-based teas and a bit of compost (but without the compost preparations 502-507). 2020 Simone Zenella told me the Merlot and Cab Sauvignon had been ripped out. The last wine with Cabernet was the 2016 vintage. Simone told me they were using both Horn manure 500 and Prepared Horn manure 500P.

Olives |15ha of olive trees.The estate has its own mill (with an ALfa-Laval, continuous system).

Certification | 1996 Applied for organic status. | 1998 First vintage with full organic certification after only two rather than the usual three years, because the land had previously been abandoned and is also isolated. | 2019 Joined the SIVCBD (Biodyvin).

White wines

Terra Nosa | 2015 Toscana Bianco. 40% Malvasia Bianca, 30% Trebbiano Toscano, 30% Sangiovese.

Red wines

Chianti Classico DOCG, Casa di Colombo | From sandstone soils (arenaria). | 2011 100% Sangiovese. Warm year = no Merlot in this (normally 15%). 15,000 bottles. 10% new oak. Join the dots: oaky, sweet, clean but lacks freshness in the sense of zip at Vinitaly 23rd March 2015. | 2015 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot. A bit stretched (Anteprima 2018). | 2017 100% Sangiovese. Pale colour. Bright, fluid fruit (2020 Anteprima). | 2018 100% Sangiovese. 100% aged in botti. Rich, bright, tangy (2020 Anteprima). | 2019 100% Sangiovese. Light but intense, clear (2020 Anteprima).

Chianti Classico DOCG, Tenuta La Novella | From vines at 510m. From sandstone soils (arenaria). | 2009 Bit tight, OK, sweet, sticky, needs lift at Vinitaly 23rd March 2015. | 2010 85% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bit stretched, simple, oaky at Vinitaly 23rd March 2015. | 2011 Barrel aged. Rich sweet fruit, lacks a bit of lift at Millésime Bio Jan 2015. | 2016 95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot. 12m in tonneaux. Simple, crunchy fruit with some green tannins (2019 Anteprima).

Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Tenuta La Novella | From either galestro or sandy soils. 2012 New oak. Decent, open, drinking well with a hit of oak at the end Chianti Classico Anteprima 2018. | 2016 100% Sangiovese. 18m in barrels and tonneaux. 20% new. Decent weight and ripeness but still rather dull (2019 Anteprima).

Toscana Rosso DOCG Piano del Sarti | 2009 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Teroldego, 10% Merlot. Bit heavy and sweet (Millésime Bio 2015). Sweetish, more tannic than the other wines tasted today, and firmer, with fleshy ripe fruit (Vinitaly 2015).

Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Piano del Sarti | 2016 100% Sangiovese. Galestro soil. Aged in new Stockinger botti. Well Structured (2020 Anteprima).

Syrah | Colli della Toscana Centrale. From vines at 600 metres. Schist, south-facing. Half in Chianti, half in Chianti Classico. | 2011 Debut. Young vines and a very ripe year so added 10% CS but this is still too ripe for me, wines lack a centre at Vinitaly 23rd March 2015.

Vin Santo

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOCG | Trebbiano, Malvasia, Moscato and Sangiovese.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chianti Classico Anteprima 2018, Stazione Leopolda, Florence on Monday 12th February. 

Chianti Classico Anteprima 2019, Stazione Leopolda, Florence on Monday 11th February. 

CONTACT

Tenuta La Novella

Via Musignana, 11

Località San Polo in Chianti | I-50022 Greve in Chianti (FI = Firenze), Italy

Tel+39 055.8337749 | www.tenutalanovella.com