Selvapiana in Medieval times was one of the watch towers along the river Sieve built with the purpose to protect the city of Florence on the North-East border. During Renaissance the building was enlarged and transformed into a Villa as summer residence of noble Florentine families and of the bishops of Florence. In 1827 was acquired by Michele Giuntini, a successful banker and ancestor of Francesco Giuntini, the present owner and fifth generation to run the property from 1957 to 1997.
Francesco Giuntini has always believed in the value of the Rufina appellation and with obstinate passion has worked to increase the prestige of the area. He has been among the first Tuscan producer to make the Riserva wine only from Sangiovese grapes and to produce the flagship wine of Selvapiana from a single vineyard, Bucerchiale: the first vintage of the Chianti Rufina Riserva Vigneto Bucerchiale is 1979. In 1978 Francesco understanding the great capacities, hired the young Franco Bernabei as consultant enologist, nowadays one of the most well known Tuscan oenologist who still consults for Selvapiana.
Since 1997 Selvapiana is run by Francesco Giuntini’s adopted sons, Federico and Silvia, sons of the estate manager Franco Masseti, who worked with Francesco from 1953 to 1990. The property extend over a surface of 250 hectares of which 58 are planted with vines, 36 olive gardens and 140 wood, in the municipalities of Rufina, Pontassieve and Pelago.
The hills where the Rufina vineyards are located lye on the foothill of the Apennines, the chains of mountains that divides Tuscany from Emilia Romagna. The nearness to the mountains strongly influence the microclima of the area with cooler summer and great excursion of temperature between day and night. For this reason the grapes ripen slowly throughout all the summer season and reach a nice balance of all the aromatic compounds of the acin. The wines have fresh acidity, great finess and elegance, silky tannins and a long after taste.
Most of the vineyards are located next to the Villa which is also the center of the winery. The vineyards are named after the old podere of the mezzaria ( crop-sharing system): Bucerchiale, Fornace, Casanova, Pesalova, Vigna al Pino; recently acquired in the municipality of Pontassieve Vigneto San Martino a Quona and in the municipality of Rufina Vigneto Pian de’ Marroni and Vigneto Cerbognole.
Selvapiana is a winery that is organic certified. Initially only the vineyards Fornace in 1990 was run according to the organic method; all vineyards and olive gardens followed in a few years.
Around 9000 olive trees, constituting a great value of the estate mainly Frantoio variety with small percentages of Moraiolo and Leccino, are divided on four ares: Oliveta Podere San Giuseppe and Oliveta Rignella in the municipality of Pelago, Oliveta Casanova in the municipality of Rufina and Oliveta San Martino a Quona-Erchi in the municipality of Pontassieve.
The olive gardens planted after the frost in 1985 have a density of 550 olive-trees per hectare.
The new vinification cellar, opened with the harvests in the year 2005, allow to vinify the grapes with estreme care and semplicity. The vinification is made in stainless steel with temperature control and in part in concrete casks from the previous cellar.
Fermentation- without the use of selected yeasts since 1992 and the addittion of sulfites in lower quantities compared to the past- and maceration, last for at least 30 days.
The agening is in oak barrels in the old cellar under the Villa and in part in barriques in the new cellar.
In the old cellar at Selvapiana lye all the vintages of Riserva and riserva Vigneto Bucerchiale produced since 1948.
A vertical tasting is a fascinating event that recall also the history of Selvapiana and Chianti Rufina.
The 50s and 60s were the years of the mezzadria ( crop-sharing system), the vines were propped up with alive supports like mapple trees and were very old. Harvest would start on the 10th October . Concrete casks and opened chestnut barrels were used to vinify the grapes. The wines were aged in old chestnut barrels for 5-6 years.
The 70s The end of the economic system mezzadria meant radical changes in running wineries in Chianti. The first specialized vineyards were planted and the discovery of chemistry, was used both for fertilize and defend the crops. The strong recession in these years in the countryside correspond to some difficult vintages.
The harvests of the second half of the seventies start the qualitative rebirth.
The 80s The wines show the choice and will to produce according to quality and with attention to Sangiovese. At Selvapiana were not used the “so called “improving varieties”, so much on fashion in those years.