Published on 21 Apr 2011 by Alison
A Chianti wine tour will overwhelm you with its history, multiple examples of very good Chianti and beautiful landscapes, but not always in an area which is by now a guaranteed tourism success can you always find many examples of innovation. The Fattoria Torre a Cona won its Best of Wine Tourism award for exactly that.
The commanding but beautiful Italian villa provides a series of historically interesting buildings as a setting for a bed and breakfast and some Chianti wine tasting, that the company decided to turn its old granary store into a tasting room and wine shop. On entering the wine shop, the setting of a wine tasting along the length of the old building has a great impact. The restoration, designed by architect Miranda Ferrera, has preserved the alcoves of the original grain storage purpose, that now house the wine bottles and olive oil products of the farm.
A tour and wine tasting takes in the old cellars and the grounds of the estate, with a short walk around the Villa Torre a Cona gardens. Each wine tasting includes local dishes and bruschetta dressed with olive oil, while in terms of winemaking the Fattoria Torre a Cona has kept things simple but elegant, making three wines.
During our tour, this was one of the few Chianti Colli Fiorentini sangiovese we had the opportunity to taste. At 90 percent sangiovese and only ten percent canaiolo, it provides a very fruity Chianti with soft tannins and only a touch of oak (the Fattoria ages this wine for only eight months in oak barrels). It’s a medium to light body Chianti that will match nearly all meat dishes including first courses, as it has a dry, soft finish with no overpowering structure or alcohol.
The IGT label of the Terre di Cino doesn’t do this 100 percent sangiovese justice in terms of the prestige more readily associated with DOCG labels. This particular wine is not strictly a Supertuscan because of the pure sangiovese grape, although it does complete 12 months of barrel age before another eight months in the bottle, meaning it probably appeals more to new world tastes than the more classic and lighter Chianti.
The Terre di Cino has more evident vanilla and spicy notes with a softer, brick red colour from its additional ageing. The structure of this wine takes a little more effort and it should be paired with second courses, even supporting more fully flavoured dishes of game meat. This is a wine that can stand some ageing, and on opening, letting it breathe should soften the tannins further.
The last wine that the Fattoria Torre a Cona makes is the Merlaia Vinsanto del Chianti. It seems patience is the main ingredient in a wine like this as after about four months of drying the grapes, the winemaking process is followed by another four years in oak. This particular vinsanto is a fifty-fifty split between trebbiano and malvasia grapes and has notes of candied fruit, especially orange rind. Again, it is another example more to my taste with a slightly drier finish, although it should still be matched with traditional Tuscan sweets.
You can book tours and wine tastings on the Fattoria Torre a Cona website. Their innovation as a company doesn’t just extend to the architecture though, as star gazing and wine tasting nights are being organised for summer this year. Dates in June and July are available for booking with wine tasting and telescopes available to view the night sky, with an explanation by an astronomer.