When Francesco and Veronica Passerin d’Entreves took over Dianella Wine Estate in 2003, they started to apply the process of modernization in the vineyards and the cellar from the previous Billeri Family’s centuries old wine making facilities. In its history, they have seen success at the beginning of the 19th century when Dianella’s Chianti were being found on the tables of the best Italian trattorias and restaurants, and most importantly, on the tables of Quirinal Palace, the then official royal residence of the Kings of Italy. With the contemporized facilities, Francesco and Veronica maintained their philosophy of keeping the respect for the territory’s traditions to which in 2014, they procured the expertise of oenologist Franco Bernabei in preserving their bond with the territory and cultivating local grape varieties most especially Sangiovese.
About twenty kilometers away from Florence, Dianella is a historical boutique winery located on the soft rolling hills of Montalbano, the smallest sub-area of Chianti in the town of Vinci which is the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci. The estate has 90 hectares of land, 25 of which are dedicated to viticulture on the Montalbano hilly limestone sub-area of Chianti at average altitude of 627 meters above sea level with a south and southwest sun exposure. Vinci is an area that has a long history linked to vine cultivation and wine production. In fact, in the year 1716, it was stated in the Bando Dei Vini di Cosimo III, the first official declaration of the regional wine appellations that guarantees quality for the consumers, that the area is one of the four zones of Tuscany that is perfect for producing smooth wines with intense aromas.
The vineyards are cultivated utilizing organic practices with no implementation of chemical products. The vinification methods take place in three cellars, the oldest of which is the one that houses the concrete vats which date back two hundred years ago, while the other two contain the the oak barrels and stainless steel containers.
On the 18th of September 2019, at the Divinity Rooftop Terrace of Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, Dianella Winery, with the guidance of Sommelier Livia Belardelli, hosted a tasting of a selection of their wines paired with the dishes prepared by Chef Francesco Apreda.
Maria Vittoria and Ottavia Brut, the first wine served which is a sparkling wine made with the Charmat method using Vermentino grapes which conveys aromas of delicate white flowers and herbs, controlled acidity and pronounced sapidity. There is also the Orpicchio, a Trebbiano biotype that has been in cultivation since the 19th century in Tuscany and inscribed in the National Registry of Vine Varieties since 2007. At Dianella, the first production is 2019 which was a result of a decade long project at the winery. Aged in wood with a pronounced minerality, the white wine gives a long finish and promises to be a good wine for keeping longer.
Sangiovese, the dominant grape variety used in Chianti, is the most grown vine at Dianella.
Being the main vine in Dianella, almost of their wines represent diverse expressions of the variety starting with the rosè wines both sparkling (ancestral method) Maria Vittoria and Ottavia, and the still rosè wine All’Aria Aperta. All’Aria Aperta is a pale salmon colored crisp wine made with the soft pressing of Sangiovese grapes coming from the oldest vineyard of the estate. In congruence to the open air tasting, it was a perfect wine with a decisive fruity and fresh personality to drink on a summer night accompanying the raw red shrimp with avocado mousse of Chef Apreda.
Mostly Sangiovese with some Colorino grapes and aged in cement vats, Dianella Chianti DOCG has been in production at Dianella since the beginning of its story when it was being served on the tables of the Quirinal Palace. One of the two red wines presented at the tasting, Dianella Chianti Riserva DOCG instead is made with a bit of Colorino and the Sangiovese grapes cultivated in the oldest vineyard of the estate then aged for 16 months in large French oak barrels. A harmonious deep ruby red wine with a full body, its persistence of complex flavors of red and black berries, violet, balsamic, and dried spices linger long in the palate. It’s the perfect wine to accompany a good Florentine steak.
Le Veglie di Neri IGT Toscana Rosso, a blend of Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon, finds its way in the bottle after maturation in cement vats and small French oak barrels. The second red wine in the tasting, Il Matto delle Giuncaie IGT Toscana Rosso, a multi-awarded full-bodied red wine comes from the best selection of 100% Sangiovese grapes of the estate then aged in second passage small French oak barrels. This full-bodied deep ruby red wine epitomizes the beauty of Dianella philosophy and the Tuscan terroir. It is harmonious and complex which imparts balanced primary to tertiary characteristics, and finishes with persistence in the palate.
The tasting concluded with a tray of desserts and a glass of Dolci Ricordi Vendemmia Tardiva of 100% Malvasia Lunga del Chianti grape variety, aged for 12 months in oak kegs. The golden yellow wine has a good structure with subdued sweetness and good acidity and a bouquet of dried fruits and sweet spices.