Tradition is the high road that I have followed from the very beginning. In the years that witnessed the overwhelming introduction of the international grape varieties into Tuscany, I made the choice to grow only indigenous local grapes and, in addition, to personally select the genetic material from the old vineyards in San Miniato.
That might seem a somewhat extreme project, but I believe that in my work one must not follow fashion, short- or long-term may it be; rather, one must think into the future, even into the far future, since the life of a vineyard is often longer than that of the person who cultivates it.
Work in the vineyard
Working in the vineyard is my main occupation, that which occupies the largest part of my time and that of my fellow workers, but that work is 90% of what makes my wines, which owe their character largely to the work in the vineyard.
The soils of San Miniato are mostly composed of clays and fossil shells, and during my work in the vineyards I try to understand and interpret these soils, breaking them up whenever required, particularly when the vines need exposure to oxygen, or else leaving the soil surface undisturbed.
The other crucial aspect of working in the vineyards concerns management of the vegetative growth of the vine, which during early spring shows an incredible speed. In this growth stage, we are hard-pressed to keep up with the growth, but it is of fundamental importance that the foliage remain in perfect order and balance. Our work-days stretch from dawn to dark in this period, just trying to keep up with our vines.
According my conception of viticulture, these two parts of vineyard work, working the soil and management of the foliar canopy, must proceed together in harmony to ensure optimal development during the growing season, one that will favour the most perfect ripening of the clusters, and will allow me to protect my vineyards with the lowest possible impact on the environment.
Work in the cellar
Regarding my way of working, I dedicate not more than 20% of my time to winemaking operations.
First of all, I believe that the winemaking process should in no way change the results obtained in the vineyards.
For this reason, I carry out fermentations using only the yeasts that are naturally found on the grapes themselves, and skin contact for the must never lasts less than 20 days for the most straightforward wines, and can last up to 45 days for the cru wines. Such a practice is solidly in the best Tuscan tradition, and its goal is to produce wines that are very terroir-expressive.
After the fermentations, all of my wines stay in cement vats until the spring following the harvest. During this period, they are racked only, in order to eliminate the natural sediments that occur in their first few months of life and have perfectly clean wines; then they begin their maturation in oak.
The maturation of a wine is the other critical stage in winemaking, particularly if it is carried out without much thought.
For me, the wood botti, or large casks, should only provide my wines a good micro-oxygenation; they should absolutely not intervene in the aromatic properties of the wines.
For this reason, my winery utilises oak botti of a great many sizes, and made of oak from many different places, always for the goal of diversity in the wines and never to follow the diverse trends that follow each other in our world.