Elisabetta Fagiuoli is one of the great women of Italian wine and we would like to start from her story, which is strong and beautiful and all to be told, but first comes Montenidoli, that is the hill of the little nests, “an extraordinary place, a magic island, and this is the most important thing”. We are immersed in 200 hectares of woods that rise above San Gimignano, between Florence and Siena, “an uncontaminated land, where the air is pure, sheltered from the chemical poison invented by men. We have brought nothing here, we have only received; we have bent down to question the earth and protect it, guided by time and the seasons”.
The origins of these slopes are thousands of years old, the waters of the Ligurian Sea covered the slopes of the hill and hosted a large number of crustaceans and mollusks, “the most generous inhabitants,” recalls Elisabetta, “those who have left us sediments of great variety. Thanks to them, the soil is sandy, calcareous, ideal for our white grapes”, while going up, between 400 and 600 meters, we find the cavernous rock of the Triassic, “a red soil, rich in minerals” and perfect for black grapes varieties. It is much later than those very first tenants that men arrived, first of all the Etruscans, “festive people who cultivated the vineyard and loved to feast: perhaps Vernaccia (from vernaculus, meaning “of the place”) was originally introduced by them. “Then came the Romans, whose coins we have found buried under our olive trees,” another plant that has dwelled in Montenidoli for at least 3 thousand years; “then came the Knights Templar, from Burgundy and Champagne, then our farmers and squires” in more modern times.
“The twentieth century was devastating, between the two world wars and the rise of industries that led to stripping the countryside of everything and everyone.”
Continued in Corriere della Sera – Economy of Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Photo by Bruno Bruchi