BY GIOVANNI SALVIETTI
The village of Grignanello is a rather unique place: a small island in the middle of a sea of rolling hills that appears as an independent, complete ecosystem. The Azienda Agricola Il Sole di Grignanello is based in the village and is the realization of the dream of three passionate young farmers: Melissa, Michele and Alessandro.
According to in-depth historical research, through maps and account books of the sixteenth century, the farm belonged to the Galilei family; in particular the village in the maps of the time bears the inscription ‘Franciesco Galilei’s place’.
In 2011 Grignanello was purchased by the current owner, who with great care dedicated himself to the recovery and enhancement of the buildings, using natural materials and respecting the classic authentic style of the Tuscan farmhouse. The water system that connects tanks and drinking troughs is quite curious and is an architectural and stylistic masterpiece. Here the elements of water and earth are welded in an indissoluble embrace; and here dwells a small community where the values of sharing and psychophysical well-being take pride of place.
In Grignanello today wines without added sulphites are produced following rigorous biological and biodynamic canons. The vineyards, more than 50 years old, extend for about five and a half hectares and are composed of the historic Chianti varieties: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, black Malvasia, Colorino, Trebbiano, and long white Malvasia. In the cellar, an evocative and magical environment, vinification is carried out in beautiful terracotta amphorae from Impruneta, from which red, macerated white and rosé wines are obtained, with an experimental production of passito.
The Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes from the thousand olive trees that rise on the crest of the hill. The varieties present are all local: Leccino, Moraiolo, Frantoio, Pendolino and Correggiolo. In addition to the blend of the various types of olives, two types of mono-varietal oil are also produced from Frantoio and Moraiolo olives.
It’s not only oil and wine but also ancient grains and other cereals that are grown here on a total of about 20 hectares of land cultivated with ancient soft wheat, spellt, rye and oats. By ancient cereals we mean the varieties used in the early decades of the twentieth century and cultivated until the 1970s, when they were supplanted by the so-called modern grains, selected for their gluten content and reduced height. The ancient grains are instead characterized by considerable height and for this reason are able to fight the competition of weeds.
They therefore can be grown more easily without resort to chemical fertilizers and herbicides compared to modern grains, selected instead to obtain high yields but requiring much more assistance. The high fibre content and easier digestibility of the gluten offer at the same time flavour and excellent nutritional properties in the flours produced. The cereals are ground in the small stone mill of the Azienda, for the production of semolina and semi-wholemeal flours of type 1. In addition to flours, Il Sole di Grignanello produces pasta and puffed spellt, collaborating in the processing with strictly local companies. The prospect for the future is the creation of a unit for flour production with the construction of a new wood-burning oven to increase the production of sourdough bread, currently baked once a week in the ancient peasant oven of the village.
Almost 1000 square meters are occupied by the vegetable garden with different types of cultivation: permanent beds and synergistic enclosures, in which the cultivation of vegetables is practised respecting the soil as a living organism in itself. Thanks to the great diversity of production the village can be considered practically self-sufficient from a food point of view.
Walking through the olive grove just above the inhabited centre you can hear the trampling of the hooves of Luce, Gioia and Artù running free in the meadows: the horses of A.S.D. Piuma Sacra followed by the shy donkey Camilla who comes out from behind an olive tree and approaches to ask for a little pampering. Michele, thanks to the support of FarmaConsult, the main sponsor of the project, has realized the dream of allowing horses to live as in the time of the Native Americans, with great veneration and respect for their natural needs and attitudes.
These four wonders can enjoy absolute freedom in terms of space and movement in wide and pristine pastures. The association organizes meetings to spread this method of approaching the species which requires respect, empathy and sensitivity and in which body language is fundamental. The proposed trek routes offer the opportunity to deepen our interiority, through contact with the horse in a natural environment. Throughout the year in the village there are workshops with horses, yoga, dance, and a thousand other activities in nature, open to both adults and children.
Info: Il Sole di Grignanello, Loc. La Piazza 90, Castellina in Chianti (Si)/ 329 1328474 (Melissa)/ 328 3912265 (Alessandro)/ 388 3651888 (Michele)/ email@example.com