11/11/2021 Spirited

Nittardi is a boutique winery situated in the heart of the Chianti Classico region, with vineyards in Chianti Classico and the Maremma. The Nittardi Estate, on the boundary between the provinces of Siena and Florence, was originally a defensive tower known as early as 1183 by the name of “Nectar Dei” (The Nectar of the God).

“I’d prefer two casks of wine rather than eight shirts.”

In the 16th century, the vast property belonged to the Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti who, in 1549, while finishing the Sistine Chapel, wrote to his nephew Lionardo: “I’d prefer two casks of wine rather than eight shirts.” On that same occasion, Michelangelo also sent Nittardi wine to Rome as a “genuine gift to the Pope Paolo III”. Today, in honour of that tradition, every year the first bottles of Nectar Dei, the top wine from the Maremma vineyards, are presented to the Pope.

Over the centuries the property changed hands often until, in 1981, it was taken over by the Frankfurt publisher and art gallerist Peter Femfert and his wife Stefania Canali, a historian from Venice. Stefania and Peter restored Nittardi step-by-step and with love and care. The vineyards were replanted and, in 1992, the ancient vat room was replaced by a modern cellar. A competent team of wine enthusiasts was put together, consisting of Carlo Ferrini, the consultant enologist and Giorgio Conte, the commercial director. The son of Stefania and Peter, Léon Femfert, has been managing the winery since 2013 overseeing the winemaking and the business side.

A splendid piece of land was purchased in Maremma, close to the coast in southern Tuscany, in 1999. Since then, 20 hectares have been planted there with local and international grape varietals. This is where Ad Astra and Nectar Dei, the Super Tuscans of Nittardi, are produced. In 2012, the Maremma also became the birthplace of Nittardi’s first white wine: BEN, a 100% Vermentino.

As homage to Michelangelo, the unique combination of art and wine is still cultivated today at Nittardi. Every year a well-known artist paints the label as well as the wrapping paper used for the Casanuova di Nittardi Vigna Doghessa wine bottles. The collection, started in 1981, includes works by internationally renowned artists such as Hundertwasser, Corneille, A.R. Penck, Igor Mitoraj, Yoko Ono, Günter Grass, Dario Fo, Karl Otto Götz, Mikis Theodorakis and Fabrizio Plessi.

A year does not go by in which the wines of Nittardi do not win an important award or rating, including the Three Glasses from Gambero Rosso, 5 Stars from Decanter, and very high ratings from Jancis Robinson, Wine Spectator, The Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate and James Suckling.

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