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Interview of Ms. Elena Caini – Sales & Marketing Assistant – Castello di Meleto for AsiaImportNews – Exclusive
Could you please tell us the story of your winery, when it was created and how it developed decades after decades ?
Castello di Meleto is situated in Gaiole in Chianti, immersed in the splendid Tuscan countryside 60 km south of Florence. Dating back to the 11th century, the castle once belonged to the Benedictine monks of Badia a Coltibuono.
Notwithstanding its changing identity over the centuries, from military post to noble country home, the Castle of Meleto has largely remained true to the original structure; it is a rare example of an historical building untouched by heavy remodeling. In fact, its original, trapezoidal form is still visible today, as is the bridge house at the center of the tower, making it an exemplary archetype of a Medieval fortress.
In 1968, the Tuscan Viticulture society purchased the castle and about 1400 hectares of its surrounding land. The property had begun to show signs of dereliction in the early 1960s therefore the Viticultural society labored to develop its agricultural potential. They managed to revive the forests, plant olive groves and cultivate 160 hectares of vines, principally for the production of Chianti Classico DOCG. Through the land’s agrarian regrowth and the restoration of the farmhouse of Pieve, the adjacent convent of Santa Maria in Spaltenna and the Castle, the historical and architectural importance of the area was righteously restored.
What sort of wines are you producing ?
Our principal variety of grape is Sangiovese, grown for the production of Chianti Classico DOCG. Alongside the Sangiovese grape, other varieties were planted in the 1980s, including some of the most important international grapes (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon). In the last century, several projects were initiated and aimed at restoring and protecting the native ampelographic heritage for grapes such as Trebbiano, Colorino, Vermentino and Malvasia Nera. Castello di Meleto resumed the cultivation of native grapes for use in blends of Chianti Classico in order to amplify the purity of the wine. Such is the case for Malvasia Nera, a historical Tuscan variety that the winery planted in 1996 and vinified in purity for the first time in 2014.
How important are your export distribution compared to national distribution ?
Currently our export distribution is 93% while national distribution is 7%.
What sort of distributors are your customers ?
Very diverse : generally speaking they are focused on Horeca channel and on line distribution.
Why your wines are different from other wineries in your area ?
They are strongly connected with our land, our property is characterized by different soil compositions which permit us to get wines with its own peculiarities.
Do you produce grapes in a organic or environmental friendly method, or with general methods ?
We produce grapes in environmental friendly method, our wines are produced from integrated agriculture certified by Suolo e Salute Srl.
Are your wines already distributed in Asia, and if not what are the countries you are looking for new distributors ?
We are distributed in Japan, China, Singapore and Malaysia. We are searching for new distributors in Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Thailanda, Taiwan, Vietnam etc etc.
Is there anything who want to add about your wines, story or any news ?
In collaboration with Florence university we are launching a project of clonal selection with the identification of some Sangiovese vines existing only in our winery.
In the next few years we will be able to produce 4 single vineyard Chianti Classico Reserves coming from 4 different areas within our property.
One of our wines called « Borgaio Rosso » has been reviewed on Forbes as one of the 10 Best European Red Wines Under $ 20 To Drink Today.
Thank you Ms. Elena Caini – Sales & Marketing Assistant – Castello di Meleto for your time and answers!
Castello di Meleto: www.castellomeleto.it
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