San Giorgio A Lapi

San Giorgio A Lapi is located in Castelnuovo Berardenga in the Chianti Classico region, where the terrain, the climate, and the dedication and passion of those who work the estate are unsurpassed. The combination of these factors produces exceptional wines in the hills of San Giorgio A Lapi that echo with the rich history of Siena and the Gallo Nero territory and the traditions of the Chianti region.

The Gallo Nero or black rooster has long been the emblem of the entire Chianti region and, more recently, of Chianti Classico wines. Exactly why this is the case is not known, but there are several stories claiming to explain it. One such story relates to the long-lived rivalry existing in the Middle Ages between the republics of Siena and Florence. In order to bring an end to their ceaseless battles, these cities decided to settle the location of their common border by means of a competition between two knights. The knights were to set out on horseback from their respective towns at cockcrow, and the point at which they met would be the frontier between the two republics. The citizens of Siena raised a beautiful white rooster which grew sleek and fat. The Florentines, however, chose a black rooster and never fed him, so that on the day of the race the black rooster was so famished that he started to crow even before sunrise. As a result, the Florentine knight was able to set out much earlier than the Sienese knight whom he met at Fonterutoli, near Castellina, merely 12km from Siena. As a result, almost all of the Chianti territory was united under the rule of the Florentine Republic. The Black Rooster profile was the emblem of the historic Chianti League, which ruled over these lands from the beginning of the 14th century, and Giorgio Vasari painted the Black Rooster on the ceiling of the Salone Dei Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio as an allegorical representation of the Chianti region.

The San Giorgio A Lapi estate has produced wines since 1700, but its origins date back even further in time: to 1109, when the church of San Giorgino was founded. It was donated to the abbot of the monastery of San Pietro A Roti and then given to the monks of the order of Camaldolese di Montegrimaldi. The tumultuous fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw the monastery first abandoned and then destroyed by the armies of Charles V and Cosimo I during the siege of Siena in 1554. Saint George returned to favour in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the oratory of San Giorgino was constructed on top of the ruins of the former monastery. Reborn and enriched with a fresco of the saint fighting the dragon, this seventeenth century embellishment was uncovered during the restoration work of the Simoni family as they returned San Giorgio A Lapi to its former splendour.

The Simoni family purchased the San Giorgio A Lapi estate in 1977, when Aldo Simoni's intuition and his passion for Chianti convinced him to take the plunge and draw upon his experience of winemaking gained further north in Trentino. His attention to detail and his desire for harmony and balance prevailed, and the world had to wait until 1999 to enjoy the first bottles labelled San Giorgio A Lapi. These are wines made with as little human intervention as possible, produced only from grapes of superior quality and only by employing techniques and intelligent processes that enhance what nature provides. With time, the Simoni family has amassed even greater knowledge and experience of its domaine, and constant fine tuning has enabled the estate to improve and develop even further.

Although 100 hectares in area, the vines of San Giorgio A Lapi are planted only in the most suitable locations: in some of the stoniest soils of Chianti Classico and in the clay and tufa soil of Chianti Colli Senesi. In each vineyard, vines are cultivated according to the specific characteristics of the soil and the microclimate of that plot. After careful selection, only the best grapes are vinified - it is a rule at San Giorgio A Lapi that the bunches of grapes that are not of the highest quality are not used in its wines. The grapes from each individual vineyard and plot are fermented separately to respecting their distinctive characteristics, and this separation continues through the subsequent processes of ageing. It is only at the bottling stage that these separate cuvées are blended to create the finest wines possible, and a further period of ageing in bottle is given for these blends to meld harmoniously.
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