The beautiful park of the Fattoria Le Sorgenti looks dreamy with its aged giant trees, the flowers and cacti in clay pots and the wrought-iron gate, which is decorated by a squirrel, the mascot of the farm. Early in the morning, you actually spot one or two of the cute little animals that have taken over the park. Of course, the squirrel also adorns every single bottle of the house.
We are not greeted by squirrels, but by three obtrusively friendly dogs, whose size and good nature seem to be in competition with each other, so exuberantly do they wag around us. A little later a blasé grey Persian cat follows at a measured pace.
The heart of Fattoria Le Sorgenti is an ancient Renaissance villa, furnished with love and personal touches. Rustic wooden furniture, cosy armchairs and sofas, family photos, colourful bric-a-brac, ceramic vessels, fabrics in cheerful shades of yellow and red and terracotta tiles combine to create an ambience in which you immediately feel at home. The familiar impression is not deceptive. The Fattoria Le Sorgenti - that is the Ferrari family: the almost shy, lovable Gabriele Ferrari, who founded the business in 1974 together with his lively, warm-hearted wife Elisabetta, and their 30-year-old son Filippo, who graduated from the university for viticulture and enology and recently took over the management of the azienda. Cristian Giorni, a young employee, also seems to be almost part of the family. He is sommelier, supports Filippo in production, takes care of PR and the Agrotourismo guests.
"We are not the owners of this earth, only its keepers. And it is our duty to keep it fertile!"
Philisophy, Le Sorgenti
Filippo and Cristian first show us the modern cellar, kept in simple beauty, and tell us about their experiments with different types of wood and vinification, before they stroll with us through the vineyards, which rise up the slope directly behind the villa on leafy terraces and from which one can enjoy a magnificent view of the Arno valley. Only a few kilometers separate us from Florence - and yet here one has the impression of living in a different, more peaceful world.
The farm covers a total of 58 hectares of land; a lot of forest, but also 18 hectares of vines and twelve hectares of olive trees, which produce an excellent oil, the great pride of Gabriele Ferrari, the owner of the house. "My first love was olive oil ...", he confesses to us later at the table with a smile. Eight different vineyards, situated at an altitude of 100 to 450 meters above sea level, blessed with different soils and exposures, offer perfect conditions for various local and international varieties. There is almost always a fresh breeze blowing from the Arno - ideal for aerating the grapes. "We are in the process of converting the whole estate to biodynamic viticulture," explains the thoughtful Filippo, who uses only organic fertilizers and employs homeopathic remedies to protect the plants and control pests. "I am deeply convinced of this path," he says simply. Cristian doubles down: "We are not the owners of this earth, only its custodians. And it is our duty to keep it fertile!"
Filippo smiles: "That's why the squirrel is our role model: it cherishes and protects nature, just like we do ..." Wine, after all, is not only business, Cristian interjects vividly, but also culture, history, civilization. Filippo nods: "We can only produce something that we like ourselves and that we can stand behind".
What he means is made clear by his wines. We all meet at the table, the table almost bends under all the delicacies Elisabetta serves up. As so often, the basic wine, in this case the "simple" 2006 Chianti Colli Fiorentini called Respiro, shows the personality of an Azienda in an unadulterated way. Made from Sangiovese with a very small addition of Trebbiano, this Chianti immediately charms with its deep, spicy fruit and beautiful, elegant body supported by a racy minerality. "The freshness, the fruit are important to us in Chianti," explains Filippo, "we want to preserve the varietal character of Sangiovese and not mask it with wood notes." We have rarely tasted a Chianti where price and quality are in such a pleasing relationship.
The spicy-mineral Gaiaccia 2007, also dominated by Sangiovese but rounded off with Merlot and Alicante, partly aged in large wooden barrels, partly in barriques, presents itself very full-bodied, round, elegant and with a fine tannin structure. Finally, the prestigious wine of the house, the Scirus 2007 (that is the Latin name for - correctly guessed! - squirrel), a noble blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, completed by Malbec and Petit Verdot, is simply wonderful: complex, nuanced nose with notes of ripe berries and sweet spices, on the palate youthful, powerful and of great race and class. As Gabriele Ferrari said? Wine is a creation of man - made for man. And every wine reflects not only the terroir on which it has grown, but also the people who have nurtured it. It's nice that the charismatic wines of Le Sorgenti exist - mirror of a passionate, sympathetic vintner family.
Text: Eva Zwahlen | Image: Le Sorgenti | Source: Vergani Magazine 2