Fattoria Selvapiana

Chianti Rufina Wines and Olive Oils, Tuscany, Italy, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana Chianti Rufina, Selvapiana Pomino Rosso Doc, Villa Di Petrognano Vendemmia, Pomino doc, Fornace, Syrah, Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina

40th Anniversario Vigneto Bucerchiale

Fattoria Selvapiana on jancisrobinson.com for the 40th Anniversary of Vigneto Bucerchiale

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG Vigneto Bucerchiale, Fattoria Selvapiana is the protagonist of a dedicated article on the Jancisrobinson.com website. We report the complete article below, while at this link you can read the article on Jancisrobinson.com. Single-vineyard wines are all the rage all over the world now but the Selvapiana estate in Chianti Rufina has been producing its Bucerchiale bottling since 1979 and, with the recent release of the 2019, is celebrating the wine’s 40th anniversary. I’ve long enjoyed the special character of Selvapiana’s wine (and olive oil). The wines have always been lighter and fresher than many Chianti Classicos, thanks to the cooling breezes that reliably blow down the Sieve Valley, one of very few Apennine valleys that run north–south. The Bucerchiale vineyard is at 220 m (660 ft), much lower than the highest Chianti Classico vineyards. Selvapiana, a 245-ha (605-acre) estate just north of the town of Pontassieve east of Florence, has been in the Giuntini family since 1827 and is now run by Federico Giuntini Masseti, who brought the eight wines described and pictured below to our London flat to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bucerchiale and to demonstrate just how well it ages. (I was all set to taste the wines last September but couldn’t owing to a cancelled flight.) He is now assisted by Niccolo, the oldest of his four sons. The estate has 22 ha of olives and 60 ha (148 acres) of vineyards, 95% of them planted with Sangiovese. Most of the vineyards, on the foothills of the Apennines, face west but the 12-ha (30-acre) Bucerchiale vineyard pictured above faces south-west. It was first planted in 1968 and there has been some replanting since then, although vines have to be at least 10 years old before their produce is considered for the single-vineyard bottling. Bucerchiale is produced only in the best years so there was no 1980, 1984, 1997, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2021 and very little 2014. So clearly the wine is not primarily designed as a money-making exercise. Indeed the estate as a whole ran at a loss until the 1980s ‘because it was a Chianti’ according to Giuntini Masseti, who said the turning point came when sharecropping farmers were replaced by hired staff. Giuntini Masseti’s predecessor Francesco Giuntini (who was married to an Antinori so very much part of the Tuscan establishment) was determined that this wine from his best vineyard should be 100% Sangiovese. This was at a time when Tuscany’s signature grape was viewed as something decidedly inferior to the French imports such as Cabernet and Merlot that were then so fashionable in Italy. It’s worth pointing out that when the wine was launched in 1979, 100% Sangiovese Chianti was illegal. Initially the wine was labelled with the logo of the VIDE association of ambitious Italian wine producers encouraged by the late wine writer Luigi Veronelli. Giuntini Masseti took over the estate in the late 1980s and instituted longer macerations, ‘sometimes too long’, he admits. In his search for purity he has settled on 30 to 35 days with no submerged cap. Fermentations are always spontaneous. In the 1970s Bucerchiale’s Sangiovese grapes weren’t picked until the end of October. Today it’s more likely to be late September although in 2019 it was mid September. Giuntini Masseti admitted that another climate-change effect is that pHs have been on the rise and he no longer chaptalises. The concentrator, as in so many wineries that invested in them in the late-20th-century era in which alcohol was so celebrated, has been packed away. At one stage – the concentrator stage – all the wine was aged in barriques. ‘We made some mistakes – too much new oak, especially with the 1994.’ Up to and including the glorious 1985 vintage the wine was aged in big, old chestnut casks. Nowadays the wine is aged in a 50:50 mix of small and big oak and Giuntini Masseti feels confident he is making better and better wine – ‘purer’. In this tasting of 2019, 2013, 2009, 2006, 1999, 1985 and the very mature 1982 and 1979, the debut vintage, I really appreciated the vintage differences. The evolution of the 1979 suggests that the 2019 has a great future ahead of it. For the moment, the standout vintage is the 2013, but the 2006, 1999 and, especially, 1985 (remember Sassicaia 1985?) are also really inspiring, demonstrating there is more to Chianti than Chianti Classico. The wines are presented below in the order tasted. See also Bucerchiale 2003 back to 1999 written in 2007, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Selvapiana’s UK importers Liberty Wines. Selvapiana, Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva 1979 Chianti Rufina Very little sediment because it spent more than five years in old barrels! Transparent ruby. Light-bodied but with a fresh and minty nose. Light and chestnutty. Fine and fresh. Only the vestiges of the fruit is left and it’s now a little mushroomy. 12% Drink: 1984– 2014 16.5 Selvapiana, Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva 1982 Chianti Rufina Mid ruby. Light nose. Lots of acidity and freshness and pure, classic Sangiovese. Light-bodied but well knit together and pure. A bit drying on the end. But there’s still some vitality. 13% Drink: 1987 – 2016 16.5 Selvapiana, Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva 1985 Chianti Rufina A stellar vintage with a little frost in spring; the crop was reduced by 30%. According to Federico Giuntini Masseti, ‘1985 demonstrated that Sangiovese wasn’t the problem but the way we grew it – we needed to reduce yields’. Dark garnet still! This tastes like a young wine! Gorgeous! Freshness and tang and very pure Sangiovese. Very much a food wine. Long and quite delicious. 12.5% Drink: 1992 – 2030 18.5 Selvapiana, Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva 1999 Chianti Rufina Dark crimson. Firm and concentrated. This almost smells as though there were some Cabernet in it! Big and sweet palate entry and firm finish with still quite a bit of tannin. Very serious wine that has aged very slowly. 14% Drink: 2007– 2030 17 + Selvapiana, Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva 2006 Chianti Rufina From a neglected but very classic vintage. Deep garnet. Very pure and polished tannins. Really convincing fruit and chewiness. Rich and round with a note of unsweetened chocolate. 14.5% Drink: 2015– 2035 17.5 Selvapiana, Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva 2009 Chianti Rufina Transparent garnet. Closed nose. Lots of fine tannins and embryonic fruit. Very tight and a bit grainy-textured on the end. Needs time – more time than the 2013. 14.5% Drink: 2024– 2040 16.5 ++ Selvapiana, Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva 2013 Chianti Rufina Cooler vintage. Notably savoury nose with notes of Marmite (yeast extract). Fine and richly fruited, this wine offers masses of pleasure already. Lovely for drinking now, with a mintiness and rich fruit. 14.5% Drink: 2021– 2040 18 Selvapiana, Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva 2019 Chianti Rufina Aged for 18 months in oak and then at least a year in bottle. First bottle: TCA affected. Second bottle: transparent garnet. Different nose from the older vintages! Sweeter and still very fresh and this difference is possibly just because the wine is younger and lower in acidity. Quite a bit of fine tannin. Still very youthful. 14% Drink: 2026 – 2042 £36 RRP 16.5 ++

Selvapiana farm on Matthew Jukes – 40 years of Chianti Rufina Riserva, Bucerchiale, Selvapiana

Celebrating an important milestone "the 40th anniversary of the Bucerchiale Vineyard", the Selvapiana Farm receives a mention on the Matthew Jukes website for the section Wednesday wines with an article dedicated to this important event. We are happy to bring you the entire article, we wish you a good reading. Liberty Wines Chairman, David Gleave MW, started working with Selvapiana in 1987. Owner Francesco Giuntini had been estate manager since the ’50s, and this estate had been in his family since 1826. He took over at the tender age of 21. “Back then, it was a work in progress”, David notes. He recalls tasting the 1958 Chianti Rufina Riserva with Francesco. This wine was conceived to determine the best parcels of vines on the estate, but there was no market for this style of wine back then, let alone Chianti, with a higher price than a basic trattoria red wine. Francesco knew that Bucerchiale was always the best Poderi (the name for a mini-farmstead complete with vines, olives, mixed arable farming and even some livestock) on the property. A pioneering winery, they had been bottling on site at Selvapiana for aeons. They managed to build up a decent cellar of older wines, however, everything in the collection was drunk during the Second World War by the German occupiers. 1947 was the first vintage after the War. Then in the ’60s and ’70s, wine consultant guru and writer Luigi Veronelli persuaded several important Italian producers to make the finest expressions of their best single vineyards, including Selvapiana’s Bucerchiale.   Federico Guintini Veronelli is the somewhat unsung hero of the Italian fine wine scene. He convinced select wineries that they could make soaringly delicious wines if they celebrated their unique plots of vines. 1979 was the very first vintage of Selvapiana’s spectacular Bucerchiale, and this wine inspired the celebration of 40 years of this imperious Chianti Rufina. Federico Giuntini, Francesco’s son, took over the running of the estate many years ago, and now Federico’s son Niccolò makes the wines. In fact, Niccolò was solely responsible for the 40th vintage wine, the 2019, from start to finish. Francesco was 90 years old this year, and he must be immensely proud of his son and grandson for their efforts to nurture and grow the fame of this incredible property. For my part, I have been buying Bucerchiale since 1990 when I listed the 1985 vintage on Bibendum Restaurant’s wine list. It was such a joy to taste this very wine in the line-up today. NB – The first three wines used no temperature control and they were cement fermented and picked very late at the end of October / early November. The yields back then were more than double what they look for nowadays. The last wine, the 40th anniversary 2019 vintage, is now launched, and I urge you to track it down. As far as elite Sangiovese goes, this must be the finest value wine in Tuscany by a country mile, and the quality of this vintage makes it one of the very greatest in the four decades of its existence. 1979 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 12.56% This is the only wine that lacks apparent fruit purity, but the balance of the components is still spot on, and while it has fallen a little quiet, the silkiness and class of the property are evident. Holding on nicely and indeed a model Rufina, it is incredibly impressive that it is 43 years young. 18/20 (an emotional score) 1982 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 12.6% This is a lovely old, slightly knackered wine with lacy tannins and delicate red fruit notes. But there is still a core of sweetness here, and it is trying to blossom in the glass. This is far from a dead wine and it has a higher level of alcohol (for the period), indeed there is a warm, summery feel about the juiciness and richness. The acidity is terrific, as are the abrupt tannins, but the acidity is most definitely the battery pack for this wine. A wonderful treat. 18/20 1985 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 13.27% The 1985 was aged in two 30ha chestnut botti. It was made under the watchful guidance of wine consultant Franco Bernabei. Franco started working with Selvapiana in 1978, and after that, he became a famous consultant. His style was not to make wine around his personality but to express, in the purest form, the character of the property and the essence of the vintage. In this regard, he was the perfect choice to chaperone Bucerchiale! This wine was picked a little earlier than the first two. It is a little closed and hard on the nose, and the fruit is minty, relatively flat and it falls short, but there is still fruit here, and it is still, unmistakably, Bucerchiale. It was a great wine in the past, but it is past its prime and it is the last bastion of the so-called ‘old style’ of Bucerchiale. 17.5/20 1999 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 14.2% In 1999, they used 100% barriques, after switching to this ‘recipe’ in 1986. This wine has the highest acidity of the line-up, and it was a late harvest, too. The nose is thrilling with mushroomy notes and masses of fruit, and there is amazing suppleness and cadence here with kaleidoscopic foresty, red fruit and spice, with leather, sous bois and prodigious length. It is nothing short of incredible. 18.5/20 2006 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 14.5% There is a touch of dustiness on the nose here, and the fruit is more advanced than I would have expected, too. The grip remained as it started to open up, but floral and fruit notes emerged, too. The flavours are sensational, with fully ripe fruit and complex foresty notes adding to the experience. The tannins, oak (100% barriques) and acidity are still extremely lively and almost arresting as they sharpen the finish and add a ‘full stop’ to the flavour. With exceptional classiness and beautifully complexity, while the tannins are a little coarse and there is more attack and muscle, making this is a superb wine that is at its peak. This is a great wine to throw into a Tuscan line-up, alongside richer styles, as it will hold its own while championing an elite Rufina model. 18.5/20 2009 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 14.97% With a darker colour than the 2013 and a cooler, less spicy and elevated nose yet, the fruit is calm and ripe, and there are still lovely tannins on the back of the palate, and they more resemble the 2019 than the spicier 2013. There is a superb coolness and a silkiness on the mid-palate that is engaging, and the tannins are perky and mouth-watering and perfectly balanced with the rest of the wine. Considering the alcohol level, this is a very cleverly assembled wine with a super-long finish. 18.5/20 2013 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 14.84% There is a more profound and powerful body of fruit here with a more concentrated centre and a hotter, spicier, peppery, rustic and somewhat herbal finish. The tannins are actively drying and punchy. There is tension here, and this is a slightly later-picked style, and it looks more actively youthful than the 2019, which is amazing. They benefited from the breezes in this vintage when the rest of Chianti was extremely warm, even at night. The colour is starting to brown a touch, but this doesn’t seem to affect the ripeness of the fruit. There is a raw edge here that is cleansing and combative and this makes it a perfect vintage for robust meaty dishes. 18+/20 2019 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana (the 40th vintage since 1979) 14% Federico thinks this is as good as the 1999 and the 1985. It is also the first vintage in which Federico’s son, Niccolò, handled the whole vintage himself. South West-facing, slow ripening, it sees the sun at the end of the day. Vinification is an extended maceration (25-30 days on skins), 50% large casks and 50% small French oak barriques for 18 months (fewer barriques than in time gone by). Very pure, clean and supple with richer, more refined tannins, there is a textbook nose here with thrilling red fruit and lovely, wistful cherry and cranberry tones over a deeper, darker core. 2019 was a more classic vintage – slow and steady, which is evident in this wine’s plushness. Picked end of September / early October, there is more elegance here than in the 2016, so it is more classically Rufina in its style. The acidity is perfectly balanced and yet this is a relaxed and honed wine entirely at odds with the blockbuster reds from further South. It is surprisingly forward, approachable, and gentle, but there is a lot of depth behind the scenes. As it opened up over the next few hours it became even more enthralling while always retaining its noble tannins and incredible balance. 19+/20 (£35.99, www.thewinereserve.co.uk; £38.25, www.mothervine.co.uk). At this link the complete article on Matthew Jukes.

Fattoria Selavapiana ©2013-2015 All Right Reserved