A Tuscan Wine gem of the Chianti Classico district

A country lane crosses the woods to the sound of gravel under the car’s tyres lifting a cloud of dust in the air, with it lingers the dry spicy aroma of pine needles. Trees thin out, the view reveals vineyards, cypresses and a familiar silouette made of thick stone walls, a small tower, a wrought iron gate, on the wall hangs the coat of arms of the Machiavelli family, rosemary grows in abundance, visible are the leaves of a fig tree. Next to the entrance, a rosemary bush, resembling more of a tree because of its abundance and mantle, and the leaves of an old fig tree greet you. Above all sits proudly the black rooster.  Mission accomplished, we have arrived in Ispoli, a place with it’s medieval tower where history with its legacy with the past, represented by the Machiavelli ownership is connected to the contemporary Tuscany of here and now, this not only for the the wine lover but as a living testimony of Italian history, albeit in miniature.

In the Cellar of History

The first officially documented traces of Fattoria Ispoli take us to the year 1580. A document belonging to this year lies in the Central Historical Archive of the City of Florence. It states that Niccolo Machiavelli’s family, known to us all through history as the “The Prince”, was the owner of the property. The name “Ispoli” presumably traces its roots back to the name “Ippolita”, a grand daughter of the famous philosopher and historian. It is possible to travel even further back in time by descending the staircase of what is today our barrique cellar. This is built on the foundations of what was once a watch tower to the village of Mercatale, built in 1237 as a marketplace to the Montecampolesi castle.

In the maps of the „Capitani di parte Guelfa“ dating to 1580 the buildings of Ispoli are actually sketched out in a map and resemble very much the building as is visible today. It then belonged to Ippolita Machiavelli a grand daughter to the great historian and philosopher Niccolo´notable to have written among his many works „The Prince“. The Machiavelli family later passed on the property through their heirs to the Serristori family that owned Ispoli until 1977 when it was then sold to the Pisani-Landini family until finally bought by the Mattheis family in 1988. The farm was sharecropped until 1977. Electricity and running water were only implemented in 1972 and just goes to show how primitive life has been on the premises until rather relatively recent times. It is interesting to point out that Ispoli has been farmed exclusively with organic techniques long before the current certification was available and so it is fair to say that our environment is certainly free from any chemical contaminant.

Ispoli as an Organic winery

In 1988 the late Bernd Mattheis, a German wine merchant from Tübingen and his wife Heide bought ISPOLI accomplishing a life-long dream, transforming the existing small estate into a prestigious producer of fine Chianti Classico and other quality wines, pioneering, among the first in the area the use of Certified Organic techniques. This had been implemented with the collaboration of a full time Viticulturist and Oenologist Cristiano Castagno that continues to this day to persue this mission today with Bernd´s son and daughter, Marian and Mareike and their respective families.

Together we intend to keep in harmony with the original spirit of Bernd Mattheis´s goal: producing artisanally hand crafted wines of the highest possible quality with maximum enviromental awareness to be offered only to the discerning conoisseur albeit at an affordable price. We will not lose sight of this challenge, and carry the Ispoli tradition in our hearts, respectful and in terms with their late father.

From the Vineyards to the Glass

Fattoria Ispoli is located 15 KM (9 miles) to the south of Florence in the Chianti Classico district and includes around 20 hectares (ha) of land, 5.5 of which are vineyards, 2 olive groves, and the rest forest. The vineyards all lie around the main building and are separated from neighbouring vineyards by woodland that are therefore protected from external influences, a very important feature when you are Organic, as we are. The main varietal cultivated is Sangiovese but also Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo are grown in smaller quantities. All wines are aged in oak cooperage of varying capacity from 225 litre barrels to 3000 litre Slavonian vats according to grape varietal and structure from a minimum of 6 months up to a maximum of around 36 months, however only the best grapes find their way to the bottle in the spirit of a truly artisanal quality organic product. It is the hand of Mother Nature that leads us the way and we strive to keep standards high even if this might mean keeping yields lower in certain years.

The Fattoria Ispoli is a member of the Consorzio Chianti Classico and bio-certified by ICEA since 1988.