After an early start to the day that began in Rome, catching a train from the central station to Florence, and then grabbing a rental car to drive back down to Castellina in Chianti, we were greeted by Riccardo Francesconi (Export manager) for Cecchi. First Riccardo took us to a rustic, traditional cafe & trattoria just outside Monteriggioni - where I enjoyed possibly the best sandwich in my life. Chosen from an open prep-area in the corner of the cafe, you can select from local produce, I chose an un-salted loaf to go with naturally salty cured Tuscan ham and ripe tomatoes all finished with a local olive oil - I was now set for the rest of the day.
We then made our way to the redesigned and rebuilt winery / cellars and new management centre at the Castellina in Chianti premises completed last year in 2006. Cecchi is the brand-name of a well respected major wine company, with a lengthy history, but more than anything else it is the name of a family.
From 1893 to the present day the Cecchi family has played a key role in the evolution of the world of wine both as a product and as a philosophy, and it has lived, understood and digested all the changes that have taken place in over a century. At the helm of the business today are Cesare and Andrea Cecchi, who draw on the teachings of their predecessors, and are taking the work forward with a passion and professionalism aimed at achieving excellence.
Cecchi understands that the interaction between the earth and technology yields its greatest results. As with all great wine - Cecchi wines are the fruit of the land. Care for the vines is intense and constant, because it’s the grapes that arrive in the cellars that will guarantee an excellent starting point for the quality being pursued.
Riccardo showed us around the very well equipped winery - with the most advanced systems in order to optimise every single part of the production process. This attention to detail is what led them to become one of the first companies to achieve ISO 9001:2000 certification in 1997, and many other firsts in production and waste management - all certifications that guarantee quality for all markets.
The next day Riccardo took us on a road-trip down to Maremma - to visit and sample the wines from their new development that started in 1996. The property is home to approx 25 ha, a great deal of replanting has changed the face of this land, with a focus on Sangiovese. Cecchi has some grand ideas and plans for this site, a very large project for a new winery, has already begun and now we must wait to see, I look forward to returning.
Cecchi has about 250 hectares of vineyards, spread over four different areas of central Italy: Chianti Classico, San Gimignano, Maremma Toscana and Umbria. The whole team is constantly committed to understanding a changing world and presenting wines of excellence for worldwide markets expecting and conscious of quality, but with all this said they have not forgotten their past, the respect of indigenous grapes and crafting honest wine that express their terroir, and match local & modern cuisine like no other wine can. A traditional and memorable Tuscan experience.