The Grati family are winegrowers for 5 generations, in the high hills of Chianti Rufina, just to the east of the fabled renaissance city of Firenza. Villa di Vetrice is the family’s 15th century Tuscan villa and is the ancient soul of the property. Our primary contact is the smart and good-natured Gualberto Grati, whose persona is steeped in the very special terroir of the Rufina, the local vitigni, or grape varietals, and local tradition. My first visit with Gualberto was deeply impressive. His passion for the terroir of the Rufina is obvious, as is his knowledge and teaching, which includes scientific pamphlets on the local conditions and grapes. I listened to him talk about how this special valley, composed of clay and galestro (calcareous marl), orients north and south, allowing the wind from the alps to blow a cooling nighttime breeze to keep acids high and aromatics fresh. The wines from the Rufina are known to be particularly long-lived exemplars of Sangiovese, as is proven by some special Vecchie Annate offerings…old vintages, the first two of which (1990 and 1991) could not then have been classified Chianti, being 100% Sangiovese (laws changed in 1995, allowing wines of 100% Sangiovese to be considered Chianti). They are called Grato Grati, and are indicated Vino da Tavola (pre-90’s) or IGT Toscana. The name Grato Grati was the name of Gualberto’s grandfather. In addition, the wines are kept in botti (large barrels) until 3-6 months before their release, which is for far too many years to retain the Rufina DOCG designation. Which - side benefit - helps avoid many problems associated with corks.
Going back as far as 1716, the Medici were already writing about the longevity, the structure, and the nobility of the wines of the high hills of Rufina.
Landowners for generations, Grati now own over 500 hectares including 140 hectares of vineyards, on the western side of the valley. The family grows primarily Sangiovese, along with Canaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia, Trebbiano. This is a relatively small appellation of only about 800 hectares in total, making Grati very significant holders.