When leaving Florence in an eastern direction, after some 15 kilometres you arrive in the small town of Pontassieve. As the name indicates, it was called after a bridge (ponte) across the Sieve river, on the spot where the latter confluences with the Arno. The bridge was thrown when the Medici’ family held power in Florence, but is is no longer there – nor, as a matter of fact, are they. Instead, you will find Pontassieve a pleasant agrarian town, concentrated on the wine that is growing all around on the low hills.
Between Pontassieve and Rùfina, some 560 hectares are owned by the brothers Grati. Not all of it consists of vineyards, actually only 150 hectares. The rest are olive trees, 12 thousand of them, the cradle for the Grati’s superb Olive Oil (Villa di Vetrice, extra vergine). And everywhere you may notice the tall dark cypresses that mark the typical Tuscan landscape. But the Grati’s core business, so to speak, is wine.
Their company originates from a considerable number of small landowners and farmers, this as a result of centuries of intermarrying. Actually, the Grati family is mentioned in the first church archives of Rùfina!
Nowadays, they live and work from their 16th century Villa di Vetrice, still a hallmark of some of their best Chiantis. On the estate, you will also find a characteristic vinsantaio, a well ventilated building where their Vin Santo is made. The grapes, Malvasia, Trebbiano and (rare in Vin Santo!) Sangiovese, are hung from its ceiling. Also unique is, that their Vin Santo remains for no fewer than nine years in caratelli (40 litres barrels), before being bottled. This definitely adds to its pleasant none-too sweet taste!
The Grati family now sees its fifth generation producing wine and oil in the Chianti Rùfina DOCG zone. Their Chiantis – in fact – are much older.
In the early 1700’s, it was Tuscany’s Archduke Cosimo de’Medici who delimited the boundaries of this zone, and motivated his decision as follows: “Only the high hills of Rùfina yield a long- lived, full-bodied aristocratic wine’’. If you’re non convinced, why not try the Grati’s Chiantis…