Cosimo Maria Masini lies in the hills of San Minato, located in the province of Pisa and in the heart of Tuscany. An ancient medieval village found along the historical Via Francigena, San Miniato is famous for wine and world-renowned white truffle. In this area, viticulture has ancient origins with a history of more than 2 thousand years. Our winery extends for 40 hectares (100 acres) on a single hill cultivated with vines, olive orchards and other crops. Villa la Selva, the heart of the estate, is an ancient residence that belonged to the Buonaparte Family. It was later purchased by Marchese Cosimo Ridolfi, a famous agronomist of the time, who, during the mid 1800’s constructed the winery (which is still used today) and began to work the vineyards with innovative techniques of the time.
The Property and the Team
The estate has been owned by the Masini family from the year 2000. Maria Paoletti Masini, in particular, found a passion for the estate and began to develop activities, managing both marketing and communications. A lawyer by trade and passionate contemporary art collector, apparently very far from the agriculture, she felt that they are actually very connected: all rooted in the search for beauty, elegance and equilibrium.
In 2012, the Masini family was joined by agronomist and agriculturalist Francesco De Filippis. Originally from Campania in Southern Italy, he is an expert in biological and biodynamic agriculture and not just in wine.
Our target is to thoroughly know and understand the territory, to learn the rhythms of nature and its energy. In the initial phases of our work, we asked ourselves what winemaking meant to us and the response was that, for us it means to interpret the territory and subsequently each vintage, allowing the grapes to express themselves and where they come from. It is the result of all the variables that enter into play when you work with “life” and living materials. We wanted to distance ourselves from modern enology, which tends to “create” wine using standard conditions, like a laboratory where everything needs to be under control and according to a standard plan utilizing “production protocols”.
Working in the vineyards daily, being in contact with our plants to observe, interpret and respect nature so that we may face it with humility: that is what winemaking means to us.
Our vineyards extend about 15 hectares (37 acres) along clay soils that date back to the Pliocene Era. Our soils are rich in fossils, and at 100 meters (330 Feet) above sea level, our microclimate allows for perfect vine growing conditions. The varieties grown are those of the Tuscan tradition: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Trebbiano, Vermentino, Malvasia Bianca and Nera, Buonamico, San Colombano and a local variety, which was in serious danger of disappearing, Sanforte (whose genetic heritage we have traced back in time). We also have more recently planted international varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
San Miniato sits atop three hills that overlook the Arno valley, which creates an optimal microclimate for vines and olives, as well as for the world famous precious white truffle. The territory of San Miniato has been planted with vines since Roman Times (back then about 600 hectares, or about 1500 acres) and there are many authors who tell the 2,000 year-long history of viticulture. These lands are suited for all local and well known Tuscan varieties: Sangiovese, Malvasia Nera, Canaiolo, Sanforte, Colombana, Trebbiano, Malvasia Bianca. There are also international varieties that have taken to the territory, like Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet.
During the better years, our 15 hectares produce around 70,000 bottles, which are mostly distributed abroad. You can find our wines in Italy and in other 15 countries. In addition to wine, which undoubtedly represents the core of our vocation, the remaining 25 hectares produce fruits and vegetables for those who work and live on the property, ancient grains, durum and soft wheat, and 7 hectares dedicated to olive orchards. From those orchards we produce extra virgin olive oil using local varieties like Leccino, Moraiolo e Frantoio for a premium blend, as well as a single, rare variety called Mignola. The remaining hectares on the estate are marked by beautiful biodiverse woods and gardens.
The “Vignaioli of San Miniato”
In 2007, a few local winemakers (“vignaioli”) decided to promote together the wine of San Miniato, relatively unknown by wine lovers. Then the group of “Vignaioli di San Miniato” was born and continues to thrive to this day.