Villa di GeggianoPortrait of a winemaker

Anna Caidan meets up with Andrea Boscu Bianchi Bandinelli, of Villa di Geggiano
Wine Story

What can you tell me about the history of Villa di Geggiano?

‘Villa di Geggiano is a family estate since 1527. It came as a dowry to our family and we have always been making wine in the region since the Etruscan times and have been exporting our wines under the name Chianti since 1725, so we have a long-term relationship with London and England with our wines.’

Can you tell me about your favourite step in the wine making process?

‘I would say, probably the harvest, especially if it’s a good season. Its really a pleasure to collect the best possible grapes on the plants. We are organic producers, so we are very cautious, and we take a lot of care in the up-keeping and the maintenance of the vineyard with different techniques, so really seeing a nice vineyard, full of ripening grapes, that’s really a pleasure’.

What is the secret to the art of making Villa di Geggiano wines?

‘There aren’t many secrets, I lot of hard work and passion. I would say the main thing to make a good wine is to have the best possible grapes. Then in the cellar, you can just mess it up! Especially for wineries like we are, working in a natural way as much as possible. We do the harvesting by hand, we do all the upkeeping of the vineyard by hand, and all the vinification as well, so as I said, it’s a lot of work, but mainly in the vineyard. Then some attention in the cellar for some of the various phases in which we are using the most state of the art technology, for the analysis and the control of the vinification, but for the rest it is very, very natural’.

Do you have a best memory at Villa di Geggiano?

‘There are a few, but you know its nice when your wines are appreciated and recognised. I have been chased for a long time by the biggest Enoteca in Rome, because there was a best customer who had a chance to taste our wines in Sienna, and he wanted to throw a big event in Rome, the customer was Mr Bulgari, of the luxury jewellery family, and he absolutely had to have our Riserva 2008, and so that recognition from such a V.I.P, with a French wife, so he is familiar with French wines, and he said there is no Bordeaux in comparison to our Riserva 2008’.

What is the story behind the label?

‘We are a long term established winery, so we have a lot of history and tradition, and so while now my son Gregorio, who is 25 years old, is coming to work in the winery with us, I know for sure he will bring some new ideas and different points of view from a new generation. For now, we are pretty traditional in our look, which is also reflecting our winery which is based on an 18th century summer holiday villa, with all the original rooms, so we have a lot of culture behind our walls, so we are reflecting all the traditional design, historically. The label that we have on our Chianti Classico now was designed by my grandfather, with the family crest, and it is a very simple white label with the name of the estate’.

When would you say is the best moment to taste your wines?

‘I would say they are for all wines that have a good aging life, and I love them, especially with the Riserva Chianti Classico, can easily be saved for 30-40 years. As all the wines are based on Sangiovese, they are mainly food wines. I would say its not a summer wine, but it is for this reason that we are now making a rosé wine based on 100% Sangiovese’.

What food pairs best with your wines?

‘I would say in terms of pairings, with a nice meal based on red grilled meats, venison or game for the Chianti Classico is the best. We do a range of wines that go from the younger, which doesn’t do any barrel aging, and this is good with any kind of aperitive, pasta, pizza or white meats. Then when we move on the Chianti Classico, which are wines more structured and the Riserva, of course needs some more powerful food. The Chianti Classico is the perfect pairing with grilled meats, moderately aged cheese, Ragu or sauces; and the Riserva is excellent with a nice chunk of wild boar, made in the Tuscan way’.

How would you describe the Italian way of life?

Ha! That’s a tricky question, because of course there are different ways of living in Italy. In some way in what we want to express with our wines and with the restaurant we have in London, is the Italian way of living in terms of hospitality, quality of life, good healthy food, we are organic so we are very careful about that. So it’s a mix of tradition, hospitality, culture, richness of life, enjoyment of good wines and good food all in the beautiful nature of Tuscany.

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