Castello Vicchiomaggio. Family history in the heart of Chianti

Oct 11 2021, 12:28 | by Gambero Rosso
From the 1970s onwards, the Chianti area has been growing in terms of quality, research and sustainability. Here’s the history of Castello Vicchiomaggio.

Castello Vicchiomaggio. History

A castle, a charming residence, a 346-acre estate. Vicchiomaggio is all this, but there is something that dominates inside it: wine. Winegrowing has always been a mainstay here, and John and Paola Matta with their four children have been carrying on a tradition that began centuries ago. It all started with Federico Matta, John's father, who bought Castello Vicchiomaggio in the late 1960s. Originally from Asti, he lived in London for a long time, where he worked in the import of wines and spirits and set up a major company in the import of some prestigious Italian beverage brands. After selling the England-based company, he focused on Vicchiomaggio alongside his son John, who in the meantime had become an oenologist in Alba. From the 1970s onwards, the Chianti area has been growing and not in terms of quantity, but of quality, research and above all sustainability. The production comprehends elegant wines of great finesse and with good aging potential, that mainly provide outstanding testimony of their territory, the Greve in Chianti’s clay-marl based soil.

Find out more about Castello Vicchiomaggio

Thanks also to the southern exposure, the wines convey all the Mediterranean sunshine. The vocation of this territory is perceived both through traditional grape varieties, primarily Sangiovese, and two great international ones, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They are all grown in the 84-acre vineyard on the estate, that hosts a 25-acre olive grove as well, the rest is parkland. "For me, Vicchiomaggio is my job, but first and foremost my family," says Victoria Matta, one of John and Paola's four children. "Three years ago, I left my job and came back here, I was the last one to join the company. We are four siblings, and we all work in the company, each one with a different task: Sebastian takes care of the vineyard and the cellar, my sisters Delfina and Federica work alongside my mother in the hospitality sector. I’m in charge of the sales and general management. Vicchiomaggio is not only family to me, but also territory. The territory has always been of paramount importance for us and that is why we are working sustainably to safeguard it and ensure that future generations can enjoy such places. From the vineyard to the bottle, sustainability is at the heart of our strategy. You cannot think of making wine without protecting and enhancing the environment that gave life to the wine. The residence helps us too: in the 1980s, it was my mother who decided to devote herself to hospitality, and now we manage several suites and flats. But wine remains the focus of the whole business."

Hospitality in the 12th-century castle

Located 11 miles from Florence in the Val di Greve, the crenellated tower is the castle’s centrepiece. Its origins go back 1000 years, when the central body was built. Around it, there are perfectly preserved houses, so much so that the structure is recognised as national monument. Inside the castle, there are seven flats that can accommodate from 2 to 6 guests, who can also visit the wine cellars. Next to it stands the vicarage with seven elegant and classically furnished suites, a restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool. Indoor and outdoor spaces are at guests’ disposal, among ancient holm oaks and views of the vineyards. Next to the vicarage, there is the herb garden, where all the seasonal products are grown and then used in the kitchen.

Vicchiomaggio wines

The Vicchiomaggio range includes 13 wines. The reds dominate, followed by two whites and a rosé. We find a white and a red under the name Ripa delle Mandorle, and a white, a rosé and a Chianti Classico vintage under San Jacopo. There are also several Chianti Classico cru wines from the estate: the Guado Alto (a pure Sangiovese) and the Agostino Petri (a Riserva wine blended with a small percentage of Cabernet). There are also two Grand Cru Selections (always from the estate): La Prima and Le Bolle. Ripa delle More is a blend of Sangiovese (50%), Merlot and Cabernet. FSM (Federico Secondo Matta), instead, is a pure Merlot from a small and steep vineyard: it represents the ultimate expression of Merlot in Vicchiomaggio. We conclude with two special labels: the Vicchiomaggio Vegan is a vegan certified Chianti Classico (from Sangiovese), whilst Amphiarao is the latest addition. As the name suggests, it is a blend of Cabernet, Petit Verdot and the remainder of Sangiovese, aged in 500-litre terracotta amphoras for 12 months. The result? A lot of charm and guaranteed territoriality.

Vicchiomaggio – Greve in Chianti (FI) – via Vicchiomaggio, 4 – 055854079 –

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