Villa Calcinaia is an organic estate in Greti, a ‘frazione’ in Greve-in-Chianti in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, Italy. The estate has been owned by the Caponi family since 1524. Chianti Classico DOCG red wines are made, as is a Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC.
Owner: Conte Sebastiano Capponi is the 37th generation here, but the first generation of his family to manage the estate personally, in his case starting in 1992, having graduated from Florence University with a degree in Political Science. His ancestors employed managers to do this during the feudal share-cropping (‘mezzadria‘) system that characterised Tuscany in particular (and Italy in general) until the 1970s-1980s.
Staff: Consultant oenologist: Federico Staderini (from 1996).
Vineyards: 200 hectares (494 acres) of land of which 30 hectares (75 acres) are vineyards. The vines lie on the left or west bank of the Greve river, with an east, southeast aspect. Soils are heavier here than those on the right (east) bank, with a larger percentage of clay-schist (‘galestro‘) along with outcrops of limestone (‘alberese’) giving more structure. Single blocks such as La Fornace, Contessa Teresa, Contessa Luisa and Bastignano are vinified apart, with Bastignano bottled apart from the 2006 vintage.
Pruning: A mix of spurred cordon (‘cordone speronato’), bush vines (‘alberello’), and cane pruning (‘guyot’) depending on vine variety and site.
Organic certification: 2000 Went organic for the olives. They then converted the oldest vineyards to organics. | 2014 Full organic certification for the first time.
Winemaking: Fermentation in stainless-steel and cement. Reds age in a variety of oak: both French tonneaux and in an increasing amount of larger Slavonian ‘botti grandi’ of 10-30hl.
Mauvais Chapon: 2016 100% Sangiovese.
Toscana Bianco IGT, Comitale: From Grechetto and Vernaccia grown in the coolest sites.
Chianti Classico DOCG, Piegata: 2017 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot.
Chianti Classico DOCG, Villa Calcinaia: Part aged in 30 hectolitre oak-casks, in French oak barrels of 225 and 500 litres. | 2015 90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo. | 2018 90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo.
Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Villa Calcinaia: From hill site vineyards with the best exposition. Fermented 12-15 days. 18 months in 30 hectolitre Slavonian oak casks and in French oak tonneaux (500 litres). | 2015 100% Sangiovese.
Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione, Vigna La Fornace: The vineyard was originally planted in 1975 by the Toti family, three brothers (Natale, Renato and Adolfo) who once sharecropped on the Villa Calcinaia estate. A single hectare of Sangiovese, south-facing and close to the Greve river, hence the soils contain sand (‘limo-sabbioso’), but also grey Calcinaia clay. This was used to produce bricks in furnaces or ‘fornace’, whence the name. The sand is said to make this wine the most ‘Lamolese’ of all Villa Calcinaia’s wines (referring the the Lamole sub-zone in Greve). | 2015 100% Sangiovese. 1,400 bottles produced. | 2016 100% Sangiovese.
Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione, Vigna Contessa Luisa: The Contessa Luisa vineyard was planted in 1959 by Ferrante Capponi in 1959. He dedicated the block to his mother Luisa Vonwiller. It comprises around 2ha, and faces west on a hill, the only one of the estate’s vineyards with this exposition, which gets the afternoon sun. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. 900 bottles produced. | 2016 100% Sangiovese. 13.5%. Smooth, clear tannins, lovely depth and clarity (2019 Anteprima).
Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione, Vigna Bastignano: 100% Sangiovese from a single hill site called Bastignano which was terraced allowing for the vines to be planted following the contour line rather than the highest incline. It was then replanted with a mass selection of Sangiovese taken from existing heritage vines on the estate. Clayey calcareous soil (marl). The site is surrounded by umbrella pine trees. It is called Bastignano after the name of the holding on which the vineyards grow. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. 3,000 bottles. | 2016 100% Sangiovese. Lovely juicy fruit (2019 Anteprima).
IGT Toscana Rosso, Casarsa: A Supertuscan made mainly from Merlot grapes. Single vineyard planted originally in 1967. Mostly aged for 18 months in 225 litre barrels.
Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC: The grapes are dried naturally after harvest in the estate’s drying room. 2009 70% Trebbiano Toscano, 15% Malvasia Bianca, 15% Canaiolo Nero.
Other activities: The estate doubles as a large pheasant and hare rearing pen for three local hunts.
Bill Nesto MW & Frances Di Savino, Chianti Classico, the Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine, (University of California Press, 2016).
Via di Citille, 84
I-50022 Greve in Chianti (FI), Italy
Tel+39 055.853715 or 055.854008 | www.villacalcinaia.it