It is through the soft, smiling gaze of Rudi Bindella that we read the simplicity of a love for Tuscany, a region that now belongs to him despite his roots in Switzerland; a sweet and caressing love, just like the landscape that surrounds his little paradise, the Vallocaia estate. We are near Montepulciano, immersed in the beautiful Valdichiana shrouded in a charming butter-colored fog, on this day that smells like Christmas.
Today, Tenuna Vallocaia - two hectares of land and a ruin purchased by Rudi in 1983 - , has been transformed into a magnificent architectural specimen, concentrating every form of elegance and beauty: a modern complex with circular shapes in which the tasting room and show room are located, surrounded by immense windows overlooking a hilly landscape with perfect features. The park is accompanied by the constant sound of the gentle gush of water from a fountain and by the works of art that are scattered just about everywhere: paintings, pitchers, antique objects and - above all - sculptures that manifest the passion for collecting that Rudi Bindella has always cultivated.
It is Cristopher Lehmpfuhl 's paintings that encapsulate chromatic and textural strength that also furnish the arcade, while contemporary bronze sculptures by Flora Steiger-Crawford and Rolf Brem are featured in the cellar's indoor and outdoor spaces. Terracotta pitchers from the 1700s, as well as fragments of Roman capitals and friezes, flow over the modern corridors with their ostentatious classicism.
The cellar takes place on two levels, the ceilings are blue and adorned with crystal chandeliers from ancient theaters in Switzerland, and the corridors flanked by sculptures and paintings mark a perimeter from which one can observe the wine-making and maturation area below. The barrels and barriques are neatly arranged, protected by sculptures that seem to constantly watch over the wines' becoming, much like the Vestals in a Greek temple.
Today his son Rudi Bindella Jr is at the helm of the estate: 175 total acres of which 54 are planted with vines and 16 with olive groves. The winery management is assigned to Giovanni Capuano, who has been present since 1999.The winery of Tenuta Vallocaia smells like a perfect marriage: the modern structure is built with the best technologies, so as to ensure its energy efficiency. In any case, it is certainly the classicism of the works that envelops us in harmony and tranquility, also aided by the Christmas season that makes the moment even more magical.
But love and passion are not enough, Rudi is crossed by the idea of transalpine perfection and order, to which we Mediterraneans are little accustomed.The wines tasted gave diverse emotions, a common thread of pleasantness and elegance united each glass, although the bottles came from different plots of land, which made each sip different from the other, each immersed in its own peculiarities.
The winemaking part is in the hands of Andrea Scaccini, a brilliant young man who saw the Gambelli 2023 award for best winemaker. Andrea is a young man with a mental construction of other times; besides having innate oenological gifts, he is in love with his land, that of Montepulciano, where he was born and where he still lives and works. His goal is to make wine that can reflect the territory, without innovations and extravagant virtuosity of winemaking, capable of expressing the concept of elegance and finesse.
The wines are all expressive and flowing, the manifest intention to strive for perfection is determined by the precision in their craftsmanship, and the tastings confirmed the desire to produce wines that can be remembered over time.
Tenuta Vallocaia produces in five areas of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, respectively: Argiano, Cervognano, Sanguineto, Paterno and Casalte. Each of these areas has unique characteristics, due to the nature of the soil, altitude and exposure; a terroir that gives the wines an identity and great personality of sangiovese, the main grape variety for Nobile.
Vineyards in Vallocaia and Camparone on sandy soils produce Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Bindella DOCG (85% Sangiovese, 15% Colorino, Canaiolo and Mammolo), with characteristic and elegant floral notes and taut, churning tannins that need a long period of maturation to give harmony and balance. The sangiovese that is grown on the limestone clays in the Sanguineto locality produces I Quadri 's Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG (100% sangiovese); the wines are more structured, powerful and complex and mature in small woods, as are the Vallocaia, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG Riserva (95% sangiovese, 5% colorino del Valdarno) from vineyards rooted in red soils.
Bindella Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2015 -A splendid vintage that yielded intense and vibrant colors, expressive aromas of red fruits and iris, blood and black pepper sketches. The palate is fresh and pulpy and the tannin enveloping; the finish is mineral and balsamic with tamarind in pleasant closure.
Bindella Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2018 has a darker color than the previous one, a spice of coffee and ripe fruit; the palate is savory and the tannin polished and ready. Slightly elusive fruit in the face of tertiaries with roasting and sweet tobacco.
Bindella Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2019 - not an easy vintage due to humidity and high summer temperatures. Wet stone and balsamic notes, cherries under spirit and sour cherries prevail in the olfactory part. Interesting wine for its verticality.
Quadri Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2015 - 100% Sangiovese has brick-colored hues, varietal and spicy aromas that already express beautiful complexity on the nose. The taste is juicy and fresh, veering from currant to raspberry to bay leaf. The tannin is elegant and the taste fine and persistent.
I Quadri Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2018 has an eye-catching color like all the Wines in the I Quadri collection. Spicy and balsamic aromas, in the mouth dark fruit and evident tertiaries. Chocolate and cherry finish. A wine of identity and great elegance.
I Quadri Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2019 has a mineral nose and mouth confirming a nice acid shoulder. Still young tannin but the texture is good and flowing. Really interesting prospects awaiting it, to be tasted again without haste.
Vallocaia 2015 Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG - 95% Sangiovese, 5% colorino del Valdarno - is a volcanic, dynamic and identity-driven wine. Sangiovese is chiseled and well-armed with freshness of flavor: blood orange, pomegranate and savory. Red fruit release on the length, beautiful territorial expression.
Vallocaia Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG 2018 - expressive and territorial this Sangiovese, so deep and turgid: it has a masculine aspect to the nose and palate. It wins on the wet earth that takes away space from red fruits. In the making and to be tasted again later.
Vallocaia Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG 2019 similar fate to its predecessor is a wine yet to be tamed, beautiful structure also tannic and a preponderant savoriness that hints at a future emblazoned. Excellent vibe of terroir that looks straight to elegance and perfection.