Under the fortress of Montepulciano, in the basement next to the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, there is a winery that relies entirely on conviviality and a warm welcome: the Gattavecchi winery, which has been producing Vino Nobile for over fifty years and it has become an international established company.
The history of Gattavecchi winery is closely linked to the one of the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, which it shares the foundations with. As a matter of fact, this was a convent built in the 13th century by Serviti Fathers, the order of the Servi from the Santissima Annunziata in Florence; they lived there until the 19th century, when the convent was closed by Napoleon as part of the ecclesiastical confiscation. At that time, it passed to the Simoneschi-Baroncelli family, who used a part of it for the making of cereals produced in the farms of St. Biagio valley. Then, in the mid-50s, this part of the convent next to the church was bought by Gattavecchi family, who started its wine business in Montepulciano.
Actually, the Gattavecchi family has a much older history in wine production: the grandparents of the current owners had already taken care of wine production in Sansepolcro, in the province of Arezzo, as they produced large quantities of wine for the Adriatic coast. After moving to Montepulciano, Valente Gattavecchi began producing Vino Nobile, up to pass on the business to his sons Luca, Gionata and Daniela.
“The production of Vino Nobile began in 1966 – tells Gionata Gattavecchi, during the visit to the wine cellar – In those years, Montepulciano was becoming important internationally, in wine production. Especially in the ’80s, when we worked a lot with Chianciano, and we enhanced the export sector, which has continued to grow since then”.
The demand is so high, that Gattavecchi decided to buy Poggio alla Sala in 1996: it is a historic company in the area, one of the first wineries of Montepulciano, which has received many awards for the quality of its food and wine production, where where Etruscan remains have been found, which are still present in Chianciano Terme ;useum. Thanks to Poggio alla Sala, all the production that was made in the historic cellar was transferred to the new company, organizing all stages of processing and improving the overall quality of the wine.
Today, at the historic winery at the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, the stages of aging and reception and restaurant business are performed. Besides the majestic barrels in which rests the Vino Nobile, you can visit the basement of the ancient monastery and even an Etruscan tomb, dating 3rd century b.C. which makes clear all the historical and cultural stratification present in Montepulciano. Upstairs, there is a beautiful lounge, in what was the ancient refectory of the convent of the Serviti.
“In addition to the tastings, we also started a catering business in 2010 – says Daniela – thanks to our cook Lilian, which offers very good quality food, cooking classes, and ethnic themed nights. The opening of the tavern has given a great boost to the reception, we host many tourists of many nationalities and we try to make them taste the conviviality, through a familiar and welcoming experience”
Gionata and Daniela are primarily in charge of the reception at Osteria di Lilian and of the tastings in the historic wine cellar; their brother Luca, however, deals with the production activities at Poggio alla Sala, with marketing and trips abroad, and he also has a representative role, as he had in the past as President of the Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
The main body of the company Gattavecchi is in Argiano, but there are other vineyards in the town of Ascianello and Caggiole. The production reaches 500.000 bottles per year, divided into different types of products: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, Nobile Riserva, Chianti Colli Senesi, in addition to Vin Santo, grappa, olive oil and a selection of table wines .
“The market aims abroad mainly, about the 60% of the production – tells Gionata – The U.S. market is very important, where we have a distributor with many shops, and then there is China, which is growing a lot, lately. As for our region, I think it was done a great job and that the results are already clear. Montepulciano has a great potential of with its historic wine wineries, and beautiful cellars with an important past, even in the wine sector”.
(For visits and info: Via di Collazzi 74, Montepulciano (SI) – Telephone: +39 0578 757110 – website: www.cantinagattavecchi.com)