Frescobaldi is one of the most important wine estates in Italy famed for their imperious Brunello di Montalcino, Castel Giocondo. The Frescobaldi family were one of the foremost banking families in Florence, which extended to great cloth work ‘Arti’. Their immense wealth and power allowed them to finance ventures for European royal families, including Edward I, as well as becoming receivers of customs in the UK and financing the Crusades. Their family also produced several literary figures, these include Dino Frescobaldi, the poet and Leonardo Frescobaldi the historian. They began producing wine of great esteem in 1308 and were able to boast an incredible client base. They traded their wine with the renaissance main Michelangelo and supplied wine to Henry VIII; there are surviving contracts in the family archive which are signed by the King. He certainly enjoyed a glass of wine, amongst other hedonistic pleasures.
The village of Castelgiocondo from which the wine is eponymously named, overlooks the historic estate of the Frescobaldis in Montalcino. This was an ancient stronghold, built in 1100 to defend the road leading to Siena, it is well worth visiting for its history and splendour. The property was one of the first to produce Brunello di Montalcino in the 1800s and this history is celebrated on the label of Castel Giocondo by the fresco of candottiere, the Sienese by artist Simone Martini. The fresco depicts Guidoriccio da Fogliano, the commander of the Siena troops who led the attack on the Montemassi castle in 1323, this coincides with the Frescobaldi’s wine beginnings.
The estate is cited in the south west of Montalcino at the perfect altitude of 300 to 400 metres, with perfected soil drainage and sunny favourable south west exposure. The soil is rich in sand, with calcium presence, it remains PH Neutral. As in Bordeaux the best sites were secured by the pioneers of the age and the terroir here is ideal for wine-making. Castel Giocondo is the perfect expression of Brunello di Montalcino and results from severe selection, the grapes are sourced from the best parcels in the vineyard. The wine is produced from an obdurate selection of 100% Sangiovese.
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