Marchesi Pancrazi

The story of what may well be Tuscany’s oldest Pinot Noir vines began in 1975 at Villa di Bagnolo, a Renaissance estate, west of Florence. Its owner at the time, Marquis Vittorio Pancrazi, planted 3,300 Sangiovese vines on the property. Sangiovese was not particularly successful in the area so the grapes were blended into an everyday family wine. Until one day in 1989, when an enologist friend of the Marchese pointed out that the Sangiovese he planted was actually Pinot Noir! At this point, Vittorio Pancrazi decided to make a single-vineyard wine, putting his Bordeaux-educated friend, Niccolò D’Afflitto, in charge of the experiment. After over a year in Allier barrique and another in bottle, the experiment not only succeeded, it exceeded all expectations. As it turned out, the very location that had seemed uninspiring for what they thought was Sangiovese proved to be ideal for Pinot Noir. The vineyard enjoys southern exposure and is located 490 meters (1,607 feet) above sea level. The clay, schist and serpentine soil, particularly rich in iron, enhances Pinot Noir’s finesse and the conditions of the 14-acre vineyard (5.6 hectares) are ideal for this difficult and delicate grape. Water is abundant: even in the driest summers, because of Apennine slopes that drain into the foothills where the vineyard is located. Moreover, the estate makes use of a state-of-the-art, gravitational system of irrigation, with well water from the hillside above the property, Monte Ferrato. Cool, nighttime breezes prevent the grapes from ripening quickly, allowing them to gently and gradually mature. The range is completed by a single vineyard and a rosé version of the Pinot Noir from Villa di Bagnolo. Giuseppe Pancrazi has now taken the place of his uncle while Niccolò D’Afflitto continues to style the wines. Paolo Mocali is their agronomist.

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