Terricciola, Province of Pisa, Toscana
In the nineties, when Tuscan winemakers were still pulling up “local blending grapes” to plant the so-called international varieties beloved by the Super Tuscan movement, the Cantoni family discovered a property that was full of precious old vines, including a vineyard that was planted in 1895. They brought in Sangiovese expert Professor Bandinelli, and together they utilized then-emerging DNA technology to positively identify the grapes and clones. One vine was the SanForte clone, a forceful Sangiovese that had fallen out of favor long ago, when phenolic ripeness was less understood and powerful reds, unlike during the late 20th century, were not in fashion. More than one Fibbiano wine represents the world’s only bottling of a particular grape, and to taste their line is to tour each component of Tuscan wine-blending tradition.
The Cantonis are equally committed to native yeasts. The father, Giuseppe, purchased the property in 1997, and brothers Nicola and Matteo work in enology and marketing respectively. When it comes to selected yeast, Matteo has expressed confoundment: “Would you take a fish and season it with meat?” The family’s commitment to organic farming also strikes them as obvious: “How could we spray chemicals? This is where we live.” No other approach would make sense for a family so committed to the very history of biodiversity. Of course, the careful vineyard practices are continued in the cellar, where even wines at “entry-level” prices are aged in concrete or old wood, then in the bottle, for years before release.
The work that the Cantonis have done with native grapes is preservation at its best, but the living history in each bottle goes back far further than grapes. The entire farm is located on a single hill between Pisa and Volterra, the vineyard sites laid out at the cardinal points. Vineyard names were discovered on an ancient map, each full of stories: the blind where hunters lay in wait, the “fountain of women” that still brings visitors to the site of an ancient miraculous tale. A foundational stone in the winery bears the construction date: 1707. But the oldest story is in the soil. The ground is absolutely packed with marine fossils, ancient oyster shells and coral husks that lay thick on the ground.
The property comprises of 20 hectares (49.5 acres) of vineyards, 5 hectares (12 acres) of olive groves, 12 hectares (30 acres) of woodland and the rest is arable land.
Vermentino Toscana IGT
"Fonte delle Donne" Toscana Bianco IGT (Colombana, Vermentino)
"Le Pianette" Toscana Rosso IGT (Sangiovese, Colorino)
"Casalini" Chianti Superiore DOCG (Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo)
"Sanforte" Toscana Rosso IGT (Sangiovese)
"L'Aspetto" Toscana Rosso IGT (Sangiovese, Canaiolo)
"Ceppatella" Terre di Pisa Sangiovese DOC (100% Sangiovese, planted in 1895)