LE FONTI di VICKY SCHMITT-VITALI, Panzano in Chianti
Vicky Schmitt-Vitali and Guido Vitali took over the exquisite, immaculate 15-hectare Le Fonti estate in Panzano-in-Chianti from Vicky's father in 2000. Guido serves as winemaker & vineyard manager, while Vicky looks after the commercial aspects of the business. But really, they do everything together - by hand - from pruning, to harvest, to bottling... Vicky's father, Conrad Schmitt, purchased the estate in 1994, and since that time, the entire vineyard has been replanted & improved, and the cellar has been completely rebuilt and expanded. There are less than 9 ha of vineyard (21 acres), 85% of which is planted to Sangiovese, the balance is Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot – plus of course about 5 hectares of olive trees. The respected Stefano Chioccioli has been the estate’s consulting oenologist since the beginning.
Le Fonti is farmed organically, and every aspect of the 3,400 case (40,000 bottles) production is done by hand. The estate is located within the village, with vineyards in a stunningly beautiful amphitheatre facing up the valley toward Greve, and Firenze beyond. The vineyards are planted on a mixed soil of gravel, schist, limestone, sand and clay - a soil mixture also known as Galestro, and grape varieties are matched to the soil type and exposition that best suit the variety. This is a very well considered, carefully managed ‘boutique’ estate.
Panzano is one of the most prestigious villages of Chianti Classico, located within the Commune of Greve, and considered to be the 'Premier-Cru’ Chianti Classico village (although no such formal classification exists). The beautiful, ancient village is home to several famous wineries, as well as the world-renowned Antica Macelleria Cecchini - home of Dario ‘the Butcher of Panzano’ (less ominous than it sounds, he's noted for Tuscan Beef). In fact, there are 19 wine estates in the Panzano district – and all but 2 of these estates are organic farms. This unique situation has resulted in Panzano being declared Europe’s 1st ‘Bio-Distretto di Viticultura’. Don't miss Dario or his restaurant when you visit Le Fonti - and please make sure you do visit Le Fonti when you're in Tuscany.