Nello and Annita Manetti descended upon Greve in Chianti in the early 1960s. At the time, the population of Italy was shifting from the countryside to the booming, vibrant economies in cities like Florence, Milan and Rome. The Mezzadria period, a contract between land owners and those who lived on and farmed the land, had come to an end. With the cessation of this type of sharecropping system and the migration into the urban areas, land became available in the countryside. Consequently, in 1963, Nello Manetti purchased 8 hectares of land in Greve and founded the Sagrona Farm. He worked the land until 2016 until his grandson Leonardo assumed responsibility for the farm.
Leonardo Manetti graduated with a degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Florence in 2007 and began to follow his passion for the land of Greve and winemaking. Today he runs the small 8 hectare farm in Greve in Chianti. Of the 8 hectares, only 3 are devoted to grapes. The balance are olive groves and the Pallida Iris, which he cultivates for the nectar secreted from the flower and sells principally to the perfume industry.
Manetti employs traditional methods in the production of his wine. His Chianti Classico is 100% Sangiovese that is hand harvested. In his own words, he describes the process: “There is great attention to the product during the harvest as the grapes are picked and harvested manually. The must is obtained from the grapes, which are destemmed and pressed, then transferred to the vats where the alcoholic fermentation is carried out at a controlled temperature. In the maceration phase, which lasts about two weeks, the skin remains in contact with the pulp. The polyphenols are extracted from the skins by means of daily pump overs to give color, texture, and longevity to the wine. Then follows the racking, or the separation of the must from the wine, after which follows the malolactic fermentation making the wine softer and more stable. The wine matures at least a year in the barrels and refines for a few months in the bottle before entering the market.”
Manetti’s inaugural release hails from the superlative 2015 vintage and today TuscanVines brings you an exclusive review of Leonardo’s first wine.
The 2015 Leonardo Manetti Chianti Classico is 100% Sangiovese. In the glass the wine is a deep ruby to violet color with a slight lightening at the rim. Very pretty. My experience with Chianti Classico from Greve is that it can be a bit more austere than some other areas in the zone. Typically, they seem to blossom more with air and so we decanted the wine for 45 minutes before dinner. I think it helped. On the nose, the taster is greeted by attractive aromas of crushed cherry, fresh sage, tobacco leaf and rain soaked earth. Very interesting. On the palate the wine is lively, with refreshing acidity that creates mouth watering sapidity. Juicy cherry flavors are accented with tobacco and herbal notes that persist nicely. Balanced well, this is a wonderful first effort for a small artisan producer. Bravo! 90 points. Not imported to the US.
Before tasting the wine, we also managed to catch up with Leonardo for a few quick questions about his poetry and his first release.
Leonardo, the quill on the wine’s label is a nod to your writing, your poetry. Can you tell us more about that?
“I chose to become a farmer, recognized as a modern entrepreneur in agriculture, and to have a good quality of life because I believe in simple and genuine values: the same values that have encouraged my poetic vein. I started writing poetry as a teenager and in recent years, my compositions have become public. In my poetry verses, you can recognize a lot of my land and territory where I spend most of my time. Many poems are the mirror of the emotions that the places, landscapes, and products I cultivate send me. The logo was born from the merging of man, nature, and poetry: a quill pen designed by the artist Alessandro Matta.”
Tradition is very important to you. Whether it was following in your family’s footsteps in running the farm or making wine true to your teritory’s history, tell us about what this means to you and how this is reflected in your wines?
Definitely this is true. It is important to respect heritage and tradition. As you know, we use cement for fermentation and large barrels for Chianti Classico and we work the estate using traditional means. The vineyards have different soils; they are limestone, clay and sandstone, but all are destined for the production of great wines. The soil is worked several times during the year in the traditional cultivation system. The training system used for the vines is a derivation of the classic guyot, the characteristic Tuscan archetype. This is important for my wines. The way you treat the land defines how the grapes mature and that defines your wine.
Grazie, Leonardo. Although not yet imported to the US, those looking to purchase Leonardo’s wine can contact the winery directly.