Visiting the Frescobaldi Estates in ItalyJune 13th, 2017
As specialists in fine wine, we spend a lot of time thinking about our wine list and ensuring we offer the right mix to please everyone from wine novices to enthusiasts who really know their grapes.
Thanks to the strong relationships we’ve built up with our suppliers over the years, we often get invited to find out more about where our wines come from and how they are produced. This gives us even more knowledge to share with our customers – and sometimes a few tips for those who want to make a sound investment.
This spring, David was invited to travel to Italy and visit the famous Frescobaldi Estates, where beautiful wines have been produced for 700 years. Here’s his account of the experience.
We were based in central Florence for our two-day trip to experience the wonderful hospitality of the Frescobaldi family.
The history of the Frescobaldi family starts over a thousand years ago and is closely connected with the history of Tuscany. Their vision has been to be the leading producer of Tuscan fine wine, and we’ve certainly been impressed with the wines we’ve taken from them over the years.
They have six estates around Tuscany, each with a variety of characteristics producing different results in the grapes, and therefore the wines. Our guide explained the history of each and how they are run now, using the same knowledge and experience that has been implemented for centuries to produce the best results.
Day one – Castelgiocondo
Our first visit was to the estate of Castelgiocondo. This is one of the most historic estates of the Montalcino region, with wine production dating back to 1800.
With its south-west exposure and well-drained, volcanic shale soil, this region is ideal for growing the Sangiovese grape. The vineyard stretched as far as the eye could see under the expansive blue skies: it was easy to see why this site has been so successful in producing wine for more than two centuries.
We were presented with a lunch matched with Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalciono, Ripe al Convento di Castelgiocondo and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva.
The wine that stood out for me on this visit was the Lamaione: a 100% Merlot, intensely purple, notes of blackberries and blueberries, followed by black pepper and dark chocolate. Lamaione is an explosion of warmth, softness and roundness, ideally partnered with slow cooked dishes, rich red meat such as venison and slow cooked rib of beef.
Day two – Castiglioni
The second day began with a short walk through the historic streets of Florence. It was my first visit to the city and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know it.
We were then taken to the estate of Castiglioni. This is the first Frescobaldi estate and, having been cultivated for 700 vintages, is still the summer residence for the Frescobaldi family.
Fresh sea breezes, ideal latitude and a clay soil contribute to generate very rich and fruity wines. Once again, we were treated to a delicious lunch and sample of some of their wines.
For me, the outstanding wine was the Giramonte. This is produced from a blend of Merlot and a small amount of Sangiovere. We were shown into the private cellar where the 2015 and 2016 vintages were being aged in French oak barrels.
Their view is that the 2015 vintage in general, and especially from the Castiglioni Estate, will be exceptional. If you talk to anyone on the estate about 2015, you can tell how excited they are by the smile on their faces. My tip is to buy some as soon as you can – there are only so many bottles available, and it looks like they will be very much sought-after.
Frescobaldi wines in Harrogate
From this tour, I’ve learnt just how special the Frescobaldi Estates are, steeped in history, family pride and commitment to the production of iconic Tuscan wines. It’s a pleasure to introduce more of their wines to our wine list. You can now enjoy the following when you dine with us:
Lamaione Toscana IGT
Frescobaldi Brut ‘Trento’
Alie Rose IGT
Ammiraglia Vermentino Maremma IGT
Nippozano Chainti Rufina DOCG
If you’d like any more information about the wines, or about pairing them with dishes on our menu, please ask David or any member of our team and we’ll be very happy to help.
Frescobaldi Wine Dinner – Wednesday 5th July
We’re also pleased to announce we’re hosting an exclusive event with Frescobaldi, here at William and Victoria. It will be hosted by Giuseppe, export director of the Frescobaldi Estates, and will feature a selection of five of their wines paired with a four-course dinner plus canapés.
There are just 16 places available for this special event in our private dining room, at £45 per person including all food and wine. Early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.