Castello di Poppiano
The hills around the Castello di Poppiano have been for centuries the main site of farming activity by the Guicciardini who, even when involved in the public life of Florence, continued to look after their possessions in the country side. Names of still existing farm houses (La Costa, Malfastello, Camascioli, Poggerello, Olmo, Fichereto) recur in the family’s archive documents since 1300. We get an interesting view of the country life in Poppiano during the Renaissance period through the letters of Isabella Sacchetti, sister-in-law of Francesco Guicciardini, which highlight that already in the 15th to 16th century, olives and vines were the backbone of Poppiano’s farming activities.
The Estate has remained in the Guicciardini family from generation to generation. Ferdinando, my great grandfather, gave it a great boost in the 19th century , reclaiming lands, improving wine cellars and the oil mill. This activity was continued by Lorenzo , my grandfather and Guicciardino , my father.
I inherited Castello di Poppiano from my grandfather in 1962, just as sharecropping (which had been for centuries the traditional farming contract in Tuscany) was coming to an end . That was a difficult period which ultimately led to radical changes to our estate , including crop specialization and upgrading of processing facilities , whilst bearing in mind the fundamental principle that progress should always respect tradition.
At present, the Estate extends over 265 ha (approx. 650 acres) of which 140 ha (approx. 350 acres) are vineyards and 37 ha (approx.. 96 acres) are olive groves, all of them managed with respect for the environment.
Castello di Poppiano is the headquarters of all management, administrative and commercial activities of the three estates pertaining to the Conte Guicciardini Group: Castello di Poppiano , Massi di Mandorlaia and Belvedere Campòli.
Castello di Poppiano
Vineyards and Wine
Castello di Poppiano is located in the area of “Chianti Colli Fiorentini” (“Chianti Hills of Florence”). Chianti Colli Fiorentini “Il Cortile”and “Riserva” DOCG, together with Vinsanto, remain our most traditional wines. IGT (Geographic Typical Indication) wines are the fruit of a continuously innovative work, year after year.
The sunny hills and the well-drained, south-sloping, calcareous stony soils (locally called “alberese”) lying at elevation 300 to 140 m (980 to 460 ft) a.s.l. on the ridge between the Pesa valley and the Virginio valley, provide fundamental conditions for great quality wines.
The vineyards on the hills of the right bank of the Virginio stream are devoted to the production of Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG , while those on the left bank mainly produce IGT wines.
In the fermentation cellar adjacent to the Castle, all endeavours are made to exploit to the optimum the quality of the grapes harvested in our vineyards. Maturation in traditional oak casks for Chianti Colli Fiorentini Riserva, and in barriques for IGT wines, takes place slowly in the old naturally climatized cellars in the underground of the Castle , adding smoothness and lushness to the wines. After bottling, the wines undergo a refinement in the bottle, which allows the wines to fully express their character and quality.
in the Torre Grande
Our unique and fascinating “Vinsantaia” (the Vinsanto winery) with its venerable chestnut and oak “caratelli” (the typical vinsanto barrels), is housed in the Torre Grande (Main Tower) of the Castle. Here grapes are dried, and our Malvasia based Vinsanto slowly matures.
Olive Groves and Olive oil
At Castello di Poppiano, as with any traditional Tuscan Estate, wine production goes hand in hand with extra virgin olive oil. The search for quality is our constant guideline and involves the whole production cycle from tree to mill to bottle. The Castello di Poppiano olive groves have their roots deep in the past even though some of them had to be replanted after the terrible frost of 1985. Cuttings derived from the old surviving plants were used.
The Castello di Poppiano Estate olive groves cover 37 ha (92 acres) with 12,000 trees, on a hill at an altitude of 280 to 250 m (920-820 ft). The main olive tree variety is the Frantoio, the rest being Moraiolo, Leccino and Pendolino.
Poppiano is close to the northern limit of the olive tree growing area. This means low yields (less than one bottle per tree), but this is more than counterbalanced by the superb quality and the flavour of our olive oil .
The Olive Oil Mill
The olive oil mill is still in its original location in the courtyard of the Castle, but it has been repeatedly technically updated through the years. We strongly believe that if one looks for quality it is mandatory to keep the whole production process under our control. Having our own “frantoio” (oil processing facility) allows us to optimise all factors that determine the quality of the oil, in particular: immediate processing within 24 hours after harvesting, milling, “gramolazione” (paste preparation) and pressing, all strictly controlled “cold”.
del Podere La Costa
The flagship of the Castello di Poppiano oil is the Laudemio, picked from the best olive trees in the estate, those of Podere La Costa where the prevailing variety is Frantoio, early harvested in the first half of November to obtain the intensely fruity taste , a primary feature of the extra virgin olive oil from the Florentine Hills.
Podere La Costa -one of the oldest properties of Castello di Poppiano- was purchased by Messer Luigi Guicciardini “il Vecchio “on behalf of his son Niccolò on the 25th of October 1384, for 2300 gold “scudi”. The purchase contract mentioned the presence of very good olive groves and of milling facilities.
To produce olive oil as described here above is a challenging and costly undertaking. However, it is precisely that which has earned Castello di Poppiano’s Olive Oil a reputation for exceptionally high quality, confirmed by being constantly selected to represent the Tuscan Region in the “Ercole Olivario” National Contest (the most prestigious olive oil contest in Italy) and by repeatedly winning this award in the “intensive fruity” category.
di Ferdinando Guicciardini
Via Fezzana 45 /49 – Montespertoli (Florence)
Phone: +39-055-82315 / +39-055-82335 / +055-82373 – Fax: +39-055-82368