Rocca di Montegrossi
Located in the Commune of Galole, in the heart of Chianti, Rocca di Montegrossi was established in the 7th Century AD, by the family’s ancestor Geremia. Surviving the reign of Frederick the Great, the battles of the Florentines and the razing by Charles V’s troops, the family of Rocca di Montegrossi has shown great fortitude over the years, including the strength of conviction of its present holder, Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi.
The son of Elisabetta Balbi Valier, who developed and cultivated the successful winery Castello de Cacchiano, “Marco is a very intense individual, who’s very driven,” says Greg Reeves, our Italian Portfolio Director. When Marco and his brother Giovanni inherited Castello de Cacchiano, Marco didn’t last long. Unable to see eye-to-eye with his brother’s philosophy, Marco parted ways to seek his own vision.
Converting another plot of land that was previously dedicated to olive groves because it’s very difficult to farm, Marco took to task the calcareous loamy hillside soils that required serious tilling. “It was a very expensive, intensive endeavor,” says Greg. “But he stayed true.”
Restoring and modernizing the winery in 2000, Marco has been practicing organic in the vineyards since 2006, and certified organic since 2010. Employing solar energy and other renewable sources to run the cellar, he also collects rainwater to help preserve drinking water, which is in low reserves. When work around the estate cannot be completed by hand, Marco is sure to use biofuels or electricity for the sake of environmental preservation.
The family’s estate currently totals 100 ha, with 20 ha under vine and 20 ha of olive groves, while the rest is woodlands. Consisting mostly of Sangiovese (13 ha) with 2.5 ha of Merlot, Marco has dedicated most of his remaining vineyards to indigenous varietals such as Canalolo, Colorino and Pugnitello.
Following suit with the focus of his vision, Marco only produces the Vigneto San Marcellino Chianti Classico when the vintage is right; and in really poor years, such as 2002 with the Chianti Classico, he makes highly revered wines. “Marco knows the problems of Chianti,” says Greg, “but he believes in the area, and if you’re in the right area, you can make really great wines.” For the Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico, grapes are hung to dry on the vinsantaia (pictured above). In a 90-square meter room, 160 nets hang from the ceiling, drying from harvest until February. Every ten days, women come in to cut out and remove the bad grapes, because at Rocca di Montegrossi, only the best belongs in the bottle.