The immense variety of fine Tuscan wines behind the Frescobaldi name should really be no surprise considering the family’s history dates back over a thousand years. Their activities as bankers and merchants in the Renaissance are intertwined with the economic and political history of Tuscany, while as art patrons they quite literally helped shape the face of Florence, funding the building Santo Spirito Basilica and the Santa Trinità bridge over the river Arno, among other projects.
Today, with six different estates throughout Tuscany, two stylish restaurants – in Florence and London – and a stake in several Italian wineries to their name, the descendants of the original Frescobaldis continue to play a leading role in Italy’s wine industry. Far from having created a brand with universally recognisable traits however, the family’s success hinges on high standards of quality in developing the uniqueness of each estate’s terroir: Tenuta Castiglione situated in the rolling hills of the Valle Pesa in Montespertoli, the original family property since 1100 A.D. where wine production began before the year 1300; Castello Nipozzano the late Medieval/early Renaissance citadel in Nipozzano; the elegant Castello Pomino nestled in the woods outside Florence; the historical stronghold of Tenuta CastelGiocondo in Montalcino where the Frescobalidi’s perhaps most famous Brunello red wines are produced; Tenuta Rèmole with its old family home, wool mill, brick-making furnace and centuries-old church, located east of Florence in Sieci and finally, Ammiraglia, the recent state-of-the-art winery whose cellar blends into the Mediterranean landscape of Tuscany’s south western area, Maremma.
True to their vocation of cultural promotion alongside the production of high quality wines, the family remains committed to art patronage with the “Artists for Frescobaldi” project, which funds contemporary Italian art and awards an annual prize to one of three selected young international artists. What’s more, the Frescobaldi estates have sought a balance between tradition and modernity by adopting sustainable agriculture techniques and taken steps to lower environmental impacts by using lighter glass bottles and installing photovoltaic solar panels to offset the wineries’ energy needs. Another interesting project that has brought the Frescobaldi family notoriety on several accounts is their partnership with the Gorgona prison on the tiny island off the Tuscan coast, where inmates work on a 1-hectare vineyard to produce exquisite white and red wines using organic farming techniques. Here is a sampling of three of their vast array of prize-winning cru wines:
Denomination: Costa Toscana IGT
Grape varieties: Vermentino and Ansonica
Tasting notes: crystal clear white wine with aromas of Mediterranean plants, rosemary, juniper, thyme, some mineral accents and fruity notes of peach and pineapple. Very fresh palate with lingering fruitiness of apricot jam.
Enjoy with a first course of pasta or second course of delicate white fish.
Ripe al Convento – Tenuta di CastelGiocondo
Denomination: Brunello di Montalcino DOCg Riserva
Grape varieties: Sangiovese
Tasting notes: deep ruby red with garnet tones, the complex bouquet is dominated by notes of red and black fruits giving way to spicier vanilla, coffee and a hint of tobacco. On the palate shows well rounded-tannins with pleasant acidity to balance high alcohol levels.
An excellent accompaniment to stewed red meats, braised game or sharp, aged cheeses.
Giramonte – Tenuta Castiglione
Denomination: Toscana IGT
Grape varieties: Merlot with a small percentage of Sangiovese
Tasting notes: A bright, intense ruby red wine with fruity scents of blackberry and herbal scent of thyme on top and deeper notes of coffee and cocoa. Pleasantly dry tannins in the mouth yield to fine, lingering taste of hazelnut with recall of coffee from the nose.
Ideal pairing for roasted, grilled or barbecued beef but also soft, semi-ripe cheese.
You could “get a taste” of the interior of the castle or the wine cellar at Castello Nipozzano on Google Maps, but it would pale next to seeing this, or any of the Frescobaldi family’s other five amazing wineries in person and savouring their excellent wines together on our Tuscan wine tours… why not arrange a visit with us today!