125 Years of Castello di Querceto

La Corte 2019: Interpreter of the past and present

The origins of Castello di Querceto, with its crenellated tower, date back to the Middle Ages, but the milestone being celebrated by the François family this year is an impressive 125 years as wine producers.

It was in 1897, in fact, in Dudda, in the commune of Greve in Chianti, that Carlo François purchased Castello di Querceto. Even then, estate-grown wine was being made within its venerable cellars from the surrounding vineyards, and Carlo, immediately recognising the innate quality of its Sangiovese, began to make a monovarietal from a small vineyard parcel of particular promise. That was the ancestor of La Corte, and a few bottles, dated 1904, still survive. A few years later, in 1924, Castello di Querceto became a founding producer of the Consorzio Chianti Classico.

The estate’s modern history, however, begins with Alessandro François, and his pioneering concept of the Chianti Classico cru. Since the 1970s, he has been minutely studying every individual plot on the estate, and, confirming the ground-breaking intuitions of his grandfather, he determined that the qualities of that very same parcel merited his first single-vineyard wine. La Corte thus debuted officially in 1978 as an IGT Toscana, produced from that 3.4-hectare vineyard lying at an elevation of 450 metres, planted with a south-southwest-facing exposure in sandy soils.     

Over the following decades, other singular expressions enriched the collection, and Castello di Querceto became a benchmark for the entire denomination, a growing area for which Alessandro and his wife Antonietta have been ambassadors literally across five continents, exporting their wines to over 50 countries. Today, Simone and Lia François work side by side with their father in managing the wine estate, as do their respective spouses Stefania and Marco, sharing responsibility for hospitality, administration, and export. 

Over the years, research at the Castello has proceeded uninterrupted. The introduction of precision viticulture has proved decisive, as well as minimal intervention in the winemaking process; both testify to the philosophy of striving to highlight the distinctive characteristics of each individual vineyard parcel. 

The historic La Corte cru fully embodies this approach. With the 2017 vintage, it became a Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, thus joining the other prestigious cru, Il Picchio, which has been a Gran Selezione since 2011. “Both of these Sangiovese wines have always so impressed us that they deserved to bear the denomination’s highest quality designation,” commented Simone François.

“At 125 years from the founding of Castello di Querceto,” added Alessandro François, “La Corte continues to gift us a vibrant, comprehensive, and eloquent expression of our terroir. It amply demonstrates the incredible qualities of this growing area, as well as of the denomination that we are so proud to be a part of.”

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione La Corte 2019, released just recently on the market, is the fruit of a growing season which proved well-balanced and of impressive quality. Generous rainfall in the spring filled groundwater reserves that helped the vines cope with a dry summer. The heat was not excessive, however, thanks to Castello di Querceto’s elevation and to significant day-night temperature differences. Finally, very favourable weather in September and October allowed the winery to push back the start of harvest. The results were ideally-ripe clusters that yielded a taught, clean-edged, pleasurable Sangiovese.    

“All in all, a perfect vintage for our celebration of such an important anniversary,” concluded Simone François, fourth generation of a family fiercely proud of its traditions, and one whose long history gives it the ability to see far into its future.


The winery, along with its agriturism and luxuriant park, lies in Dudda, in a small valley in the hills high above Greve, in north-central Tuscany. Here, the François family grow their wines in some 65 hectares of estate vineyards, subdivided into 26 individual parcels planted in Cretaceous-Eocene polychrome schists. In addition to the Chianti Classico line, led by the two Gran Selezione crus, La Corte and Il Picchio, the portfolio boasts various IGT crus, Il Cignale, Il Querciolaia, Il Sole di Alessandro (Cabernet Sauvignon), and QueRceto Romantic, an elegant blend of Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Syrah.

Citizenship in the contemporary world and responsibility to the local environment and to future generations require a commitment to sustainability, and thus Castello di Querceto has been a certified participant in the Italian government’s ViVa program since 2022.    

Henry Borzi

Nittardi, 40 years of wine and art

From 10 to 30 November 2022… in homage to Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi Vigna Doghessa, the Nittardi collection will be on display at the Galleria Palazzo Coveri of Florence: over 80 works by the most important contemporary artists.

Casanuova di Nittardi is the historic Chianti Classico of Nittardi winery. Its very first vintage saw the launch of an art project, which has now, with the wine’s 2020 vintage, reached its 40th anniversary. Since 1981, the Canali-Femfert family has been celebrating the character and history of Casanuova di Nittardi by means of a unique artwork series: for each vintage, artists are invited to create two art pieces, one for the bottle label and one for its wrapping paper.

To celebrate this particular milestone, the Canali-Femfert family decided to establish an international art competition – the Premio Nittardi. Its prestigious jury has selected not one, but six artists, since the guiding concept is to offer passionate collectors of Nittardi an unpredecented case of six bottles of Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi Vigna Doghessa 2020, each with a different label and wrapping paper.

This one-of-a-kind eno-artistic treasure, the Collezione Nittardi, from 10 to 30 November 2022, moves to Florence’s Galleria di Palazzo Coveri, at 19 Lungarno Giucciardini, where visitors may admire both the original art works as well as the entire set of bottles with their front labels and wrapping paper.

This journey through 40 vintages of a wine that is itself an artwork offers the rare opportunity to appreciate some of the most influential figures of contemporary international art, and in doing so has created a further artistic dimension… for all the senses.

Over the years, Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi Vigna Doghessa has proudly borne the signatures and artworks of international artists such as Pierre Alechinsky, Corneille, Dario Fo, Karl Otto Götz, Günter Grass, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Yoko Ono, Mimmo Paladino, Fabrizio Plessi, Mikis Theodorakis and many others. They are joined today by this year’s winners of the Premio Nittardi: Italian artists Chiara Mazzotti and Fausto Maria Franchi, and from abroad, Pengpeng Wang, Ulrike Seyboth, Olle Borg, and Andreas Floudas-Zygouras. In addition, the Femfert family also selected a seventh artist, Roberto Maria Lino, to artistically dress the Magnums.


The exhibition _ The public may visit the exhibition in the Galleria Palazzo Coveri, at Lungarno Giucciardini 19, in Florence from 10 to 30 November 2022, Tuesday through Saturday, from 11.00am to 1.00pm and from 3.30pm to 7.00pm. Entry is free.

The Premio Nittardi jury _ The Premio Nittardi jury is composed of Luigi Toninelli (Gallerista of Milan/Monte Carlo), Johannes Heisig (German author and artist of an art piece for the 2019 vintage), Amy Ernst (artist, niece of Max Ernst), Anthony von Mandl (Canadian art collector and wine producer), Young Ho Kim (Korean art collector), Gianna Martini Coveri (CEO, Gruppo Coveri).

Winners of the Premio Nittardi _ Chiara Mazzotti (I) with “Purezza concreta” and “Celebrazione”; Fausto Maria Franchi (I) with “Capriccio italiano”; Pengpeng Wang (CHINA) with “Pensieri”; Ulrike Seyboth (D) with “fructueux” and “abondance”; Olle Borg (S) with “Sine Nomine”; and Andreas Floudas-Zygouras (GR) with “Per Edoardo” and “Wine stages”. Special prize awarded to Roberto Maria Lino (I) by the Femfert family, for the Magnum label and for his works “Sutura”.

The Nittardi Collection _ The artists who have created labels and wrapping papers to date are Bruno Bruni (1981), Maurilio Minuzzi (1982), Karl Korab (1983), Simon Dittrich (1984), Miguel Berrocal (1985), Alfred Hrdlicka (1986), Paul Wunderlich (1987), Rudolf Hausner (1988), Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1989), Horst Janssen (1990), Valerio Adami (1991), Corneille (1992), A.R. Penck (1993), Eduardo Arroyo (1994), Raymond E. Waydelich (1995), Luigi Veronesi (1996), Igor Mitoraj (1997), Elvira Bach (1998), Emilio Tadini (1999), Sandra Brandeis Crawford (2000), Volker Stelzmann (2001), Giuliano Ghelli (2002), Robert Combas (2003), Klaus Zylla (2004), Yoko Ono (2005), Mimmo Paladino (2006), Tomi Ungerer (2007), Günter Grass (2008), Pierre Alechinsky (2009), Dario Fo (2010), Kim Tschang Yeul (2011), Karl Otto Goetz (2012), Alain Clément (2013), Hsiao Chin (2014), Joe Tilson (2015), Allen Jones (2016), Mikis Theodorakis (2017) Johannes Heisig (2018) and Fabrizio Plessi (2019).

The wine _ Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi is grown near the villa residence in Castellina in Chianti and, since 2012, has been the offspring of a single vineyard, Vigna Doghessa. This parcel, lying at 450 metres above sea level with superlative southern exposure, has soil of medium depth, rich in galestro and alberese, two geological materials that define the character of our Chianti Classico. The wine is as unique as it is complex, just as a work of art can be.

The winery _ Nittardi has 40 hectares of vineyards, organically formed since 2014, divided between Castellina in Chianti and Maremma in Tuscany. In the sixteenth century, the estate was owned̀ by Michelangelo, who would send wine from there to Rome as a present for Pope Paul III. Art and creativity are in the DNA of the estate, as evidenced by the extraordinary park of contemporary sculptures and the exceptional artists who, every year since 1981, have created two works dedicated to the historic Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi at the invitation of the curator Peter Femfert; his wife Stefania Canali, historian; and their eldest son Léon, who has managed the estate since 2013.

Vinchio Vaglio: the Nest of Barbera

The story of the Vinchio and Vaglio winery is a love story where the inhabitants of these two villages transformed a difficult and poor, inarable land with slopes so steep that some local sayings proved true: “S’ot dròca la colassion, it la treuvi pì!” (if you drop your breakfast, you won’t find it again!) or “S’ot dròca ël bertin, ot toca curije drera fin ant la val” (if your hat blows off in the wind, you’ll need to run down to the end of the valley to get it”). The name results from both Vinchio and Vaglio Serra villages where 19 vine growers used to live and founded the cooperative in 1959. The winery is located in Piedmont, Monferrato, core zone of UNESCO World Heritage Patrimony, right at the foot of the Alps. This area with its steep slopes and overhanging vineyards at the edge of the woods has been tended and “tamed” to dramatic effort, where every single drop of the “Ruby of Vinchio” (Barbera wine) equates to thousands of drops (and certainly not an exaggeration!) of farmers’ sweat. However, the vineyards have never failed to reward their hard work. These vine rows, in fact, repay the industrious farmers with grapes of rare and exceptional quality. Nowadays the cooperative represents 192 family vine growers who take daily care of 450 hectares mostly planted in Barbera grapes (60% of our production) and all other indigenous grapes from Piedmont such as Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Ruché, Albarossa, Grignolino, Arneis, Cortese, Moscato and Brachetto. The territory is characterized by a distinctive terroir of calcareous soils and sandy soils in Vinchio and mostly clay soils in Vaglio Serra what makes the Barbera of Vinchio Vaglio unique for the structure (white soils), elegance (sandy soils) and aromas (clay soils). The sun usually shines all day on these hills, there is seldom hoarfrost or fog and no shadow. Great wines grow on these hills.

Monterosola, award-winning wines from ancient land

Situated on a plateau at 430 meters altitude, above two ancient, wooded valleys with far-reaching views to the coast. Monterosola “hill of poppies” is one of Tuscany’s finest contemporary wineries.

Resting on a hillside overlooking the medieval city of Volterra, the Monterosola estate combines traditional winemaking techniques with state-of-the art technology. Just 50km from the coastal region of Bolgheri and 30km from the world-famous hills of Chianti, Monterosola sits amidst some of the best wine growing locations in the world.

Monterosola has its own complex microclimate which provides vines with the optimum growing conditions. Here, a regular breeze promotes the natural health and energy of the vines, which, in turn, produce the very best grapes.

With 25 hectares of vineyards producing both white and red wines, the estate also has olive groves, woodlands, gardens, lakes and pastures.

A destination winery

The estate has been producing excellent wines since 2003 yet it entered an exciting era in 2013 when the land was purchased by the Thomaeus family who recognised the true potential of the terroir. In 2015 the family embarked on an impressive project, to design and build a grand-scale cantina with purpose-built facilities for wine tastings and events.

At Monterosola the wine production methods are supervised by Alberto Antonini who has previously worked with some of Italy’s most prestigious cantinas including Antinori and Frescobaldi.  



A beautiful rich ruby in colour with elements of ripe fruits on the nose with a hint of red cherry, strawberries almonds and green herbs. A well-balanced combination of elegance and intensity on the palate with soft tannins and a generous aftertaste.







Deep garnet colour with flavours of rich cherries, dried herbs, sweet oak, spices, black tea and toasted almonds. Both intense and complex on the palate it is powerful yet refined with a lengthy finish. Crescendo has great aging potential.








A sophisticated single variety Vermentino, straw yellow coloured with youthful green highlights. Enjoys an elegant and consistent aroma with hints of white flowers, grapefruit, pear, white peach and a pleasing minerality. Fresh and well balanced on the palate with a lingering light finish.















A warm light golden colour. Intense and elegant aromas come to the fore, ripe apricot, peach, citrus zest and minerality evolve into a hint of sweet spice. A generous, silky and balanced wine with an authentic personality. Remarkable aftertaste.

Etna: Pure excitement

While the spectacular eruption transfixes the world, Passopisciaro remembers its first vintage 20 years ago


The last two weeks put the spotlight on the world’s most active volcano: Etna. 

The pyrotechnics included erupting fountains of lava that surged to 1,000 metres above the upper crater and incandescent flows that held the world media spellbound. 

In this unique, always-restless environment, continuously providing intense excitement, grow some of Italy’s most prized vineyards. Passopisciaro, Etna’s iconic wine estate on its north slope, has for 20 years served as a benchmark for the area’s wine production. For it was here, exactly two decades ago, that the first harvest of the all-Nerello Mascalese Passorosso (than called Passopisciaro) arrived in the cellar and launched the local winemaking renaissance—thanks to Andrea Franchetti, the visionary who firmly believed in the quality of this volcanic earth and promoted the concept of Contrade wines, cru wines whose world-class quality he clearly foresaw.  

Today, Passopisciaro produces five red Contrada wines: Rampante, Chiappemacine, Porcaria, Guardiola, and Sciaranuova, all ready to be released with the new 2019 vintage in June, while Passorosso, whose 2019 is scheduled for September, is a blend of all five, the quintessence of Franchetti’s style and a subtly-woven tapestry of these vineyards lying at up to 1,000 metres. The Chardonnay-based whites are Passobianco and the knife-edged Contrada PC, introduced two years ago, grown in a small sand-rich parcel at the highest part of the estate.

The Estate. Passopisciaro practices a precision viticulture obsessively respectful of nature, relying on 26 hectares of vineyards distributed over the north flank of Etna; most are planted to Nerello Mascalese, often un-grafted vines 80-100 years old, but there are Petit Verdot, Cesanese di Affile, and Chardonnay as well. In addition to Passorosso, Passobianco and the contrada crus, Passopisciaro’s portfolio boasts the prestigious Franchetti cuvée, composed of Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile.

Andrea Franchetti also owns Tenuta di Trinoro, in Sarteano in Tuscany’s magnificent Val d’Orcia, famous for its legendary Bordeaux blend named after the estate.


HyperFocal: 0

An architectural masterpiece quarried from the blue clay


Carved deep into the ancient blue clay that underpins the vineyard, the Masseto winery is a physical and symbolic tribute to the Estate’s history and rapid evolution from intuition about the hidden potential of a vineyard site, to internationally acclaimed wine.

‘The Winery is a tribute to the past, present and future of Masseto. It celebrates the incredible story of a wine that was never meant to exist,’ said Masseto CEO, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja. ‘Years of planning and effort have been dedicated to building the right home for Masseto. One that consolidates three decades of experience, where every aspect has been designed to meet the winemaking team’s highly detailed requirements.

Technical facilities in the subterranean building, reminiscent of a sacred temple, have been stripped back to low-impact basics. ‘Nothing is missing, and there is no more than necessary,’ said Masseto Estate Director, Axel Heinz. He stressed that winemaking at Masseto, which balances austerity, modernity and tradition, will remain unchanged. ‘Our wine making is about reducing the process, reducing intervention, with a ‘less is more’ philosophy.’

Designed by architects Hikaru Mori and Maurizio Zito of the ZitoMori Studio, the building represents and reinforces Masseto’s discreet but powerful identity. Above ground, only the low lines of the grape reception area and the restored Masseto House emerge from the hill.

Built to incorporate a gravity flow winemaking process, and benefiting from the blue clay’s natural insulation, the structure is symbiotic with the hills and vineyard that surround it. The architects called their underground design concept, The Quarry. ‘To represent the effort required to produce the wine made here, we created a series of spaces – not by construction, but by extraction from the hill’s monolithic mass. The diverse internal volumes, heights and levels are reminiscent of a gold mine as it follows seams of precious metal to the core,’ said Japanese-born architect Hikaru Mori.

Cast-in-place concrete was used for the winery’s architectural framework. Inside, clean lines of glass and steel predominate, balanced by rows of oak barrels. Textured and scored surfaces throughout are a reminder of the extractive construction process, while openings in the walls frame vertical profiles of the vineyard’s inimitable blue clay terroir.

At the very heart of the structure lies the Estate’s wine vault, Masseto Caveau. Bottles of every vintage since 1986 are preserved here, in perfect cellaring conditions, each suspended in its own stainless-steel mesh cradle. There could be no better physical manifestation of the Estate’s history.

The 2018 vintage is the first to be vinified in the Winery, by recently appointed cellar master, Eleonora Marconi.

Masseto, located on the Tuscan coast close to the small village of Bolgheri, is a wine that was never meant to exist. The potential of the slope where the vineyard now sits was finally seen in the 1980’s, when, against all odds, advice and local tradition, the first vines were planted. Intuition paid off. The blue clay, cooling coastal breezes and abundant refracted light from the Tyrrhenian Sea all contribute to Masseto’s intriguing combination of power, elegance and complexity. Masseto has received international acclaim since its birth in 1986. The Estate is controlled by the Frescobaldi Family Group.



The Maremma yields a jewel called Le Pupille

Elisabetta Geppetti’s trail-blazing idea of producing a great Syrah in Tuscany’s coastal Maremma area began to take shape as early as the year 2000, when she planted two vineyards to that noble variety at Fattoria Le Pupille. Years of quality selection in the vineyards followed, then vinifications from 2012 on, all of which amply confirmed that the path she had chosen was correct. The final fruit was Le Pupille, a wine that embodied a yet-unexplored aspect of the Maremma’s winemaking potential and expressed at the same time the elegance and fascination of two women intimately linked to each other. Elisabetta Geppetti has been joined, since 2011, by her daughter Clara Gentili, who displays the very same level of passion and, it would seem, far-sightedness as her mother.

A four-handed accomplishment_Le Pupille was also the result of innovative winemaking practices. “My mother and I decided, together with winemaking consultant Luca D’Attoma,” explains Clara, “to vinify each of the two vineyards differently, the grapes from one in large oak tonneaux, the others in large terracotta jars hand-made in Tuscany.” 

“It was all quite an emotional project,” added Elizabeth, “and one that our entire family embraced, since, as we love to tell, we all personally destemmed the grapes by hand after the harvest.” And that 2015 harvest yielded wonderful fruit in the two vineyards that unite to produce Le Pupille.    

The Vigna del Palo and fermentation in tonneaux_Planted in 2000, this 1.5-hectare vineyard faces east, which allows the grapes to benefit from the less-intense morning light and to avoid the impact of the hotter hours of the day. Thanks to a rather light leaf-thinning during the 2015 season, cluster development was gradual and consistent, and at harvest-time, in the last week of August, the grapes were sweet and aroma-rich, with fairly refined tannins. A 25-day fermentation followed, in open-topped 500-litre oak tonneaux, with careful punch-downs twice a day to maximise aroma extraction, then the wine macerated on the skins an additional 25 days.       

The Vigna di Pian di Fiora and fermentation in jars_This small vineyard, barely half a hectare, was planted in 2002. Its particularly cool, dry climate was further accentuated in 2015 by breezes along the valley floor, and the result was a pronounced florality and dense tannins in the grapes. Fermentation in 500-litre terracotta jars preserved varietal fidelity and heightened the grapes’ floral notes. Fermentation began spontaneously, but it was carefully controlled, and the subsequent maceration continued for some eight months, until May 2016, when the wine was finally drawn off and racked at low temperature.     


The final blend of the separately-fermented lots matured in new 300-litre French oak barrels for some 10 months, was bottled in March 2017, then received a further 22 months’ bottle-ageing.  

The result of this refined process is a Le Pupille of pronounced crispness and elegance, with an intriguing stylistic link to its trans-Alpine cousin. Its complex bouquet boasts wild black berryfruit, spice, and a subtle toastiness. Le Pupille 2015 was produced in a limited edition of 3,000 750ml bottles.    

Castello di Querceto 120 years history of wine

Entering Castello di Querceto, one’s gaze is immediately caught by a late 18th-century photo of some François family’s ancestors. The images are a bit time-scarred, but those piercing eyes, even 120 years on, leave no doubt about the reasons why this family, still today owners of this wine estate, has become one of the leading lights in Chianti Classico, driven by their desire to offer wine-lovers authentic expressions of classic Tuscan grape varieties.    

Starting in the early 1900s, with their first all-Sangiovese vineyards, through 1924, when they and a select group of 32 other producers founded Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico, and right up to the present moment, Castello di Querceto has always, through its wines, spoken to the world in an intensely family and personal fashion.   

The interpretation of the cru vineyards and the identification of grape selections that best represent the estate have always been, since the 1970s, Alessandro François’ objectives, and he has succeeded in winning recognition across the globe for Castello di Querceto as one of Chianti Classico’s best-known producers. Today, in fact, 90% of its production is exported to over 50 countries, a marketing achievement of which Alessandro and Antonietta François are justly proud.    

2017 ushers in Castello di Querceto’s commemoration of its 120 years of winemaking, and it is celebrating that milestone by uncorking two of its iconic wines–both obviously monovarietal Sangioveses. The first, La Corte IGT Colli della Toscana Centrale, was the winery’s first cru, and some early-1900s vintages of it are still lying in collectors’ cellars. The second, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Il Picchio, is the quintessential expression of the best vineyards in the south-eastern part of the estate. 

“There will be no special commemorative label for either wine,” states François; “the wines themselves are perfectly capable of recounting our history.” And in fact, these two interpreters of the wine estate’s philosophy prefer to reveal themselves directly in the glass: La Corte through its elegance, its fruit and subtle hint of balsam, Il Picchio with its structure and impressive length, heightened by herbaceous and floral notes and a touch of chocolate.   

Raising a glass of Castello di Querceto is a full-immersion into the history of Chianti Classico. 


Siddura, nine wines to tell an island

Siddura winery founded in 2008 from the fusion of the experience of a German industrialist and the profound knowledge of the territory and market of Massimo Ruggero, Siddura CEO.
Located in the little village of Luogosanto in Sardinia, it has in the “Terroir” the strong feature of the winery. The estate is immersed in a valley surrounded by granite, protected by the mighty winds of maestrale and caressed by the sea breeze.

The union of climatic factors and the specificity of the granite soil degradation give the wines a particular minerality. The cellar was born around its fulcrum: a fully-buried amphitheater building that exploits the geothermal potential of the site and boasts an innovative control system for the fermentation of individual tanks.

Here, the entire production chain, from grape to bottle, takes place, privileging spontaneous fermentations and using the most diverse types of containers from concrete tanks to barrels.
The estate stretches for two hundred acres and the grounds are a mixture of granite, sand and clay. They are loose soil, often arid, ideal for viticulture.

Sardinia in purity” is the Siddura philosophy, which has made it possible to produce a line with eight high quality wines. The company’s goal is to produce wines that identify with the terroir from which they come from. Production therefore provides limited harvests to ensure maximum quality, selective handmade harvest, micro-wine making and aging in the best oak barrels built in France.

In five years, Siddura wines have conquered over 450 medals in the most renowned national and international wine competitions.

To point out a revolutionary concept of Siddura; the innovative winemaking of white wines as if they were red, that is to create a long-lasting Vermentino that improves after a year of aging.

Siddura wines

1) SPÈRA Vermentino di Gallura DOCG in purity, about 13 °.

2) MAIA A Vermentino di Gallura coming from another squad of our vineyard, always in purity DOCG.

3) BERU Extreme processing, French vinification, small Chardonnay cut on Vermentino’s mass.

4) ÈREMA red sardine grapes, vinified in long fermentation a Cannonau Doc.

5) BÀCCO Cagnulari in purity, historical grape of Sardinia recently rediscovered by the great international oenologists.

6) FOLA Cannonau in purity DOC.

7) TIROS It is the Sardinian super Tuscan, a base of Sangiovese and Cabernet sauvignon as the great wines of Tuscany.

8) NÙALI Moscato di Sardegna DOC Passito.

9) NUDO rose’

Venissa, the wine of Venice

(c) Mattia Mionetto

The Venissa Estate lies on Mazzorbo, one of the three islands of Native Venice, an archipelago of nature, colors, flavors, and art that also includes Burano and Torcello.

While accompanying several customers on a trip to Torcello, I noticed an old grapevine in a private garden beside the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. I managed to persuade the owner to send me some of the grapes when they had matured. The crates arrived full of lovely, thick-skinned grapes with a brilliant golden color. It was the famous Dorona, also known as the golden grape, well-loved by the Venetians and served during the banquets of the Doges and then lost to history.” – Gianluca Bisol. Venissa’s story began by chance and resulted in an incredible discovery: some of the very last grapevines in Venice, the final trace of a winegrowing culture that was destroyed by the flood of 1966.

(c) Mattia Mionetto

It is a winemaking story that goes back more than 2000 years to 1100, when vineyards could be found in Piazza San Marco but whose ultimate destiny was to be cut down to make space for the great Venetian palazzos that the world admires today. There were many islands in the Venetian Lagoon where wine was produced until fifty years ago, especially on the islands of Mazzorbo, Burano, and Torcello, otherwise known as Native Venice. The Dorona di Venezia is a native white-skinned variety that adapted well to the high waters and the particular conditions of this unique terroir, and Gianluca Bisol discovered 88 vine plants in 2002 in the gardens and remaining vineyards of Venice.

After the first microvinifications were carried out, Gianluca Bisol and his colleagues decided to replant the variety, which, in the lagoon, produces a nectar that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The ideal location turned out to be the island of Mazzorbo on the Scarpa Volo estate, which had been a walled vineyard and winery for centuries until the great flood of 1966. It is here that the Bisol family decided to replant 4000 vine plants of Dorona (less than 1 hectare) that produces just shy of 4000 bottles per year. Vinification is carried out by Desiderio Bisol and Roberto Cipresso, a renowned enologist with a passion for viticultural history. Cipresso calls for a long maceration on the skins, a practice once used by farmers, to obtain a white wine with the structure and longevity of a red. From the skins, the Venissa wine extracts the flavors and unique aromas typical of this inimitable terroir: notes of salt, honey, wormwood, and white peach.

Venissa has been a pioneer in bringing wine back to the lagoon, whose reputation is quickly spreading among international wine lovers as an ideal and unique place for viticulture. After Venissa came Rosso Venissa, a red wine produced from Merlot and Carmenere from a 50-year-old vineyard located on the island of Santa Cristina.

Both are wines that immediately drew the interest of wine connoisseurs. The first vintage of Rosso Venissa, the 2011 harvest, was awarded 93 points by the prestigious Italian Veronelli guide, while the 2010 vintage of Venissa was named one of the top 100 Italian wines by the highly respected Gatti Massobrio guide.


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