Montalcino & Val d’Orcia: breathtaking landscapes and many wineries to visit
Montalcino, forty kilometers south of the city of Siena, is a stunning hilltop town in the heart of Tuscany. Montalcino’s distinctive mount is mostly surrounded by forest. Vineyards and olive groves fill the countryside, and many historical stone buildings are witness to centuries of cultivation in this area. The area where the wines of Montalcino are made coincides with the historical borders of the Municipality of Montalcino, covering a surface area of 24,000 hectares, only 15% of which occupied by vineyards. The zone is roughly a square bordered by the rivers Ombrone, Asso and Orcia.
Montalcino, Castiglione d’Orcia, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia are the five beautiful municipalities that have chosen to give life to the Val D’Orcia Park that it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2004.
The must visit wineries in Montalcino and Val d’Orcia | The Gotto Wine Tour selection
La Poderina is located in Montalcino area, in Castelnuovo dell’Abbate, well known for the elegance and balance of its grapes. Based on wine maker philosophy, who believes in innovation in accordance with traditional agriculture, La Poderina wines reach gradually in French oak barrels as well as in large barrels. High quality farming system are adopted in vineyard (yields around 60 quintals per hectare, well below the 80 quintals permitted by the regulations). Brunello is produced in two versions: “Poggio Abate” Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. La Poderina estate produce also: Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Moscadello di Montalcino DOC (dessert wine). The area of production of Montalcino wines is within the territory of the city of Montalcino.
The estate is situated on the north side of Montalcino and extends over 400 hectares, 13 of which are covered in vineyards. The Castle, that stands in the center of the estate, was originally built in the thirteenth century by the Altesi family and completed in 1441 by the Tricerchi family. Many of its decorative and structural features have been attributed to Baldassare Peruzzi. The cellar is situated where, in the fifteenth century, the Tricerchi family thought was the best place. In the dungeon, the temperature is almost constant all year round thanks to the enormously thick walls and the tunnels that run above and below. Everything in this part of the castle is as it was 600 years ago and traditional methods have been conserved, even with the inevitable help of technology. This is where ageing of the wine takes place.
Madonna Nera is a young farm, recently created and inspired by the deep respect of the traditions of the earth and the entrepreneurial taste of daring the new. The property extends over six hectares of vineyards, two of which are in the area of the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, used to produce Brunello di Montalcino. Each row is introduced by a rose plant, as dictated by the most beautiful of the customs of those who cultivate the vine. All around grow olive trees and Mediterranean vegetation to decorate the garden. Between the green of the myrtle, the white of the roses and the blue of the lavender, there are three local blond stone buildings: the manor house, an ancient fortified tower that has stood guard for centuries on the north-east side of the property and a dépandance with a large terrace dedicated to wine tasting.
The estate of Castelnuovo Tancredi encompasses more than 600 hectares of the surrounding hillside of Buonconvento, between Montalcino and Siena, in the Orcia Valley. Many illustrious Italian families have left their mark on this property over the centuries, such as the Guglieschi, the Borghesi and the Tancredi families, from whom the property has taken its name. The current owners, the Venturini Del Greco family, who acquired the estate in 1897, have strived over the years to maintain the traditions and the flavor of Tuscany. In the 1700’s, the olive and wine production grew to such proportions that justified the construction of numerous cellars in the scattered farmhouses, as well as an olive press. The entire farm upholds the “organic agricultural” methods, from the cereal and grain production to the D.O.P extra virgin olive oil, and the 8 hectares of planted vineyards.
Podere le Ripi is a wonderful winery located in Montalcino, owned by Francesco Illy, a well-known coffee entrepreneur. The estate covers a total area of 54 hectares including woods, vineyards and olive groves. Until 1998, these lands were inhabited by a shepherd with his flock and there was not a single grapevine. Purchased these lands, Francesco Illy decided to build a new cellar, only built using the ancient construction techniques. From the relations among spatial dimensions, strictly in the Golden Ratio, to the use of natural clay bricks and a mortar made of lime: this building chases harmony to be given to the wine which gets refined here for the first years of its life. The vines have been planted since 2000 with a great respect for the soil. Podere le Ripi winery has been certified biodynamic since 2015 and organic since 2014.
Castiglion del Bosco extends over 1,800 hectares, 62 of which are dedicated to vineyards. It is one of the most prominent producers in Montalcino, both for the history of the estate and for its size. Since 2003, Castiglion del Bosco belongs to Massimo Ferragamo who fell in love with this magical place. The entire vinification process is carried out in Castiglion del Bosco’s cellar, completely gravity-fed. Castiglion del Bosco also offers a handful of remarkable accommodations and buildings in an unparalleled environment of Tuscan culture and natural beauty. Massimo Ferragamo restored the medieval borgo which now hosts a 5-star hotel beside the restaurants Campo del Drago and Osteria La Canonica. The latter is home to the Cooking School, for those guests who love great food matched with Tuscan culinary tradition. In addition, there is an exclusive Golf Club, spread out over 210 hectares of rolling hills.
Wonderful estate located in the heart of Montalcino in one of the most suitable areas for the wine production. Col d’Orcia has been owned by the Cinzano family since 1973. Today the estate’s vineyards extend over 140 hectares, 108 of which are Brunello-designated vineyards, making Col d’Orcia the third largest owner of Brunello vineyards in Montalcino. The mission of Col d’Orcia is to produce the best wines that can be obtained from the exceptional combination of soil and climate in this area of Montalcino. The Col d’Orcia estate has recently opened its cellars to wine lovers. Guests are offered a guided tour to discover the estate, its winemaking and aging cellars. At the end of this fascinating experience, guests will be introduced to a wine tasting of the most famous wine produced by Col d’Orcia.
Argiano estate is located in Montalcino and develops around the nucleus of buildings, extending across an area of about 125 hectares, occupied by vineyards, olive groves and woods. After several changes of ownership, in 2013 the estate was bought by a group of Brazilian entrepreneurs who gave life to a new ambitious project for the development of the estate. A plan conceived to further enhance the excellence of the “terroir” of Argiano and convey levels of taste and quality to the wine which have never been reached before. The challenge has already begun, carrying out extraordinary maintenance work on the 16th century cellar, redefining the ageing techniques and creating large underground bottle-ageing cellars. This renewal is going to continue in the vineyards, with expansion of the Sangiovese crops and the use of new techniques to enhance the primary aspects of the “terroir”.