Piaggia is a recognized leader in Carmignano, one of the oldest designated appellations in the world, which is a fact that will surprise some of you. Carmignano is named for the eponymous city of Carmignano, a mere dozen kilometers west of Florence. Long ago ruled by the Medici, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici took special pride in the area’s wines, and in 1716 ruled that the wine-growing area, and the name Carmignano, should have special legal protected status, essentially creating one of the world’s first appellations. It was the Duke, too, who created a nursery for vines in the area and, in fact, the tradition of using a portion of French grapes goes back this far - originally Cabernet and other French varietals were brought to Carmignano as nursery stock. Long before Italy’s SuperTuscans popularized adding french varietals to Sangiovese, the local winegrowers in Carmignano were doing so. The tiny appellation currently covers about 110 hectares (270 acres), is relatively hilly but low lying (50-250 meters above sea level), with calcareous, well-drained soils. The DOCG requires a minimum of 50% Sangiovese, while the rest of the uvaggio may consist of up to 20% Canaiolo Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc 10-20% each, Mammolo and Colorino up to 5%, and even up to 10% autoctonous white varietals like Trebbiano or Malvasia.
Piaggia's founder is the impressive Mauro Vannucci; his equally impressive daughter Silvia now shares in the winery's work,promotion, and ownership. Mauro purchased the land in the mid-70s, the idea being to have an idyllic location for the family home (now above the winery). Wine was made, but only for friends and customers of the family's textile business. But by the early 90s Mauro had decided to make wine for serious. The original estate was augmented from 3 hectares to a total of about 25 - 15 of which is now under vine. From prime position in the Piaggia vineyard, there is a stunning panorama of the city of Florence - something that can be best appreciated by a personal visit. Consulting winemaker is Alberto Antonini.