The magnificent 15th century Vignamaggio estate lies within the superior Chianti Classico zone, between the Italian towns of Florence and Siena. Surrounded by an elegant Italian garden and the picturesque rolling hills of Tuscany, it offers an authentic testimony of country life during the Renaisance period. The main part of the villa dates back to the 14th century, and as it stands today, it is a splendid Renaissance villa rebuilt during the 15th and 16th century by the Gherardi family that shows a clear influence of Brunelleschi in its architecture. Well-planned renovations throughout the 20th century have restored the villa to its ancient splendour.
The estate was bought in 1925 by Contessa Elena Samminiatelli, whose family restored the Italian gardens and the villa. In 1988, the new owner Mr. Gianni Nunziante undertook an extensive renovation of the buildings, gardens, vineyards and wine cellars. The historic wine cellars, located below the villa, were equipped with state-of-the-art temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. Nunziante also invested in the replanting of the vineyards, which lead to the discovery of a few old vines of Cabernet Franc (40 years old) among the many rows of Sangiovese. These precious vines were preserved and are now used for making a varietal Cabernet Franc that is one of the winery’s flagship wines. In 2010, a new winemaking cellar was built directly opposite the villa and capacity expanded. Through the acquisition of small parcels, Nunziante also expanded into the Gaiole area of Chianti Classico where Sangiovese and Syrah are grown. Since 2014, the new owner is French architect Patrice Taravella.
Vines have been cultivated in these hills for nearly 3000 years and Italy’s greatest concentration of ambitious winemakers gather here. Famed for their red wines, it is said that the term ‘Chianti’ was first coined in 1404, in reference to Vignamaggio’s wine. It’s also rumoured that Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s muse, was born here in 1479. Today, Vignamaggio’s finest Chianti is named in her honour.
Today the estate makes wines that reflect both the traditions and potential of the Chianti terroir. They use traditional local grapes Sangiovese and Canaiolo for some wines, but others include proportions of international grapes: Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Vignamaggio also makes tiny amounts of the delectable dessert wine ‘vin santo’. The estate has been host to several illustrious personalities over the years, including its being chosen as the stunning set for Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Shakespeare’s play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.