Organization and method: that is what I found at Castello Poppiano, headquarters of the Conte Guicciardini winery. And history, vast history. And a touch of romanticism. A perfect blend that seems to have found its way into each carefully crafted bottle that bears the family crest.
Conte Ferdinando himself was the gracious host who showed me around what can only be described as a fairytale-style castle perched on a knoll in the midst of perfectly manicured vineyards and olive groves. Quintessential Tuscany.
Yours truly, with Conte Ferdinando
Over the centuries, the family extended its holdings; today the winery is comprised of three estates: Poppiano in the Chianti DOCG area, Campòli across the river in Chianti Classico territory, and Massi di Mandorlaia, in the Maremma on the Tuscan coast, which produces mainly Morellino di Scansano.
A lovely line-up!
This diversity has allowed Conte Guicciardini to broaden its portfolio to cover three important Tuscan DOCG wines. Add to that a vision that has included international grape varieties, and the offering is rich. We’re not just talking some Cab and Merlot to appeal to the Super Tuscan that is in all of us, but also Syrah and even Viognier (which has got to be one of my favorite white varietals).
Olive oil is another major product here, true to the Tuscan terroir. This is a land that just keeps on giving.
During my visit, Conte Ferdinando showed me some historical bottles that harkened back to bygone days of Chianti Putto.
Is it only me? Because I still love to see the old Putto labels!
They’re using French oak barrels here, and the number on the barrel – 1199 – refers to the start of things: that’s the year the Guicciardini family began making wine. Eight centuries of winemaking: now that’s what I call experience!
And Ottosecoli (Eight Centuries) is the new line of wines without sulfites that this forward-thinking cellar is producing. The first such wine was a 2019 vintage called E’Ssenza, a lovely play on words that combines the Italian for ‘it’s without’ and the word essence. 100% Sangiovese, what else?
Let me say just how excited I was to visit Poppiano and get to know the Count: having spent many years studying the Italian Renaissance, I had read and loved the works of an ancestor – Francesco Guicciardini – who was a friend of Machiavelli’s and who wrote the famous History of Italy. That is where the wine La Historia (100% Merlot) gets its name, and a frontispiece of that book is on the label. (Yes, Masseto is another 100% Merlot from Tuscany.)
The splendid sunny day afforded great views from the tower, which doubles as the vinsantaia, or place where the Vin Santo is stored. The cool, breezy spaces of the tower, floor by floor, are an excellent place first for letting the grapes dry to perfection, and then for the little barrels to be laid in for aging. So spectacular – and spotless! – that I couldn’t stop taking pictures, inside and out.
What visit would be complete without a stop to view the archive, appealing to the historian in me?
The fairytale atmosphere is not fiction: you can visit Castello di Poppiano and see for yourself. Tasting is believing, and these vintages will give you a tour through Tuscan flavors, past and present