Tenuta San Francesco: Centuries-Old Vines Producing Phenomenal Wines in the Amalfi Coast

Have you ever seen the trunk of a centuries-old vine branch? An authentic bole grown in awning that winds for meters and meters twisting on itself, with the joints that they resemble seafaring knots, intrigues of wool skeins, creating grotesque games of lights, shadows and wood. Have you ever walked under the branches of Tintore, humongous pergola-trained vines that create roofs of leaves above your head where half-day sun rays shyly filter through? Have you ever smelled its perfume? The scent of its wood mixed with the earthy scent of clayey soil, pomice stones and volcanic ash where the vines have rested its roots. Have you ever seen a pre-phylloxera ungrafted vineyard? A centuries-old vine that is still alive, getting its nutrition from the volcanic soil it lives on with its own original roots. It is a hero that survived the phylloxera epidemic, the terrible insect pest that killed vineyards all over the world in the 19th century as it spread from America, to France and throughout Europe.

The steep hilly terraces as high as 600 meters asl from 200 meters, are difficult to cultivate and to cross, let alone to work on. Everything is done by hands without any mechanized aid. This evocative landscape draws a past without which there would be no present, “a past without which today we would be nothing and without which the Tenuta di San Francesco in Tramonti would not exist”: with these words and this conviction that they bravely grasped and put in practices, Gaetano Bove and his brother Generoso, together with the help of Vincenzo D’Avino e Luigi Giordano, gave birth to an impossible undertaking in 2004, to enhance the territory of Tramonti.

Located on the Lattari Mountains that form the Sorrento peninsula, on the Amalfi Coast UNESCO heritage site, Tramonti is considered the Green Heart of the Amalfi Coast. “Intra montes ubertas” or “land between the mountains”, this area of ​​the Campania Apennines enjoys a microclimate that gives the favor to different types of vines. It says the name Tramontana, the cold wind coming from the north that blows sovereign in these territories, derives precisely from Tramonti as it is the most northern municipality of the Sorrento peninsula, for this it is was applied in the compasses that the Amalfi people used first in the West and not by chance they initially indicated the winds (Rosa dei Venti). And thanks to this wind and to the mostly stony soil we find Tintore, a vine that is found only in these lands.

Tenuta di San Francesco aims to preserve its monumentality, the historical and cultural value of such a rarity by paying attention to the type of natural, non-invasive cultivation, a non-certified organic viticulture that tends to defend what is the authenticity of the flavors of these centuries-old vines. It is defined as heroic cultivation, because the vines are arranged in terraces on sloping terrain, in inaccessible points where harvesting is difficult, between 200 to 600 meters above sea level.

Out of a total of 14 hectares, 8 are dedicated to these centenary vines which owe their survival to stony ground which extends for more than two meters in depth, thanks to which the phylloxera, this parasite that corrodes the roots and leaves of the vine, cannot survive. The red varieties Tintore, Aglianico and Piedirosso are grown here while the rest, more than 4 hectares, is cultivated with the white varieties Biancolella, Falanghina and Ginestra for the most part. This best expresses the land where Gaetano and Giordano Bove were born, this one attention to the history of the naturalistic territory even to their father, who, before them, believed in the power of the past, has its roots in a historic farm of 1700, inside the Parco Regionale dei Monti Lattari, where we can find, hidden among the vines and leaves of these unexpected giants of nature, the Tenuta San Francesco in Tramonti.

Some of the Wines of Tenuta San Francesco:

Alta Costa Spumante Brut Metodo Classico
Produced from Biancazita or Ginestra grape variety with ungrafted vines in pergola training system cultivated on thin superficial layer of red clay and volcanic ash over Dolomite limestone between 300 to 600 meters asl. Vinification in stainless steel vats with the second fermentation in the bottle for about 42 months. After disgorgement, another 2-3 months in the bottle before commercialization. Sparkling wine with straw yellow color, fine and persistent perlage, an intense nose of fruity and floral aromas, hints of citrus peel and crust of bread. In the palate, fruity and floral, fresh and notes of minerals and persistent finish.

Tramonti Bianco Costa D’Amalfi Bianco DOC
Produced from grape varieties Falanghina, Biancolella and Pepella with ungrafted vines in pergola and guyot training systems cultivated on thin superficial layer of red clay and volcanic ash over Dolomite limestone between 300 to 600 meters asl. Vinification and maturation in stainless steel vats between 6-8 months and 1-2 months in the bottle before commercialization. Bright straw yellow with an intense nose of fruits of crispy peaches and lemon peel, white flowers and sage while it fills up the mouth with freshness, sapidity and fruitiness, ending with persistence.

Per Eva Costa D’Amalfi Bianco DOC
Produced from grape varieties Falanghina, Biancolella and Pepella in guyot system cultivated on thin superficial layer of red clay and volcanic ash over Dolomite limestone between 500 to 600 meters asl in the Vigna dei Preti. Vinification and maturation in stainless steel vats between 8-10 months and 2-4 months in the bottle before commercialization. Straw yellow in color with golden highlights, intense nose with more aromas of crispy white fruits and flowers like white peaches and green apples and a touch of stone while in the palate it lends a great personality with pronounced freshness, medium body and minerals, as it finishes with persistence. A beautiful wine with ageing potential.

Quattro Spine Costa D’Amalfi Tramonti Rosso Riserva DOC
Produced from grape varieties Aglianico, Tintore and Piedirosso with ungrafted vines in pergola and guyot training systems cultivated on thin superficial layer of red clay and volcanic ash over Dolomite limestone between 300 to 600 meters asl. Vinification in stainless steel vats, maturation in stainless steel vats and 25 hl oak barrels between 18-24 months and 6 months in the bottle before commercialization. Deep ruby red in color with an intense nose of black cherries, balsamic notes, sweet dried spices and layers of smoke with a bold palate of dark stone fruits, freshness, sapidity, dried tea leaves, layer of smokiness and persistent finish.

È ISS Campania Rosso IGT
Produced from Tintore grape variety of 150 to 300-year old pre-phylloxera ungrafted vines in pergola training system cultivated on thin superficial layer of red clay and volcanic ash over Dolomite limestone between 300 to 600 meters asl. Vinification in stainless steel vats, maturation in 25 hl oak barrels between 18-24 months and 6 months in the bottle before commercialization. The production is limited to just a few number of bottles. Deep ruby red in color with highlights of purple, intense nose of dark berries, stone, tobacco, and hint of dried spices and smoke while in the palate it shows a great personality of elegance, freshness and sapidity, velvety with full body and a persistent finish. A very interesting wine with great ageing potential.

Tenuta San Francesco

Via Fieccia
84010 Tramonti (SA), Italy
Tel: +39 089 876434
Email: info@vinitenutasanfrancesco.com
Website: https://www.vinitenutasanfrancesco.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tenuta-San-Francesco-Winery-435131629846238