Tenuta di Valgiano is the gateway to a different Tuscany. The manicured estates of Montalcino seem a world away; here in the hills above the city of Lucca, dense forests hide weather-worn villas and older-vine vineyards, with climbing herbs winding round “palistorti,” crooked stakes that mark each vine row. There is something wilder and more alive in these verdant hills, and the grapes grown here share this energy, this vitality. The estate’s 40 acres of vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic, protected by nearly 200 acres of forestland. Owners/winemakers Moreno Petrini and Laura di Collobiano would have it no other way-for them, the soul of Valgiano must be present in each bottle. And that soul is comprised of everything that calls Valgiano home. The humus-rich soils, carefully kept in balance through biodynamic cultivation. Wild herbs and legumes are planted to increase soil health and encourage biodiversity, and plowing is regular. Vineyard pests are managed through natural means, and only approved biodynamic treatments are used on estate vines.
Soils in the hills above Lucca at Valgiano are primarily clay-based, in Italian: alberese. The mountain behind the estate, however, is sandstone. These two geological elements come together in Valgiano’s vineyards, a unique marriage - also found in regions like Vosne-Romanée - that winemaker Moreno Petrini believes gives his wines their particular character and finesse. As vineyards are surrounded by wild forest, warm summer temperatures are naturally moderated, allowing vines a long vegetative period. The estate’s oldest vines were planted in the 1950s, and grapes are harvested by hand. For red wine production, the grapes are destemmed then delivered directly into small, open-top wooden tanks with no pumping, native yeast fermentation and delicate punch-downs either by hand or foot. The wines are then aged in French oak barrels and cement vat for longevity and purity.
This 2012 Palistori Rosso is one of three wines made at the estate. It is an honest and generous wine composed primarily of Sangiovese with small amounts of Merlot and Syrah blended to offer a structure that is traditionally Tuscan - stylistically between earthy, feminine Chianti Classico and ripe, muscular Brunello di Montalcino. "The 2012 Palistorti di Valgiano is bursting at the seams with personality. Juicy dark cherries, smoke, earthiness, licorice and violets are all super-expressive in the glass. Fleshy and boisterous, with plenty of intense, super-ripe fruit, the 2012 Palistorti di Valgiano delivers the goods, and then some. Drink this fleshy, immensely pleasing red over the next handful of years." - Antonio Galloni, Vinous.