Volpaia isn't just a winery, but a whole fortified village built in the 11th century, originally with six towers and protective walls in an elliptical shape. Only two of the towers and part of the walls now remain, but the medieval buildings within the village are still intact and have been sympathetically restored. The old houses and churches are now used as wine cellars, for bottling, and for olive oil, connected by a “wine duct”, an underground stainless steel pipe. Volpaia must be one of the best-preserved villages of its time.
The first document mentioning the village dates back to 1172 and is a mortgage for 28 pounds of silver. In 1555 after the fall of Siena, the Castello lost its military function and houses were built within the town walls. Originally owned by clock and instrument makers, the Della Volpaia family, the village was bought in the 1960s by the current owner, Giovanella Mascheroni Stianti’s father, and they now have 100 acres under vine. Fifty-two people live in the village, all directly or indirectly involved in the winery and cold-extraction olive oil plant.
They also produce a range of vinegars flavoured with bouquets of different aromas, which we were fortunate to be able to taste with our delicious al fresco lunch at the village.
After touring the village, we were thrilled to have Giovannella Mascheroni Stianti personally take us through the tasting of her wines. All Volpaia’s wines are hand crafted and organic; we tasted:
Chianti Classico 2010 -A blend of 90% Sangiovese with 10% Merlot and Syrah, this easy-drinking wine ages for 14 months in Slavonian oak barrels. It shows notes of liquorice and raspberries, and pairs perfectly with bruschetta and tomato-based dishes.
Chianti Classico Riserva 2009 – Made from 100% Sangiovese, Chianti Classico Riserva has aged for two years in Slavonian oak barrels and French oak barriques to produce a full-bodied wine that is rich, yet lively with red fruit flavours.
Volpaia Prelius Vermentino 2012 – a light and refreshing wine with flavours of lemon, pear and herbs, and with a long finish. Perfect for pairing with Caesar salad.
Click here to find these wines in your nearest Alberta liquor store.
These wines are available in Alberta, and we also tasted two wines that are not yet available in Canada but we’re hoping!
Bollicine di Nika – a sparkling wine produced by Nicolò Mascheroni Stianti (Giovannella’s son) on his estate in Pantelleria, a small island south of Sicily. Made from 100% Pinot Noir in the traditional method, this is an elegant wine with aromas of brioche and nuts, highlighted by fresh citrus.
Vin Santo – This special wine is a blend of 40% Trebbiano and 60% Malvasia grapes which have hung from the rafters in the Vinsantoria for five months, until February, at 14º C. The wine ages in small oak barrels for five years when it has reduced to around a quarter to give a very sweet and luscious wine with flavours of orange marmalade.