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The Sangiovese: myth of the Val d’Orcia

The Sangiovese native vine

Sangiovese is a native vine originating from Tuscany. It also produces quality red grapes in other regions of Italy. However, Tuscany remains the homeland of this vineyard as old as man. The entire region, in the varied beauty of its landscapes, has been cultivating Sangiovese with care since ancient times.

The name of Sangiovese is attributed to the Etruscans. This people used wine in ritual sacrifices and religious practices. In the longest Etruscan text we have, the Liber Linteus, a linen fabric used to wrap an Egyptian mummy from the first century AD, next to the word wine, there is the term “s’antist’celi”, which shows considerable assonance with the set of terms that define Sangiovese.

Other scholars trace the etymology of Sangiovese to Sanguis Jovis (Blood of Jupiter), linking wine to one of the ancestral symbols that most closely recalls it, blood.

The territorial typicality of Sangiovese and its Tuscan origins are testified in the writings of 1500, documents that attest to the origin of the Sangiovese vineyards in Tuscany and the characteristics of a “juicy and full of wine, which never fails” (G . Soderini, 1590 in Treatise on the cultivation of vines). Gallesio in the second half of the 1800s wrote that “Sangioveto is an entirely Tuscan grape and perhaps the most precious of the grapes of this country so dear to Bacchus”.

In the vast wine-growing landscape of Tuscany, south of the Province of Siena, between the peaks of Monte Amiata, the hills and woods that line the Orcia and Ombrone rivers, we find an area rich in scenic beauty, the Val d’Orcia, which nourishes of centuries of traditions and history, of talents refined by the continuous care and love for the land and by the search for the goodness of the products. The wine among these remains the most sacred of the gifts that the earth has been able to give to men. The wine par excellence, Sangiovese, flows like living blood through the lives of the inhabitants of the Val d’Orcia. Man’s dedication to the vineyard counts. Man’s dedication to the vineyard continues to enhance the sacredness of a gift that only those who know the quality of its fruits can fully understand.

Importance of Quality Wine

The Tuscan wine production now reaches quality standards recognized on all markets. The presence of numerous wines with Denomination of Origin guarantee the refinement of harmonies and taste that Tuscan wine presents to the whole world. There are many wines obtained with Sangiovese, both alone and together with other vines. It takes on different local names depending on the production areas of the plant, characterizing the territory of origin and giving each type of product the richness of its adaptability to the territory. Among the great Tuscan reds we remember Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Chianti, Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The Supertuscans conquer the international market and Sangiovese is recognized with its qualities all over the world.

The quality is made up of many small precautions and the typicality of the vine remains one of the greatest riches that Tuscan wine owes to Sangiovese, as it safeguards originality and traditions with a strong character. The wines that are produced with Sangiovese are both wines for great aging and for ready consumption thanks to the plasticity of the vine which is well suited to almost all types of product.

Wine as a living matter, sensitive to every slightest external transformation, owes its pleasantness to various factors and evaluation parameters. The human factor, the seasonal one, the different adaptability of a vine to a given area, processing, aging, conservation. All these elements, if well harmonized, offer excellent qualities and pleasant sensations that the tasting and organoleptic analysis of the wine discover through the details of its structure. The bouquet of aromas and smells that the quality wine derived from Sangiovese produces leaves impressed on the palate a pleasantness of sensations in every taster

 Val d’Orcia gives rise to important quality red wines: the Docs obtained with Sangiovese grapes boast notable acknowledgments and appreciations.

Orcia Doc has a red color tending to garnet when aged; vinous, fruity aroma; savory and harmonious flavor. This wine represents a moment of pride of Tuscan enology. Its richness is due to the use of the native vine, the use of traditional processing techniques, the constancy and commitment, the love and dedication to a land varied in its landscapes, rich in flavors that tradition has consolidated over the centuries. and worldwide appreciations return as a guarantee of quality. Typicality defines the aromas and quality of the Val d’Orcia wine, and becomes an essential indicator of the cultural and territorial values ​​of the area. Quality wine becomes the main witness of the richness of the heart of Tuscany.

 The strict regulations dictate the rules to be followed to produce Igt, Doc and Docg wines, subjecting the planting of the vineyard, grape production, aging and conservation of wine to precise methods. Quality is therefore guaranteed by written standards. But in the land of wine there are rules codified over time, and innovation and respect for tradition are combined with the wisdom that man has gained with experience and dedication to the original grape variety.

The enormous merit of the Val d’Orcia farmer is to have left unchanged over time the vine that better than any other makes the goodness of the place and becomes the bearer of history, culture, traditions and taste, supported by great adaptability of the plant to the variety of environmental and territorial factors.

Sangiovese has become a witness and heir to a dedication that has lasted for millennia and which sees man ready to create harmonies of taste and flavors that arise in the moment of care for the vine and end with the bottling and storage of the wine.

The wine from the Belladonna farm and traditional processing

The Orcia Doc Malintoppo and the Orcia Doc Antonio of the Belladonna Agricultural Company are obtained respectively from Sangiovese vinified in purity (Malintoppo), and from Sangiovese at 80% and with Cabernet Sauvignon at 20% (Antonio). The vine is planted at an altitude of 400 meters, in the Val d’Orcia Artistic and Natural Park. The two wines are the result of the use of traditional winemaking techniques. The sensations, flavors and aromas of the grapes and the territory are returned to the wines throughout the grape transformation process. During the vinification, the different components of the berries (sugars, acids, aromas and colors) give rise to that complex of qualities that we then find in wines. The manual harvesting of the grapes, the transport of intact bunches to the cellar are the phases that are carried out for the harvest in Val d’Orcia. The grapes are then de-stemmed and pressed, with a machine that detaches the grapes from the stalks (rich in rough tannins) and then presses them in order to facilitate the release of the must. The must begins to ferment thanks to the yeasts found on the grape skin that transform sugars into ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide and other secondary products, such as glycerin and succinic acid. The complex enzymatic activity of yeasts is also responsible for the aroma which in great wines generates, after appropriate aging, a fascinating bouquet of flavors and smells.

In red vinification, the contact of the must with the solid parts (skins and seeds) is called “maceration” and can last more or less long. With a short maceration (5 or 6 days) young wines are obtained that are very rich in color and soft, because they are poor in tannins. For important wines, with a long aging, the contact between marc and must must be increased beyond twenty days.

The wines of Azienda Agraria Belladonna are vinified in small stainless steel barrels of 25 hl and 50 hl. Maceration is 18 – 20 days for Malintoppo and 23 – 25 days for Antonio. This process allows the formation of aromas and fragrances that are formed in the grapes thanks to the solar energy radiated in that particular year. They are released from the skins and it is an extremely important phenomenon because they contain the character of that particular vintage.

The skins also transmit their hidden richness to the wine, the proteins, which by binding to the tannins during aging make the wines soft and velvety. It is precisely during maceration that man, in a fascinating way, gets in tune with the wine, tasting the drink until the precise moment in which it is decided to separate the wine from the skins.

After racking, the wine is racked into barrels, where the malolactic transformation will convert malic acid (characteristic of green apple) into the more graceful lactic acid, resulting in a softening of the taste. At this point the wine is ready for aging. Malintoppo remains 9 months in stainless steel and wooden barrels and 2 months in the bottle. Antonio stays 4 months in stainless steel, 8 months in oak barriques and 4 months in bottle.

The vivid colors of the vineyard and the noises of the open countryside are replaced by the silence and magical atmosphere of the cellar spaces, where the wine takes shape and aroma. It becomes soft, brown, intense and stable. The taste is enriched by the substances released by the wood, the polysaccharides, which give the flavor the much sought-after velvety. Time harmonizes the components of the drink. Aging is a long time, a magical time in the silence and dim light of the cellar. Through the refinement, the precursors of the aromas become aromas, the bouquet harmonizes with the taste and the whole becomes one. The Orcia Doc of Azienda Agraria Belladonna is thus ready to bring the aromas of a great land and the passions of extraordinary men all over the world

I nostri Vini Igt, Doc e Docg

La produzione vitivinicola toscana raggiunge ormai degli standard qualitativi riconosciuti su tutti i mercati. La presenza di numerosi vini a Denominazione d’Origine garantiscono la ricercatezza di armonie e gusto che il vino toscano presenta al mondo intero.

L’Olio Extra Vergine d'Oliva: Oro della Val d’Orcia

L’olio dell’Azienda Agraria Belladonna viene franto attraverso gli antichi metodi tradizionali di spremitura discontinua a freddo, che consente di ottenere un olio con elevato contenuto in polifenoli, fruttati e stabili nel tempo.