So how did the Rivettis end up in Tuscany? An Estate of these dimensions was never actually planned. Fifteen years ago, the Rivetti brothers would not have dreamed of one day running such a large and important winery in Tuscany. However, when one domino falls, the other follow and the movement is difficult to stop…
The first piece was tipped over by Giorgio Rivetti and his philosophy of producing wine from exclusively indigenous varieties. Giorgio severely criticized his Tuscan winemaking colleagues, not understanding why producers were ripping out beautiful old Sangiovese vineyards in order to make space for young Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, an action mostly directed toward serving a global taste market. These discussions frequently ended in verbal altercations, and during one such disagreement a certain Tuscan producer challenged Giorgio — instead of just talking and criticizing, perhaps it was time, he said, that Giorgio tried to make some good Sangiovese himself. Doing so, Giorgio would then realize that it was not so easy. Giorgio accepted the challenge. Once agreed, Giorgio felt that there was no going back. Herefore, he immediately started looking for old Sangiovese vineyards in the area of Pisa.
The 2001 Sezzana was the result of this challenge. After the acquisition of a Cru vineyard near Casciana Terme, the grapes were then transported in refrigerated trucks to the Castagnole Lanze winery in Piedmont and 10,000 bottles of Sezzana 2001 were made.
With the success of this wine, it was agreed that La Spinetta had indeed met the challenge. At the time, however, nobody was aware that a friend of the Rivettis living in Tuscany, Gabriele, was continuing the search for additional Sangiovese vineyards. In 2002, Gabriele offered the Rivetti brothers the opportunity to purchase another Sangiovese Cru vineyard, Sassontino near Terricciola (Casanova).
This Cru also had beautiful old Sangiovese vines, undoubtedly excellent for producing another first-rate single vineyard wine. In addition to the vineyard, the owner was looking to sell 50 hectares of land. The price of the land seemed very reasonable, especially since the Rivettis were used to prices in Piedmont, and thus the family felt they could not turn down the offer and ended up with 4 hectares of old Sangiovese vines and 50 hectares of surrounding land yet to be planted.
With so many existing hectares of vines and potential vineyards, La Spinetta started building its third winery at Casanova in 2004. La Spinetta’s Tuscan Estate lies in the village of Terricciola, between Pisa and Volterra. Here the Rivettis make wines from three indigenous varieties: Sangiovese, Colorino, and Vermentino. The most prestigious wines are the single-vineyard Sezzana and Sassontino, crated from 100% Sangiovese grapes coming from more than 50 years old vines. As Sezzana and Sassontino are wines with incredible life span, the Rivettis release both as Riservas and only after 10 years.
Il Nero di Casanova and Chianti Riserva (both 100% Sangiovese) make up the majority of the production at Casanova, though il Colorino (100% Colorino), il Gentile di Casanova (100% Prugnolo Gentile), and Vermentino are also made here.
The latest addition to the Tuscan wine portfolio is an exciting dry Rosé wine, made from 50% Sangiovese and 50% Prugnolo Gentile. The Il Rosé di Casanova is not produced from green harvest fruit, as is sometimes the case with rosé wines, but instead comes from the same ripe fruit that is used for Il Nero and Il Gentile.
Last, but certainly not least, Casanova is the home of La Spinetta’s already famous gourmet olive oil. Bruno Rivetti found his passion at Terricciola and crafts the olive oil with the same high standards that La Spinetta applies to its production of wine. Extremely low yields, thanks to a relatively early harvest, and immediate cold pressing at an onsite facility allow Bruno to produce a very special olive oil.