Podere Campriano runs a minuscule family farm on a hill above Greve in Chianti and perfectly embodies the values we seek out in our winemaking partners. With a deep respect for tradition, an emphasis on sustainability, and an enduring quest for an honest expression of place, the Lapini family shows a level of dedication to their craft that results in some of the most special Sangiovese we have tasted. The “80” bottling, named for the year in which the Lapinis replanted the vineyard, is a declassified Chianti Classico Riserva. In great contrast to the many oaky, alcoholic Super Tuscans, Campriano proposes a ‘Super Tuscan’ based solely on terroir—the family’s finest vineyard site, planted to 100% Sangiovese, and declassified to set it apart from their other wines. Overlooking the town of Greve below and the Chianti hills in the distance, this half-acre plot sits at altitude on galestro schist and limestone. There is a purity, wildness, and vivid fruit rarely found in Sangiovese. Its sinewy tannins give something to chew on, while an invigorating iron-like minerality lifts the whole to another level. Concentrated and intense yet elegant and refined, the “80” is made for the dinner table and built to last. You’ll want to get acquainted with Podere Campriano to taste a ‘Super Tuscan’ that makes a loud statement about where it comes from.
Almost all of the growers with whom we work manage “small family farms.” Then there is Podere Campriano in Greve, who prove the statement more literally than just about anyone. This Tuscan family lives in a humble farmhouse atop a small hillside of 2 hectares of Sangiovese vines. This is their organically pampered backyard from which they craft a delicious Chianti Classicos in the stone cellars beneath their home. The Campriano red wines are traditionally made and reflective of the unique terroir of the Alta Greve—dark, galestro schist infused wines with bold fruit and serious depth. The extreme care and focus of the Lapini family and their dedication to organic agriculture impart a unique character and spirit upon their wines.
Perhaps no region is tied to Italy’s reputation as a producer of fine wine as much as Tuscany. Since Etruscan times, viticulture has played a prominent role in this idyllic land of rolling hills, and the Tuscan winemaking tradition remains as strong as ever today. With a favorable Mediterranean climate, an undulating topography offering countless altitudes and expositions, and a wealth of poor, well-draining soils, conditions are ideal for crafting high-quality wines. Add to that the rich gastronomical tradition—Tuscany is home to some of the country’s finest game, pastas, salumi, and cheeses—and you have the blueprint for a world-class wine region.
This is Sangiovese territory; in fact, it is arguably the only place in the world where Sangiovese reaches a truly regal expression. In spite of a rocky history with fluctuations in quality, traditionally produced Chianti has reclaimed its status as one of the country’s most reliable, food-friendly reds, while the rapid rise of Brunello di Montalcino shows the grape’s potential for grandiose, opulent reds allying power and finesse. Traditionally-minded growers have stuck to using only indigenous grape varieties and employing techniques like aging in massive wooden casks known as botti, creating wines of terroir that shine at the Tuscan table.
Tuscan wines have had a place in our portfolio since Kermit’s first visit in 1977. While the names of the estates have changed, the spirit of those first unfiltered Chiantis he imported live on through our current selections.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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