This place is paradise. But that’s not why we’re in Montalcino today. We are here to meet Antonio Mario Zaccheo – the heart and soul of a Montalicino wine estate, along with his partner Giancarlo Sacchet.
We want to know everything about Carpineto from Antonio, but first…we are peeking into the grape harvest. Our focus in particular is the Montalcino wine harvest and it’s no wonder since this is where great wines such as Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino come from.
Considering his experience and how large his wine estate is, and how he exports wine all over the world, we sort of expected a man who would be a bit more stand-offish. We expected our interview to be more about numbers than wine statistics – but actually Mr. Zaccheo was quite the sociable person and his memories and his story surpass his need to talk numbers. And this makes him quite unique.
Our talk with Mr. Zaccheo begins. As soon as we enter into the vineyards, he starts talking about the past. He talks about when they founded the Carpineto Winery. He talks about his father and his smile lights up and his eyes become melancholic. He remembers when the grape harvest used to be done with makeshift equipment, when mules pulled carts and when rhythms were based on laughter, son and dance. There was a different spirit of the times then, and he observes, “Farmers once worked guided by joy, and that spirit is now a bit lost”.
Times have changed and the evolution of technology has definitely played an important role in the world of wine. The grape harvest is a perfect example – it has benefited from technology tenfold, and it shows in the quality. Antonio Mario Zaccheo explains that he has witnessed this evolution first hand. Today Carpineto Estates harvest high volumes of grapes using innovative technology.
Montalcino instead are not as adaptable to this change considering the geographical makeup of the area. The steep and rocky terrain leaves estate owners to opt for hand picking rather than machines.
We continue our walk. We are walking on Eocene sedimentary soil, which span the 10 hectares of the vineyards around us. This soil is composed of marl and clay and is the soil, which produces Sangiovese Grosso.
“When we speak of Montalcino grapes, we speak of Sangiovese Grosso.” Says Mr. Zaccheo, who then sows us a bunch that he explains, “And Sangiovese Grosso is the grape which creates this blue you see in my hands now”. He explains the characteristic a grape like this has. A bunch of grapes like the one he held, one that is perfectly ripe, clean and without any diseases or parasites, is the foundation of a good wine – a quality wine.
We walk a lot with Mr. Zaccheo. It’s almost lunchtime and our appetites are becoming apparent. Mr. Zaccheo doesn’t have to ask us twice whether we’d like to have lunch with him. Beneath the Carpineto Estate’s portico, we are met with some of the most delicious Made in Italy products imaginable – Tuscan Pecorino cheese, Finocchiona salami and so much more.
Needless to say, there was an abundance of wine to accompany our lunch. We begin with a Rosso di Montepulciano and continue onto a Brunello. The wine and food pairings are ideal and you get a feeling that they know what local products are perfect with their wine.
Drinking a quality Brunello, with soil still on our shoes from the fields, this wine was grown and the views of Montalcino in the background – now this is Italian life at its finest.
We continue to chat with Mr. Zaccheo as we finis hour wine and now at the end of our visit maybe it is time for some statistics. He tells us with complete confidence “this year is definitely a vintage 5 star year for wine”. Work and passion have been repaid kindly by time.
We say our goodbyes with one last glass. CHEERS!
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