Just a twenty minutes drive from Florence, on a hill with beautiful views to the North-West, there is the Fattoria di Santo Stefano winery. Here one can recognize the profile of the Apuane Alps in the distance. It has the protection from colder norther winds by the Chianti range to the North-East. Moreover, a full exposure to the South. This is the lucky position of Fattoria Santo Stefano winery, the family run farm that we are off to visit today.
Once at Fattoria di Santo Stefano, it feels like being in a small village of the 19th century. The old stone buildings include what used to be the farmers lodgings. On either side of the dirt road that runs in the middle of them, the villa, where the original owners would spend their holidays. There is even a private chapel, still used today. It was Elena and Agostino’s grandfather who purchased this property in the 60’s. He continued to produce Chianti Classico, Vinsanto and Extra virgin olive oil. Now the two siblings carry out this tradition. In time they have expanded the variety of wines produced. However, they still maintain a tight connection with the typical local wines.
The 20 hectares of vineyards that surround this small farming hamlet are mostly Sangiovese grape variety, used for the three different Chianti Classico wines; Trebbiano and Malvasia are used to make a pleasant white wine and also their Vinsanto. This sweet wine still ages in the old chestnut and cypress wood barrels, called “caratelli”. You can still admire them next to the old underground cellar. Finally, the small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot represent the element of innovation introduced by the newer generation. They are used to enhance the bolder structure of the Riserva and Gran Selezione.
All Santo Stefano Chianti Classico wines are as traditional as one could expect: Chianti Classico is a pure Sangiovese. It is fresh and easy, it ferments and ages in the traditional big cement tanks. It is the typical everyday wine for the table. The Chianti Classico Riserva “Drugo” ferments directly in big oak tanks. It benefits from a small percentage of Cabernet and Merlot. This wine ages in big oak barrels for two years before being refined in the bottle, making this Riserva a more powerful wine that matches beautifully with more meaty dishes and aged cheese. The Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is a blend of Sangiovese (90%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%). It also ferments and ages in oak, this time for thirty months before bottling. The result is a bold but graceful wine that, after a few years of refining in the bottle, may also be enjoyed alone.
Now Santo Stefano is also an Agriturismo, offering accommodation, two swimming pools, and also meals. In facts Elena and Agostino like to make the most of any occasion to organize dinners, aperitifs and alike to entertain their guests and to promote their products during the tourist season. On these occasions they often get help from their nephews and nieces. The feeling of being among family is definitely always in the air!