An Interview with Carpineta Fontalpino Winery
The Carpineta Fontalpino Vineyards
What is the history of the land you are on? What was it used for before your winery owned it or did someone else owned it previously?
The history of Carpineta Fontalpino is remarkable! It had always been a farm. In fact, it was owned by a large noble family all the way back in 1400. This area is extremely rich in history. Just imagine there is a Roman villa below one of our vineyards. This area was even mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy.
What clones and selections are used?
Mainly CC5, GC23, T19, CR21 but some are unknown, in our older vineyards. Speaking of Sangiovese.
Where does the water sources for the vineyard(s) come from?
As you well know, we can’t irrigate in Chianti or other DOCG vineyards. But there is a large artificial basin and many natural sources.
What trellising systems does the winery use? Why do you prefer that system?
We use spurred cordon and Guyot as they are the best systems for Sangiovese, for growth and for accurate production.
What are the different soil types from each of the vineyard sites? What do these soils do for your wines?
Soils, altitude and exposure are important for the grapes so for the wine.
Logically speaking, in terms of Sangiovese, and knowing this grape well, I can confirm that different elements can completely alter production.
For example, limestone and marl with little sand and clay will make fine and elegant wines. While soils rich in clay, sand and lime with very few stones will give us rich, fuller bodied wines.
Do any of your vineyards have names? If so, is there a story behind those names?
All of Tuscany is about history, so by law, we can give our vineyards names, but just toponyms, meaning the historic places, which are easily found because they still show on the historic map.
MONTAPERTO is the toponym of my winery. It was where the battle of Montaperti took place in 1260.
DOFANA is the name of a Pieve (parish church) and it’s where my vineyard is. It seems the names comes from an Etruscan prince.
If you have large vineyards, do you only use a portion of the vineyard to produce specific wines? How did you choose what portions to use?
Because after years of care, you know exactly how a vineyard is going to behave, where the production is better, and where you can get better fruit.
Logically, this only goes for those who love their vineyards!
The Carpineta Fontalpino Winery & Winemaking Process
What makes your winery different from others in the region? In Italy?
Honestly, today we have all the technology possible, but what makes a difference is taking care of the fruit before anything else. Then working every day in the cellar and taking care of your product as if it was your child.
I can say that I have all the methods and tools with which to experiment: vats made from concrete, oak, steel – all types of wood – but in reality, it’s about the attention to every single detail.
What is the winery’s long-term plans regarding production levels, vineyard replanting, style of winemaking, consumer targets, etc.
This year, we are planning to plant a new Sangiovese vineyard in a wonderful place, then there are the replantings. We’ll start again in a few years.
Today our winery has a clear-cut strategy. That is, we concentrate on a quality line. To do this, we decided to create two distinct segments: the first is about tradition, history, and culture so PURE SANGIOVESE, in three versions. One base wine and two crus, which highlight the quality of this noble Tuscan variety. Sangiovese has grown a lot here over the centuries and has clear-cut characteristics.
The other is a more international wine: A Super Tuscan, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. For certain reasons, it’s much easier to do an international product because it is more well known and made in every part of the world.
I also believe that every consumer needs to drink elegant, harmonious wines.
What vintage had the most challenges and what were those challenges? How did you overcome them?
Every vintage comes with its own challenges, but 2014 was important. It was raining and we couldn’t keep disease at bay. But then harvest arrived and the weather fortunately improved. The vintage was still very difficult so to resolve the problem, we did three different harvests in each vineyard. It was really trying.
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