West of Siena, in an area of Chiuso di Cortona, there is a parcel of land named Poggiobello di Farneta. Here, after extensive geological and climatic research, Stefano Amerighi identified the terroir capable of producing the grand Syrah of his ambition. He has invested Poggiobello di Farneta with all the significance of a cru.
The Napoleonic invasion brought Syrah to Cortona – so for all this is an international variety, it is nevertheless naturalised by history and its aptitude for the terroir is proven in a centuries-old association. Yet there perhaps no Syrah vineyard quite like this in the region: where a political science training and an old family tradition of farming and viticulture have come together in a project which is nothing less than visionary. Today, Poggiobello di Farneta, which started off as just vines, is a thriving polyculture. The farm now encompasses cereals, vegetables, fruit and animals – principally the Chianina, one of the world’s most ancient breeds of cattle. As such it’s a model of sustainable, biodynamic agriculture that’s also Stefano’s utopian statement for a better kind of world.
Stefano settled at Poggiobello di Farneta after extensive scientific investigations: identifying the parcel for its ideal exposure (south by south-east facing hillside) and soil profile (amix of clay, silt and chalk.) He selected his cuttings with great care and in person from the Rhone valley, and made the first plantings in 2002: at a dense 7000 plants per hectare, gauged to optimally stress the vines.
All vineyard work is dictated by lunar and planetary phases; and the soil enriched by biodynamic preparations instead of fertiliser. In the winery, no sulphites are added and there is no fining or filtration. Grapes are de-stemmed, a proportion reserved and left entire; the majority then lightly foot pressed. All are then manually introduced to small concrete vats and left to spontaneously ferment before refining in wood and concrete over 14 months.