Cervognano is one of the places in Montepulciano that is mostly involved in vineyard farming – which is used to produce Vino Nobile – due to the type of the soil and to the favourable exposure to atmospheric agents. The small farms Boscarelli are at the centre of the vineyard spread along the road of Montenegro, which connects Cervognano with the historical part of Montepulciano. The approaching path it is fascinating, even before visiting the winery.
The Boscarelli farms are owned by the Marquis De Ferrari Corradi, they’ve been managed over the past years by their mother Paola and now by her sons, Luca and Nicolò. A family history of commitment in the production of Vino Nobile, that has been going on for more than fifty years: in 1962, as a matter of fact, they bought the semi-abandoned land – that today correspond to the two farmhouses and the surrounding crops – to begin their activities. It was Paola’s father, Egidio Corradi, to buy the farms from the farmers who lived there: born in Montepulciano, Egidio lived and worked in Genoa with his family, then the purchase of the farms represented a way to stay in touch with his “motherland”.
Initially, the vineyards of Boscarelli farms produced wine just for family consumption; the grapes were given to the community winery, and the cottages were used for rest from hard work in Genoa. Then Egidio sensed that the Vino Nobile produced there could be a great qualitative peak, and decided to combine his passion to a productive and a more effective business.
“We started with a few hectares – says Paola – we grew slowly, we lived in Genoa and we were in Montepulciano on weekends. We planted new vineyards, we increased the space in the winery and we invested on the quality of Vino Nobile. My husband and I have continued the activities of Egidio, then our sons took over, who are in full control of the company now”.
Despite the growth of the winery, De Ferrari family continues to control Boscarelli farms personally: Nicolò lives in Montepulciano, while Luca is divided between the winery and his life in Genoa. Seven employees are actually working with them, together with many seasonal workers, as well as two oenologist, Maurizio Castelli and Mery Ferrara.
The spaces which constitute the actual Boscarelli winery, many years ago they were the stables of the farmhouse sharecropper who lived in the farm; properly refurbished and modified, now they host dozens of barrels for the refining and the aging of the prestigious Vino Nobile. There are also spaces for tasting and new spaces with the view on the barrels, which are particularly appreciated by groups of visitors. They add something every year, a slow but gradual growth, because they want to maintain their wine recognizable.
The first year of their production was 1967, with about 300 initial bottles, then production increased for all the ’70s. In the ’80s, to the initial core of the nine hectares it was added the famous “Vigna del Nocio”, which represents their cru. There were further additions in the 90s, up to the current annual production of about 120.000 bottles. To the hectares of vineyards around the initial Boscarelli farms, three hectares were added in Cortona, for the production of Merlot and five and a half hectares in Cerraie, at Tre Berte: Nicolò is taking care of the move and the new farmhouse management activities, which from next year already it will be added to the production.
The current production of Boscarelli winery is about 25.000 bottles of IGT red wine “De Ferrari”, 30.000 of Rosso di Montepulciano “Prugnolo”, 50.000 of basic Vino Nobile with traditional grapes Canaiolo and Colorino, 15.000 of Vino Nobile Riserva, 5.000 of Riserva “Sottocasa”, in which they also use international grapes, like Merlot and Cabernet, and then 5.000 of “Nocio” which is their Sangiovese cru, only in the best years. And then the Vin Santo “Familiae”, as well as oil and grappa Riserva in small quantities.
“In these lands you can breathe the identity of the blackthorn from Montepulciano – explains Luca. The peculiarity is that Grandpa Egidio chose this farm, because he bought wine in this area; He was fond of Vino Nobile and he bought it from Cervognano farmers, according to him was the perfect area to produce it. It isn’t a very high area, actually, 280 meters above sea level, with the north-east slope which is influenced by the warm breezes of the Trasimeno Lake, it is a warmer zone than other areas of Montepulciano. And then the red alluvial soil, where there are shells and stones, which make the ground solid, vigorous and very compact, with the roots of the vineyard capable to descend into the depths and make the quality constant over the years, and less sensitive to bad weather and unexpected events”.
A particular attention has been placed in the care of the vineyards of Boscarelli farms: Sangiovese vineyards were planted with native clones. The old vineyards were replanted between 1988 and 2008, half a hectare per year, but for 30% they have used the old clones of his grandfather, in order to maintain a good production and a consistent quality. Even for the production system they prefer the traditional processes, they do not use industrial yeast, but indigenous yeast, they ferment in small barrels and very classic one – a year of aging in Slovenian oak barrels and two years in larger barrels.
The international market for Boscarelli wine opened in the mid-70s, thanks to a good success in the industry, that has led them to export to America, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Japan and Australia. Despite the low production, they were among the first to open up abroad and to raise awareness of the brand of Vino Nobile in the world.
The cellars of Boscarelli farms are open for tours and tastings, especially during the summer there is a large flow of visitors – to which are offered different levels of involvement: from fast tastings to guided tours, from walking along the vineyards, to the courses on how to recognize vineyards and the characteristics of the wine.
“Our mission is to make Vino Nobile known in the world, the ambition is to make the name bigger. Brunello and Chianti have become famous and very fashionable brands, but the Vino Nobile is older, he has had no sudden increases. The production area is not large, we talk about 8 million bottles total, but in the last twenty years, producers of Vino Nobile have invested a lot, even in new vineyards, so the effects of this good work will be seen in the coming years. Looking ahead we have a solid production base, it is now necessary to coordinate the energies to make the identity of the wine univocal”.