John Fodera wrote a beautiful article on Fattoria Selvapiana for the Tuscan Vines website: FEATURE: SELVAPIANA by John Fodera At the foot of the Apennines, in the northeast corner of Tuscany, lies the Selvapiana estate. Here, ancient tradition and history blend in a confluence of wine and ancestry. In medieval times, Selvapiana stood as a watch tower to protect Firenze’s north east border. Eventually, during the Renaissance, the building was enlarged dramatically into a villa that was used by noble Florentine families as a Summer retreat. In 1827, Francesco Giuntini acquired the property and became the first generation of the Giuntini’s to own the estate. Today, winemaker Federico Giuntini and his sister Silvia represent the 5th generation of the family to own Selvapiana. Selvapiana is the preeminent producer within the Chianti Rufina zone. But what is Chianti Rufina? Chianti Rufina Basics Selvapiana calls Chianti Rufina home. But what exactly is Chianti Rufina and how does it differ from Chianti Classico? Chianti Rufina is one of seven sub-zones of the Chianti DOCG – that does not include Chianti Classico; which holds it’s own DOCG. Rufina, pronounced “ROOFina”, was established by Cosimo de’ Medici in 1716. It is the smallest sub-zone of Chianti and when compared to other DOCG, only Carmignano is smaller. Under the rules for Chianti, wines from Rufina must be at least 70% Sangiovese, while from Chianti Classico they must be a minimum of 80% Sangiovese. Foresight & Innovation Although it’s small, Selvapiana has contributed significant innovation to Chianti. In 1978, Giuntini realized the great potential of Rufina and Selvapiana. As a result, he hired Franco Bernabei to be consulting winemaker. Together they created Bucerchiale, a single vineyard Sangiovese Riserva which was an unheard of notion at the time. The wine was an instant success and Bernabei consults to this day. This cycle of improvement and innovation continues. In 2005, the new wine cellar was finished and supplements the existing, historic cellar. Additionally, since 1987, the estate has received organic certification for its vineyards. Selvapiana covers a total of 250 hectares. Approximately 60 are devoted to vineyards which bear the names of the sharecropping farms that once worked the land. The remainder are olive groves and forest. For this feature, I tasted through all the current releases from the Selvapiana Estate. My reviews speak for themselves but to steal my own thunder, I was greatly impressed. I Vini di Selvapiana – All wines Certified Organic Sometimes good comes from bad. A few months back I had received a sample of the 2019 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina. The wine was flat. Dried out, devoid of fruit and hollow. I sat with it for a while to be certain it wasn’t corked. Convinced, I decided to present the wine in a “Twitter Only” review. I was disappointed because in a vintage like 2019, I expected a nice wine. Well, the tweet was spotted by Silvia Giuntini, who requested that her importer reach out to me. This article is the result and benefit of that single tweet. 2019 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina – This is a second tasting of this wine. It clearly portrays the first bottle as somehow flawed, though this is still a straightforward red. In the glass, the light ruby color is nearly transparent. Aromas of cherry, sandalwood and spices are softly presented. Light to medium bodied on the palate with monolithic red berry flavors. Dusty herb and spice notes frame the fruit. This bottle is clearly sound. However, it’s as basic as basic can be. That’s ok, just measure your expectations. 86 points. The 2017 Selvapiana Vigneto Erchi is 100% Sangiovese coming from a 6 hectare vineyard that is about 21 years old. The Erchi farm was purchased in 1998 and planted with vines in 1999. The 2017 is only the second release of this Cru. Deep medium ruby. Deep aromas of black cherry, pipe tobacco, fresh red flowers and crushed clay. Medium to full bodied with ripe, juicy flavors of wild cherry that turn sapid in the mouth. Cigar leaf tobacco, leather and earth notes are gorgeous. Lengthy finish is tinged with cured meat and fennel. Impressive wine. Value is there. 93 points. The 2018 Selvapiana Pomino Villa Petrognano is a deep bright ruby. Brilliant aromas of wild raspberry, red cherry, flowers and sage are spot on. Juicy, fresh cherries on the palate with tobacco, hints of smoke and medium weight tannins that offer grip but moderate with food. This is very nice for the vintage. It could be the elevation and the terroir near the Apennines keep this wine fresher than many other 2018s I’ve tasted. 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet and 20% Merlot. Great value around $21. 90 points. The 2017 Selvapiana Vigneto Bucherchiale is a lovely medium ruby clear to the rim. Textbook Bucherchiale nose. Animale! Salume, wild boar sausage, porcini and crushed cherry are complex and wild. Juicy, sapid wild cherry, fresh fennel, and toasted nuts are medium bodied and persistent on the palate. Fresh, but boy do the tannins clamp down on the finish which is just slightly “hot”. Needs plenty of cellar time like most Bucerchiale do. I’m still holding the 2009 in my cellar. Give this 7+ years at a minimum and then be wowed. 95 points and a steal just under $30. Bucerchiale is sourced from vineyards that were planted in 1968 and 1992. It is 100% Sangiovese and spends 36 months in French barrique before release. The 2016 Selvapiana Fornace hails from vineyards planted in 1994 and 2003. It’s a deep crimson to ruby in color. Crushed cherry and leather dominate on the nose with powdered spices and leaf tobacco emerging too. Really intriguing. Viscous on the palate with ripe cherry, dusty minerals, espresso grind and fennel. Medium to full body. This is very elegant but could still use 1-2 years in the bottle to soften the tannins a bit. Yet, this is deliciously approachable right now. Spends 29 months in barrique before release. 92 points. Overall, there’s no question these wines are exciting and well made. Furthermore, in many cases they represent incredible value given the quality and complexity. Bucerchiale remains a favorite and to me, is an essential in a Tuscan cellar. But we’re not done! Co-Owner and winemaker Federico Giuntini has graciously agreed to sit down with us for a chat. La Intervista con Federico Giuntini TV: Ciao Federico, come stai? FG: Grazie mille Giovanni and thank you for the wonderful article. TV: Piacere mio, iniziamo. These days, many consumers are eager to seek out excellent wines but also wines that are organic. What year did the estate become organic and why did you decide to seek certification? FG: When I first started to work at the estate, during the Summer of 1987, after high school, I asked Francesco to work organic. I saw that it was important then. We had a couple of vineyards where we began the process and after that Selvapiana became fully organic. Regarding certification; we certified the vineyards and olive trees only. TV: Let’s talk about the individual roles at the winery. You’re the winemaker with Bernabei assisting. How are your roles defined? What role does Silvia have in the winery? FG: Selvapiana is still a very small family operation, so roles are not so clear and strict. Silvia is in charge of the office, I mostly work in the vineyards and direct sales. More recently during 2019, my eldest son Niccolo, is now in charge of the cellar and he worked very closely with Franco Bernabei. Franco has helped us since 1978. TV: Besides Chianti Classico, which many of my readers are familiar with, I think the two most recognizable Chianti zones are Rufina and Colli Senesi. Generally speaking, what makes Rufina different from Chianti Classico? FG: Rufina is unique due to its position at the foothill of the Appenines. Because of the altitude, Rufina generally has a longer ripening season, with cooler nights. This promotes balance with a slow ripening of the grapes. But never too ripe. Soils can vary too of course, but the main difference is the location. TV: Bucerchiale is your oldest vineyard with parcels dating back to 1968. It was my first introduction to Selvapiana when I tasted the 1985 vintage. I still remember it. For me, it’s one of the best vineyards in all of Tuscany. What do you think makes it so special? And to that point, I always find “animale” and “cured meat” in that wine. E specially on the nose. Is it the soil that imparts that character? FG: We are really lucky to own such a great spot. The first parcel was planted in 1968 as you say. Then a second parcel in 1992 and a younger one in 2001. The oldest part, mainly because of vine losses and low planting density was ripped up and re-planted just a few years ago. We let the soil rest for 43 years before we replanted. The soil is definitely in that wine. And you’re right – Vigneto Bucerchiale 1985 was probably the best we ever made. In addition to what you say, you can also find the “woodlands after rain” – a sort of earthiness with great minerality. TV: And Bucerchiale is 100% Sangiovese and the estates’s flagship wine. But now you’re producing Vigneto Erchi which is also 100% Sangiovese. What is the main difference between the two? In my tastings above, I suppose I’d generally say that Bucerchiale is a bit more rustic while Erchi seems more polished. What do you think of that? What are the differences in altitude between the two vineyards? FG: Vigneto Bucerchiale is the project of Francesco Giuntini, with a young Franco Bernabei. And even Luigi Veronelli was involved then who encouraged the planting! Vigneto Erchi is the project of my generation. We bought the land in 1998 and planted the vineyards in 1999; just 6 hectares. We waited until the vines reached a good age and selected a new cru. Vigneto Erchi is in the municipality of Pontassieve in a kind of conca d’oro (not so great as the one in Panzano!) It sits next to I Veroni, Poggio a Remole, Il Capitano e Cerreto Libri. Soils there have more calcareous limestone and much more iron than Bucherchiale which is mostly clay with limestone. Bucherchiale is higher at about 200 meters while Erchi sits between 150-200 meters. The two make for an interesting comparison. TV: Let’s chat about vintages for a moment. Which year do you think was the most difficult vintage you’ve ever worked and what made it so hard? Contrarily, which was the easiest and why? FG: Well, my first one was 1987 and was really, really complicated. Lots of grapes (High yields) even though we green harvested a lot that year. There was lots of rain during the harvest as well and lots of Botrytis. 1992 was also very complicated. Those are 2 years when no Bucerchiale was made. Then I think 2013 and 2019 were probably the 2 easiest. Conditions were perfect in our area. TV: Definitely 2019! I’ve had discussions with a lot of winemakers across Italy and they are all praising that vintage. 2019 comes with great fanfare so what do you think of it? FG: Ha! Giovanni, the best thing I can say is that I hope to see another quality vintage like this! TV: Regarding vintages, good and bad, I’m always discussing the changing climate with winemakers. Hotter and drier Summers are forcing them to make changes to the way they farm. Lying further to the north, and under the protection of the Apennines, what decisions have you needed to make in order to combat the warming climate? FG: Many things have been changed and there is much more to be changed. We can not move the vineyards and so we have to play where we are! We practice later pruning to delay bud break, so you avoid Spring frost and also you can delay ripening this way. We use cover crops and manure to increase organic substance and have better microlife to the soil and reduce water stress to the vines. We work the soils deeper and more aggressively during winter to prevent the soil from becoming compacted. Also, canopy management has changed. We don’t pull away the leafs any more; no hedging. We like to keep the grapes more in the shade. Last but not least, before the big heat waves we spray products that help to reduce the temperature of the leafs, like caolino (white-clay and algae). TV: Wow! That is a ton of intervention, it’s amazing. FG: Well, every vintage is different certainly, but we have to be prepared to react given what nature provides us. We work all naturally so taking care of the vines and soils the best we possibly can will reduce the chance that we will have problems later. TV: Well, thank you so much Federico. In wrapping up, tell us what’s new at Selvapiana? What’s exciting? What would you want my readers to know that I haven’t brought up? FG: New is the new generation! They are slowly taking over. I am not too old but again, we have to be prepared! Niccolò is already working 100% in charge of the cellars and now he’s doing a lot in the vineyards. Plus, my daughter Rebecca is starting to help at the wine shop. TV: Grazie tanto Federico – I truly appreciate your time and your passion. I know my readers do as well so thank you for enlightening us. FG: Grazie a te Giovannin. I hope we see each other soon.
When we talk about winemaking we have to think of a series of phases that must be carried out methodically but at the same time are never the same, in fact many factors change with each harvest and must be taken into consideration. And this is even more true if wines are produced respecting the territory and seasonality. The racking is one of those phases whose importance is often underestimated, but it has a very specific meaning and is anything but improvised. Specifically, racking allows the elimination of sediments from the liquid obtained from fermentation, that is residues of skins, grape seeds, but also yeast and more. These substances have different specific weights and the lighter ones continue to remain, slowly depositing on the bottom with the passing of the months, and this is why at the Fattoria di Selvapiana we carry out up to three, to obtain a limpid, clear and stable wine. We use the Air Transfer technique, which consists of pouring the wine into an open container placed lower down, an action that promotes the oxygenation of the wine, protects from any reduction problems and eliminates unpleasant odors caused by fermentation. About a month after the end of the vinification, after the pressing phase, we proceed with the racking in order to clean the wine from the lees over time. This first racking of the wine has the purpose of eliminating the lees that have gone to deposit on the bottom of the container. In Selvapiana, after the two fermentations, we have the tradition of carrying out two more rackings in order to be able to refine the wines as clean as possible. It is important to carry out this step with extreme care and attention to avoid alterations in the wine. This phase is very delicate and requires a lot of time and attention to be carried out in the correct time and manner. At the end of winter or early spring the wine must be racked again. It is important that this racking is done before the hot season arrives, a period in which it is always inadvisable to make the wine undergo "displacements" that could alter its chemical state. Also in this case our experience and technical knowledge allow us to avoid the use of adjuvant or stabilizing substances. Generally in white and young wines the process ends here and bottling is carried out, while in the red and white ones destined for aging, further annual rackings are carried out in the spring, again to preserve color and properties.
Our wine SELVAPIANA CHIANTI RUFINA VIGNETO ERCHI RISERVA 2017 obtained the highest recognition of the FOUR VINES in the seventh edition of the VITAE Italian Wines Guide, published by the Italian Sommelier Association. We remind that the usual tasting of all the awarded wines and the delivery of the certificates to the Producers, scheduled in Rome at the Nuvola di Fuksas for Saturday, November 28, 2020, will unfortunately not take place in person this year.
Once again this year at the Fattoria di Selvapiana we concluded with satisfaction the harvest of the fruits of our vineyards. In this photo gallery we tell you a story that has been handed down for generations and that is renewed every year
“La guida Slow Wine 2021 vi ha assegnato i seguenti riconoscimenti: BOTTIGLIA (simbolo assegnato alle cantine che hanno espresso un’ottima qualità per tutte le bottiglie presentate alle nostre degustazioni) TOP WINE – VINO SLOW: Chianti Rufina Vigneto Erchi 2017 (Top Wine che, oltre ad avere una qualità organolettica eccellente, riesce a condensare nel bicchiere caratteri legati a territorio, storia e ambiente. L’attribuzione di questo simbolo implica l’assenza di diserbo chimico nei vigneti. Il Vino Slow risponde anche al criterio del buon rapporto tra la qualità e il prezzo, tenuto conto di quando e dove è stato prodotto) Non vi nascondiamo che quest’anno sia stato molto complicato realizzare la guida, ma riteniamo che il lavoro che abbiamo svolto sia stato puntuale, attento e decisamente innovativo. Slow Wine 2021 sarà la prima guida sia cartacea sia digitale: i contenuti, infatti, della guida si sono arricchiti di oltre 900 video interviste, accessibili da un QR Code pubblicato al fondo della scheda. Un atto rivoluzionario per una guida cartacea che il pubblico di appassionati e professionisti del settore saprà apprezzare.”
The Chianti Rufina Docg 2018 from the Fattoria di Selvapiana obtained the coveted CORONA award from the Vinibuoni d'Italia Guide during the selections in the National Finals. “GUIDA VINIBUONI D’ITALIA EDIZIONE 2021 Touring Club Italiano A cura di Mario Busso e Alessandro Scorsone Spett.le FATTORIA SELVAPIANA Mi complimento con Voi perché il Vostro vino: Chianti Rufina Docg 2018 a seguito delle degustazioni e delle selezioni operate dalle commissioni della Guida Vinibuoni d’Italia nelle Finali Nazionali ha ottenuto la CORONA ovvero il massimo riconoscimento che la Guida attribuisce ai vini d’eccellenza. L’ambito premio è riportato nella guida Vinibuoni d’Italia 2021 con un’apposita icona. In occasione della presentazione dell’edizione 2021 della guida, che si svolgerà ad inizio 2021 a Roma, Vi verrà consegnato il diploma che attesta il premio ottenuto. Seguirà più avanti la comunicazione con i dettagli relativi al programma della premiazione. Nel rinnovarVi le congratulazioni, Vi segnalo di seguito quattro importanti iniziative con le quali intendo presentare e promuovere il Vostro vino premiato ad un vasto pubblico di estimatori, giornalisti e operatori di settore. Complimenti vivissimi per il premio ottenuto e un caro saluto. Mario Busso Curatore Nazionale Vinibuoni d’Italia”
Time Flies: Celebrating New & Old Wines at Fattoria Selvapiana One hundred years passed between the Giuntini family’s last two purchases of land for vineyards, 1897 and 1997. So, the 19-year wait to produce the first single vineyard wine, Vigneto Erchi, from that new plot was relatively quick. (The family planted the vineyard in 1999.) In the same year that Fattoria Selvapiana welcomed this new wine to its stable, the winery also celebrated the 300th harvest since Pomino’s first quality decree, or bando, by Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici in 1716. The duke defined this area to protect the quality of wines being shipped to England (in place of French claret during the various wars of those days) for increasingly higher prices and volumes. Time flies, and life is too short to drink bad wine. With any of the Selvapiana wines, you won’t waste a sip! 92 Fattoria Selvapiana 2016 Vigneto Erchi Chianti Rùfina DOCG 14% $50 The south-facing Erchi vineyard is planted with massal selection Sangiovese from the Bucerchiale vineyard. There is a fascinating, stern elegance in the Vigneto Erchi. The nose is tight and reserved. (Give it a hearty decanting.) The palate is similar though there is a pop of sweet cherry fleshiness in the mid-palate. The tannins are broad and grainy, and while their initial attack feels as though they may be relentlessly drying, the mid-palate plumpness diffuses them nicely. The concentrated, beautifully ripe fruit pivots into a lingering finish of dried mulch and exotic spice with a lightly leathery finish. Compelling now, this needs and deserves time. It has the structure and stuffing to age very well. Drink: 2023-30 94 Fattoria Selvapiana 2016 Vigneto Bucerchiale Chianti Rùfina DOCG Riserva 14.5% $35 This pure Sangiovese Riserva from Selvapiana’s best vineyard is made only in the best vintages. (See the 2014 and 2015.) It always impresses me that a wine with such pedigree can be so accessible at such an early age. This 2016 is raring to go with its enthralling aromas of roasted meat, briar fruits and mulch. The attack is smooth – almost lush for the Rùfina area – with ripe fruits. To back up this generously-bodied palate is Rùfina’s telltale chirpy acidity that creates a waterfall of refreshment on the back palate. Throughout, the lightly coarse and sticky tannins mold onto the palate to create a mouth-filling and dignified Sangiovese. The fruit is impressively powerful and forward – not surprising given the vintage, but the structure is unrelentingly harmonious. Drink: 2020-31 91 Fattoria Selvapiana 2015 Pomino Rosso DOC Villa Di Petrognano 14% $21 While Pomino is a very small denominazione today, so small that only two producers use the DOC, it once defined a much larger area, including Chianti Rùfina, Chianti Classico, Carmignano and Val d’Arno di Sopra. This wine’s dominant variety, Sangiovese (60%), is mostly noticeable in the orange-tinged, ruby color and the floral, strawberry-perfumed attack. Then this Pomino Rosso’s Bordeaux contributors – equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – take over the palate flavors and feel. The mid-palate is full-bodied and supple thanks to the Merlot and the ripe nature of the 2015 vintage. The somewhat husky tannins hail from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The pleasantly earthy and minerally finish lingers with liveliness. There is good balance and integration here, and with the full-blast personality of the Bordeaux varieties, the wine could certainly stand to relax a bit in bottle. Still, it’s ready to be enjoyed if you like your wines young and vigorous. If you’re interested in putting away a few bottles to see how wines age, this should do nicely for the first half of this decade and even beyond, for a very modest sum! Drink: 2020-26 90 Fattoria Selvapiana 2018 Chianti Rùfina DOCG 13.5% $19 Chianti’s Rùfina sub-zone of is arguably the best of those outside the Classico area, and this label consistently shows why. Yet again, this is terrific value for the money, showing off Rùfina’s pretty and poised aromatics with Sangiovese’s tantalizing red fruit tones and light earthiness. This vintage’s aromas showcase rose petals, cigar wrapper and red currants. The medium-bodied palate is elegantly balanced between its pristine, energetic fruit, its lightly mouthcoating texture and elegant, talc-like tannins. There is zero evidence of oak use thanks to the employment of large, 25-30 hl French casks. This is the epitome of elegant, high altitude Chianti Rùfina. This vintage’s finish is lighter than the 2015 and 2016, suggesting that this is more of an early- to-mid-range wine. Drink: 2020-24 http://christycanterbury.com/publishedhere/2020/7/10/time-flies-celebrating-new-amp-old-wines-at-fattoria-selvapiana
Carlo Macchi wrote a beautiful article regarding the Chianti Rufina after the wine tasting and the Zoom live and he also published his reviews of the wines on Winesurf.it Following the article link: https://www.winesurf.it/chianti-rufina-ad-armi-pari-con-i-migliori-sangiovese/ and the reviews link: https://www.winesurf.it/it/guidavini/degustazioni/1125/chianti-rufina-2020-01-06-2020/ Carlo Macchi, inventore e curatore della guida fino al 2005, è oggi direttore di winesurf.it, portale online dedicato al mondo del vino e dell'enogastronomia più in generale. inventor and curator of the Vini buoni d'Italia guide until 2005, he is now director of winesurf.it, an online website dedicated to the world of wine and food .
Selvapiana, Chianti Rufina 2017, Italy In May 2020 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2017 received online reviews both by Matthew Jukes on MatthewJukes.com and by Jane MacQuitty on The Times "I have written up the Bucerchiale, Vigneto Erchi and Vin Santo from this stellar estate in my MoneyWeek column over the years, but never this glorious estate wine which, again, I have to admit to drinking very regularly indeed at home. Coming from the finest winery in the Florentine environs this is one of the greatest value Chiantis of all time and, can you believe it, unlike almost all of the competition it always drinks well young. Joyous blackberry and spice fruit notes abound and there is a snap of freshness on the finish which reminds you that Rufina is a region blessed with altitude. This is sheer heaven in a glass and you can even chill it a tad when the temperature rises." Matthew Jukes, MoneyWeek Wine Club – May 2020, MatthewJukes.com, 8th May 2020 "Delicious chianti with superb complexity and mouth-filling smoky, floral fruit, part rose, part violet." Jane MacQuitty, A perfect red wine for warm summer days, The Times, 9th May 2020
The Tuscany dossier of Vinum magazine, with reviews of Chianti wines d.o.c.g. Chianti DOCG - Lagenweine mit Pepp