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Box Pistoia: Tenuta del Conte Spalletti

We approach the hills just above the town of Quarrata, where the panorama becomes complete over the entire plain that stretches from Pistoia to Florence and on clear days allows sightings of Brunelleschi’s dome and Giotto’s bell tower. It is on these hills that Chianti Montalbano wine, a variety recognized with the DOCG label, is produced.

According to specifications, 70 to 100 percent Sangiovese grapes are to be used, only vineyards located in hilly areas are to be considered suitable, and the traditional winemaking practice of “governo all’uso Toscano,” which consists of a slow refermentation of freshly racked wine with slightly raisined grapes and makes the wine slightly sparkling, is permitted.

To reach the Lucciano Estate, we leave behind Tizzana, an ancient medieval village that served as a stronghold of Pistoia’s defensive system against nearby rival Florence. Today Tizzana retains only a few ruins of its castle, and although it has lost importance in favor of Quarrata, located on the plains and easier to reach, it boasts an enviable position over the entire Montalbano.

Here, following a road that skirts the green hills, we arrive at our destination. The vineyard is located just above the old farmhouse owned by Count Spalletti and is characterized by a marked steepness, which embellishes the wine with notes that are never the same.

Count Spalletti tells us about when his grandfather decided to set aside these plots of land as vineyards, to produce a wine that combined quality and drinkability. He also reveals to us the decisive contribution to the winery that his grandmother, Countess Spalletti, moreover a true pioneer of women’s civil and social rights, had. In fact, in parallel with the wine business she founded an embroidery company and in favor of women workers she recognized a series of protections such as maternity allowance and to indemnity for injury or illness.

That of Count Spalletti is a family history of great interest for the entire surrounding area, one in which on these hills the vines enjoy a particularly favorable exposure. A strength that we then find at the table when tasting this wine, which tells of the close bond between three generations and the beautiful hills all around.