Selvapiana 2023 : Return to the Vineyard

Chianti Rufina pre-harvest visit with vigneron Federico Giuntini

Pontassieve, Chianti Rufina, Tuscany
August 2023

Our visit to Italy timed with what seemed like summer 2023’s perpetual heatwave – temperatures were increasing to the mid-to-high 35°C+ during the day time, and keeping cool was the priority.

However, the Sangiovese grapes at Selvapiana in Chianti Rufina were loving the heat.  Greeted by winemaker Federico Giuntini, he explained that this year has been one of extreme weather patterns.  

We are about a week away from harvest, and the team has done a great job in the vineyards where beautiful clusters of Sangiovese, a late-ripening variety, wait to get their final rays of sunshine before achieving full ripeness.

Vintage 2023 - Perspectives from Erchi & Bucerchiale

It is without questions that Fattoria Selvapiana has been dedicated to the Sangiovese grape, for decades … Already in 1979 Francesco Giuntini was producing a 100% Sangiovese from one single-parcel: Bucerchiale.

In 2016, Selvapiana introduced a second Cru, Erchi, also 100% Sangiovese, and part of the new Terraelectae designation, considered to be the top wines produced by members of the Consortia Chianti Rufina.

Separated by 10 minutes from vineyard Bucerchiale, Erchi’s soil has less clay, more calcaire, with zones rich in iron. The vineyards are a little lower than Bucerchiale’s altitude, South East facing, Erchi is in a warmer environment compared to Bucerchiale.

For more details, check out Ian d’Agata’s excellent article here that gives an in-detail summary of the new Terraelectae rules.

View from the ERCHI vineyard

During our visit in August, it was hard not to notice a blue haze around the vineyards.  Federico explains that this is humidity that is still hung around in the area since a very wet May and June.  It was evident – the mountains and vines were very green and lush, and all the rivers were quite higher than previous, very dry years.

January to April the region was much dried than usual.  Then came the rain.  The very wet months of May and June were quite a struggle – Federico estimates that the estate probably lost between 23-30% of the harvest as these rains happened during floraison.  Luckily they avoided the downy mildew.  

Above: View from the Erchi Vineyards

Below: View of the Selvapiana Bucerchiale vineyards from across the hills.  You can see the Colline del Chianti.

Organic Viticulture Since the early 1990's

Above Left: Sangiovese at Erchi

Above Right: Sangiovese at Bucerchiale

Fattoria Selvapiana started organic viticulture in 1992, and over the years they have added other treatments to its organic viticulture program: bee propolis, orange peel oil, and a plant-based mixture that helps the vine to strengthen its own immune system. This allows them to reduce their copper and sulphur inputs.

In winter, they sow the inter-rows with a mixture of broad beans and other seeds for two main purposes: to enrich the soil and to decompact it. Selvapiana also mulches and keeps about 5-6 centimetres of mown grass to keep the soil moist and fresh.

Large Barrel Ageing for the single vineyard wines Erchi & Bucerchiale

Ageing the Sangiovese in barrel at Selvapiana is incredibly important to achieving a quality of wine that can continue to age in bottle for decades.

Selvapiana has always aged their Sangiovese in large barrels – foudres – and sometime in the past it has been casks made from Chestnut trees.  Nowadays the barrels are made from oak, and a variety of different sizes are used, such as 25HL & 30HL Foudres from Piemonte supplier Botti Gamba,  and most recently the addition of Large format barrels from Austrian cooperage Stockinger.  In 2019, the estate received 10HL barrels from Veneto producer Garbellotto, which have been integrated into the Bucerchiale ageing program.

Current Vintages Available


This was a large harvest for 2022.  Graphite, blackberry, plums and cranberry on the nose.  The palate has a blood and iron notes, great structure and robust tannins. 


The suppleness of 2020 is well-perceived in this cuvée.  In addition to the classic plums and dried roses we find in this cuvée, the nose has a minty, sage, herbal notes with a savoury, salumi fresca fleshiness on the palate.  


This is the first vintage certified with the Terraelectae designation.  Roses, cherry tomatoes, leather, cassis and tomato leaf are aromas on the nose, and the palate follows with a savoury leather, juicy red plum acidity and a very classic structure.


60% Sangiovese (large foudres)

20% Cabernet Sauvignon & 20% Merlot (small barriques)

The nose has a perfume blend of vanilla, liquorice and red plums, with a palate that has tobacco leaf and juicy red currants.  

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