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The estate

50 years of history...

About wine and more

“Grass-covered footpaths led me one day to Cennatoio, along with other caravan routes, that is to say those mysterious and perilous Chianti trails one may choose as if picking a tarot card, face down. Still today I would like to call spring or summer those paths facing a horizon where daylight used to smile as if wrapped in a sumptuous shawl made of violets. Thence I always recall a poem verse that for too short a time truly replaced a compass or a map. “You have, in you, the leaves and flowers. All that shines and is sweet to see”.

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This is how Guido Cavalcanti used to imagine his lady, lying down in a bed of flowers, perhaps in the twilight of a long past spring or summer, right at Cennatoio which, it seems, was the house of his dreams or maybe the home of his ineffable melancholy.

A little further down, one could hear, on bright autumn days, the Greve waters hitting the stones of the Stinche Alte, i.e. the enormous prison of the Republic of Florence during the Medici rule.

From the Stinche Alte mansion, shrouded by the thick foliage of the nearby forest, prisoners could catch sight of the waving gestures (cenni) from relatives and friends who, standing in the piazza outside the Villa, hoped their gestures could be seen: hence the name “Cennatoio”.

Those gestures hung in the air before suddenly dissipating, perhaps to be forgotten and yet remembered. 

It follows that it is right at Cennatoio that such aura of legend can still be found, jealously guarded like a secret about someone’s highest ventures in a way that is possible only via the infinite expressions of the Chianti region.

Tradition

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1970

Cennatoio is founded

The farm is acquired by Leandro’s father, Alessio Alessi. Gabriella and Leandro immediately fall in love with the place and begin to closely follow its development step by step.

1971

Chianti Classico Cennatoio

Cennatoio’s first vintage Chianti Classico is produced

1972

Expecting

Emiliano is born

1975

Occhio di Pernice

Production of Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice from red grapes aged in traditional small barrels (locally known as ‘caratelli’) begins. About 20 years later it will be awarded DOC status.

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1977

Distribution

A limited liability company for the distribution of Cennatoio wines is established.

1985

The estate

Gabriella and Leandro Alessi take ownership of the property.

1988

Renovation

Farming and winemaking changes are implemented.

1990

Etrusco and Rosso Fiorentino

We start producing our first Super Tuscan wines, Etrusco and Rosso Fiorentino. White grapes are no longer blended into Chianti Classico.

1991

Shift to organics

We decide to go organic without joining an official organic certification programme.

1993

Mammolo

Mammolo is first crafted

1994

Arcibaldo

Arcibaldo is first crafted

2001

Il Sogno dell'Uva

Our latest challenge ‘il Sogno dell'Uva’ becomes reality

2008

Organic certification

We decide to become organic certified.

2012

Official organic certification

We officially become organic certified.

2015

Lauchum

LAUCHUM is born out of a partnership with French négociant Maison de Negoce de Vins and a team of French winemakers.

The house with a smile

CENNATOIO is a family operated winery and vineyard, run by Leandro and Gabriella Alessi since 1970. Their son Emiliano joined in a few years ago.
The place has remained ‘sweet to see’ (cit. Guido Cavalcanti – Italian XIII century poet from Florence) throughout the years. The typical views of the Chianti Classico one can enjoy from CENNATOIO are breathtaking: rolling hills covered in vineyards and olive groves, dotted with churches and castles or even home to large oak forests. The unique hard-to-till, rocky, schistous clay soil, together with the site southern exposure create the perfect growing conditions for Sangiovese Grosso, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape varieties, where the latter is the key grape in the production of fleshy, smooth wines reminiscent of wild berries.

CENNATOIO fine vineyards sit on the Florence-Siena border and stretch over 10 hectares of farmland alternated with patches of olive groves. All our vines enjoy a southern/south-eastern exposure.
Another story goes that CENNATOIO is named after the Italian word ‘CENNO’ (‘gesture’) that in turn takes its name from CENNATOIO proximity to the place where the historic Stinche Alte prison and outpost of the Republic of Florence during the Medici rule used to sit, hence from the ‘gestures’ that were sent from the courtyard of the manor to the Medici soldiers.

Organic tradition

Our hands-on experience and love for nature, patiently built up over time, in 1991 led us to shift completely to natural fertilizers while avoiding the use of herbicides that would damage the crop and pose a threat to the habitat of the bees that live in the many hives sitting along the edges of the estate-owned woods and give us their premium honey.

CENNATOIO is an Organic Certified farm whose winemaking mastery – delivered by enologist LUCIANO BANDINI assisted by his reliable cellar master Ildegarda Agnelli – represents the winery’s cornerstone. Our cellars host stainless steel and concrete tanks housing more than 300 hl of wine, French barrique and tonneaux casks for another 300 hl along with concrete fermentation vats and the equally important Vin Santo room. All these provide the finishing touch to the crafting and ageing of our wines.

Essentially, the natural inherent character of the site is enhanced by a vinification system capable of retaining the area’s ancient winemaking tradition while keeping in step with the times and embracing state-of-the-art winemaking techniques. 

One can say that this land, home to ancient and refined traditions like the art of winemaking that from the dawn of history has imparted vigour to human labour, overlooks from a specific and memory-laden place the burning immensity of the Chianti region that perhaps Homer himself could call ‘The Colour of Wine’.

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