Santa Vittoria is a typical Tuscan farm that was founded at the beginning of the eighteenth century in the Valdichiana hills, where the vineyards have been part of the landscape for hundreds of years, just as they have been in the neighbouring regions of Chianti and Montepulciano. However, these hills have no established reputation, and it is this hunger to make a mark that makes it an excellent hunting ground for great wine. Francesco Nicolai bought the estate in 1995 with no experience in the world of wine, so, he allowed this tiny farm to become a collaborator with both the ‘Instito di Viticoltura of Conegliano’ (Friuli) and the ‘Instituto di Enologia of Gaiole’ (Chianti). This means that there are some very unusual plantings alongside their backbone of Sangiovese: there is Pugnitello and Foglia Tonda, also Nero d’Avola, Cabernet and Merlot; white grapes include the traditional Trebbiano and Malvasia, there is also Grechetto, Incrocio Manzoni, Semillon and Gewürztraminer.
The project has been ongoing and is part of an improvement program for Italian viticulture; it has meant they have been advised and visited by some of the biggest names in Tuscan (and Italian) wine. Each wine is made in tiny quantities and every year we have seen subtle changes, the noticeable shift has been the concentration on Pugnitello. We are huge fans of their Vin Santo and native varietal reds, the Nero d’Avola is good in some years, I wonder how relevant it is. Today, Francesco directs the farm with Claudio Guerrini making the wines. His daughter Marta runs the charming agriturismo with her husband Mauro, who has become an accomplished chef.