What may happen in Montepulciano is this: on the old road of Chiusi, between the old town centre and Cervognano, you may come across a small valley around the Salcheto stream. And you may discover parts of history, a prosperous nature, some rural architectures and – of course – an excellent Vino Nobile winery.
“Il Molinaccio” is a young winery, but its history traces back to XVth Century, and its name comes from the old mill there once was. During the visit, I am accompanied by one of the owners, Alessandro Sartini, who tells me the history of the firm.
“Il Molinaccio was born from a part of the Fanetti estate, which I inherited. This has been my home for 20 years. Then, in 2000, together with some friends, we planted the first vineyard. A little bit more than one hectare, based on Sangiovese grapes, and it has been possible thanks to the plants found and recovered in the woods – so to testify to the old vineyard that used to be beside the mill”.
2012 has been the turning point: in that period, Alessandro and his family have been already living in the old Montepulciano, they restored the estate to get three rooms good for agritourism, although they were thinking about selling the whole estate. Thanks to one of the business partners, Marco Malavasi, Alessandro was able to create a new company and to launch the firm completely – by planting two and a half hectares more. Now “Il Molinaccio” has one winery, seven rooms good for agritourism, a restaurant, a swimming pool and other touristic activities.
We start visiting the firm, deep in the green. The estate is made of ten hectares, most of them occupied by the woods around the Salcheto stream – and it arrives up to Madonna delle Querce. Along the woods, Alessandro and Marco made a course where archery can be performed on tridimensional animal shapes – and this experience is appreciated by many tourists. The tour is open to people of any age – and it is possible to have a break in a little hunting wooden house beyond the wineyard.
Next to the agritourism there is the orchard – with a wide variety of old and biological plants, and in the vegetable garden no chemical substance is used. There is the swimming pool then, where the water is deprived of the chlorine and it is recovered in a tank, and this water is used to cool down the wine vases. It’s an important passage, that allows to understand how much “Il Molinaccio” tries to optimise all the resources, starting from the water of its well, to reach the ecological sustainability of the whole structure.
“The project was born with a specific idea of agricultural management, orientated towards biological and sustainable agricolture. We installed solar panels, we use the water of our own well. We would like to reach the geothermal heat, so to make the whole structure compatible, from an ecological point of view”.
The central structure is derived from an old mill, which was, in 1400 A.D., one of the most important one in the area around Montepulciano. The rests of the old structure are still visible: the entrance was lower and there were drinking troughs for animals. The main room was built from the inner wheel; from the basement, it can be seen the point where the flour fell down. The structure keeps the rural style, but with well-finished details.
Now, the agritourism has seven double rooms, and one room can become a quadruple one. It works a lot in summertime, as the villa can be rented to family groups or groups of friends. Thanks to the secrecy of its position, in a totally dedicated valley, and its proximity to the old town centre, this place is particularly appreciated by tourists. Alessandro insists that most of his customers are foreigners, and half of them are Americans. For the next seasons, the villa is fully booked, except for two weeks.
“Il Molinaccio” is also a winery which produces Vino Nobile: it’s a small winery, but it’s of good quality. Its logo recalls the cypresses and the wheel of the mill – which can be seen at the entrance of the estate; the first wine-making was made in 2012, a particularly appreciated year for its quality in all Montepulciano.
In the winery three French barrels of Allier are used, differently to many other producers which use Slavonia wood or Oak wood. They use fair wood, because the position of the vineyard is excellent, but in a sheltered valley; in this case, there is a gain in perfume and elegance, but there can be a loss in structure.
There is the need of a barrel which doesn’t spoil the perfumes, on the contrary, there is the need to keep the aromatic bouquet untouched; the white wood gives sugar and vanilla, which are not aggressive on the wine and its elegance, but they emphasise its structure. The wine of “Il Molinaccio” is of 13 degrees, it’s sophisticated and it smells of woods. The whole production is numbered – as a remark to quality. Every year, around 10.000 bottles, with different kinds of them, which are inspired to the name of the animals who are living in the woods around the firm. There is the Rosso di Montepulciano “Il Golo”, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “La Spinosa” and Riserva “La Poiana”. There is the Grappa di Vino Nobile “Il Molinaccio”, made with an artisanal method from the best grapes and they are worked in the Nannoni firm.
A peculiar product is the “Finocchiaccio”, a brew made of wild fennel, which becomes a pleasant spirit of 25 degrees, just like limoncello. The fruit of the firm is used even for marmalades, where only sugar is added. The specialty of the house is the wild rose marmalade, a white and pink flower, which is made of red berries in winter.
“We would like to keep a French style, even in the production in the vineyard and in the attention to the product. We really rely on the Rosso, one of the best in Montepulciano. If there is a wine with our logo, or our production number, it has to be of good quality. Either it’s good, or it is not released”.