It is clearly evident that Gaetano Bove, the proprietor of this stunning winery, enjoys the many visitors who come to have lunch and purchase some of his wine, or maybe even stay the night in one of the couple of rooms he keeps as a sort of mountain inn. Many are Americans, many are famous. The beautiful Amalfi coast - Italy's southern jewel on the Tyrrhenian part of the Mediterranean Sea, with a warm climate freshened by gentle sea breezes, stunning, precipitous coastline, and the charming local hospitality - the Amalfi Coast is a Siren Song for holiday-makers.
They come to see the Amalfi coast, but sooner or later, they hear about a small winery making wines as fresh and mineral as the sea, and they make their way up the mountain to see Gaetano and his lovely family. They are treated with great hospitality and, if they stay for lunch, to simple, hearty, local food, served by Geatano's wife and daughter and one or two women who help them out, at a long, common table often occupied by two or three other parties. And they buy wine.
Geatano loves to bring his guests on a short walk down the long driveway, at the bottom of which is one of his several small vineyards of very, very, very old vines. Very old, in this case, means 400 years and more. It is quite simply something that must be seen to be believed. The vineyard below the cellar, the one most visited because of its proximity to the house, is planted to a local grape called Tintore, and from it comes a wine special and rare: È Ìss is the name of it, and it quite literally means, in dialect, "this is it." The price tag is ambitious, and rightly so: a few hundred bottles are produced from these centuries-old, pre-phylloxera, own-rooted vines, and every single bottle is purchased and brought home by Geatano's guests. One lucky day, we'll be able to import a few cases of this special wine. We hope.
Tenuta San Francesco is located near the village of Tramonti, and consists of about 10 hectares in several different parcels. Soils are, as you would expect, primarily volcanic and very rich in organic material. The volcanic pumice stones are important in the vineyard for absorbing water during the winter to provide a source of water for the vines during the hot, dry summer. All of the Tenuta’s vineyards are pergola trained, for it is the ancient and traditional way. The total production from the 10 hectares is about 50,000 bottles.
Tramonti is one of the three most important wine villages of the Amalfi Coast, the other two being Furore and Ravello, and as such, Tenuta San Francesco is able to append the name of his village to the appellation.