Charlotte Horton, an English woman who has now been making wine in Tuscany professionally for over 20 years, planted the vineyard to take full advantage of this very particular microclimate to grow Pinot Noir, a grape that is not common to Tuscany, along with Alicante and the traditional Sangiovese grape varieties.
The 4 hectare (10 acre) vineyard is planted at a low density (5,000 plants per hectare) and every care is taken to ensure that the grapes are in peak condition at the time of harvest. Measures include:
- Low Yields - The vines are green pruned to limit the quantity of grapes to only 65 quintals per hectare. Our total production is about 20,000 bottles a year.
- Vines tended by Hand - The vines are tended to and harvested by hand so that the highest and most rigorous levels of quality control are maintained throughout the growing cycle.
- Careful Picking - The grapes are carefully picked to ensure that they do not arrive to the cellar damaged so that fermentation begins in the cellar under controlled conditions.
- Minimum Intervention - In the castle cellars, attention is focused on ensuring the grapes express their essential quality. Castello di Potentino aims to keep mechanical and chemical intervention to a minimum. A couple of examples of this philosophy can be seen in the:
- Fermentation of the grapes- The fermentation uses only wild yeasts found on the skins of the grapes and is not augmented by the use of industrial aids.
- Pressing the grape skins - When the grape skins are racked off after fermentation they are left to drain naturally without being pressed, further ensuring that some of the harsher more obvious tannins are not present in the wine.
- The aging of the wine - The wine is kept in wood throughout the majority of its time in the cellar. It is fermented and stored in large 5,000 litre capacity French Allier Oak fermenting vats. Castello di Potentino does not use barriques or wood chips that are typical of larger scale more industrial wine producers.
- Fining and filtration - The wines are not fined or overly filtered.
- Low sulphite levels - The only additives used are sulphites - which are necessary to stabilize wine, especially for transport - but at a level lower than that allowed in organically certified Italian wines. This means that drinking our wine does not lead to a terrible headache.
This soft, natural approach results in 5 elegant, mineral and thoroughly structured wines that maintain the vigour of fruit and youth, mature but not old, clean and precise and infinitely drinkable. For this reason we have chosen to name all our wines after stones and jewels.