In these days if you have favorable wind, in some places around Florence you can feel different smells in the air, sweet, gentle but penetrating: it is that air coming from the Chianti hills, easily accessible and visited in one day, just get an excellent wine tour guide!
Chasing this breeze we are in the countryside, where the harvest of Sangiovese, Canaiolo , Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, grapes forming the Chianti wine and some of the Best Super Tuscans is about to end. The grape, placed in baskets by the pickers, is brought at the beginning of each row where it is collected in carts and taken immediately to the winery. In the best quality wines, grapes are laid on large rolling tables and gently selected for the second time by hand, so as only the best berries go to the stainless steel fermenting vats. With attentive look, people are around the rolling table, focused and quick to part the bad berries from the good berries that will go immediately to the pressing, which brings up the grapes freeing the pulp and juice.
Then the controlled maceration begins, in which the must is kept in vats for 2-3 weeks, so that skins give the color to it. During maceration, the pulp and the seeds rise to the surface and form an almost solid layer. To develop aromas and tannins this must surface layer is broken by hand and pushed back towards the bottom, in an artisanal operation called “follatura”. That’s how the grapes are touched for the last time by the hands and begin to return all substances that received by the earth, water, sun and even the wind.
For commercial wines is another story: the grapes are piled up in big trucks like those of land transport, the violent transhipment done by machines makes it dented and crushed. To reach the wine-making warehouses, sometimes it takes long trips on sunny roads and when grapes arrive fermentation has already started. It is then thrown in mechanical destemmers, from which it will pass in stainless steel vats where maceration and fermentation happens.
During our wine tours near Florence, or during our Tuscany day trips from Florence, the vineyards you visit with us, are all small local wine producers who make small quantities of high quality wine, they personally accompany their grapes to the vats with joy and gratitude: it’s a final farewell to grapes and the first greeting to the new wine!