Valdichiana, Cortona, Toscana
Santa Vittoria is a typical Tuscan farm that was founded at the beginning of the eighteenth century in the Valdichiana hills, where the vineyards have been part of the landscape for hundreds of years, just as they have been in the neighbouring regions of Chianti and Montepulciano.
However, these hills have no established reputation and it is this hunger to make a mark that makes it an excellent hunting ground for great wine.
Typical it may be, it is however something unique, the farm was bought by Marta Nicolai and her father Francesco in 1995 then joined by Marta’s husband Mauro Pieri.
They all have interests outside of the winery and none have history in wine making, they have allowed this tiny farm to become a collaborator with both the ‘Instito di Viticoltura of Conegliano’ (Friuli) and the ‘Istituto di Enologia of Gaiole’ (Chianti).
This means that there are some very unusual plantings alongside their backbone of Sangiovese: there is Pugnitello and Foglia Tonda, also Nero d’Avola, Cabernet and Merlot. White grapes include the traditional Trebbiano and Malvasia, there is also Grechetto, Incrocio Manzoni, Semillon and Gewürztraminer.
The project has been ongoing and is part of an improvement program for Italian viticulture; it has meant they have been advised and visited by some of the biggest names in Tuscan (and Italian) wine.
Each wine is made in tiny quantities and every year we have seen subtle changes, the noticeable shift has been the concentration on Pugnitello.
Francesco has always pushed the Grechetto, but I am not convinced it is a step up from its Umbrian forerunners, we are huge fans of their Vin Santo and native varietal reds, the Nero d’Avola is good, but needs so much time and I wonder how relevant it is.