Producer Q & A: Andrea Cassini of I Sodi, Chianti Classico, Italy

Updated: Sep 12


Winery: I Sodi


Appellation: Chianti Classico


Total production in bottles: 90,000


Number of unique wines produced: 5


Closures: Natural cork


Organic/biodynamic (other): Organic in practice (not certified)


Yield per hectare: About 7000 grapes per hectare



Introduction from importer of I Sodi wines, Paul Turina:


“I hope that the memory of visiting I Sodi for the first time and meeting Andrea Cassini, his father Franco, and his father’s twin brother Danillo never fades from my memory. Introduced through my friend Roberto Bechi who had recently convinced me to curate an Italian products trade show in Portland, Maine, the day was truly unforgettable.


"As the final bottle was poured, a dusty bottle of their 1999 Riserva, we sat silently together savoring the wine and our thoughts. Non ci sono parole... there are no words, nothing more could be said."

A cold and blustery day, we quickly retreated inside where a fire that had been started well before dawn was down to a bed of hot embers. Above the embers half of a Ciangle turned slowly on a large spit, golden and crisp, occasionally oozing a drip or two of rendered fat onto the coals. The first chianti was opened, then one or two older vintages, then a riserva or two, each wine somehow more amazing than the last. As the final bottle was poured, a dusty bottle of their 1999 Riserva, we sat silently together savoring the wine and our thoughts. Non ci sono parole… there are no words, nothing more could be said.”



Interview with Andrea Cassini:


Q: How did you end up at the winery?


I was born into the winery, it has been my whole life... in fact, my family has been in the wine business since 1926.


Q: What is your role?


Because we are a very small, family run farm (myself, my father and his twin brother), I can do everything, but principally, I supervise and organize all of the work, I oversee the entire winery. If I have time, I like to work in the vineyards.


Q: Everyone talks about terroir. What makes yours unique?


Our farm is located in Gaiole, which is the very heart of the Chianti Classico region. Gaiole is where the Chianti style of wine originated three centuries ago.

Q: What do you do to keep your wines and land healthy?


Good vineyard positioning helps us to reduce chemical treatments as much as possible. We use natural products such as sulfur and copper. For fertilization we use bovine manure, and this helps to keep the soils natural beneficial qualities intact. We truly pay great attention to all of our agronomic practices throughout the year.


Q: How many different grape varieties do you work with?


We principally work with Sangiovese and Canaiolo, but we also have plantings of Malvasia del Chianti and Trebbiano Toscano that we cultivate for our Vin Santo dessert wine.

"I was born into the winery, it has been my whole life... in fact, my family has been in the wine business since 1926."




Q: What is the most difficult part of the wine business?


Commercially, Chianti Classico is very competitive. While Chianti Classico is very well known, it can be difficult to find wine importers who do not already have a winery from Chianti Classico in their portfolio. This makes quality and packaging extremely important. We are a very small company, it is not realistic for us to be able to have a 360 degree marketing plan. It is important to us to establish lifelong relationships with the importers and customers that we do serve. So connecting that gap, between us and our customer, I would say is our greatest challenge.


Q: What are your goals for the winery?


The most important challenge is to always maintain a high quality level of the wines and always do so with respect for nature and traditions; for this reason we proceed when necessary to renew the vineyards while maintaining their peculiar characteristics. In recent years we have also managed to increase the vineyard areas.

Q: What impact is climate change having on your business?


Being a small operation we are very fortunate to have soil that is rich in small shallow veins. Even in the hottest seasons these veins can relieve heat stress. So, in all honesty we can say that until now even the greatest heat waves of recent years have not impacted our quality or production yields in a negative way. That's not to say it's all luck though, we work very hard to care for our soil in a way that keeps it soft. Our work ensures that the soil can absorb water from rains that are becoming less frequent but much more intense.


"Our business is a job second, but a passion first. This passion allows us to work many hours a day without ever looking at the clock. Here, time passes quickly and work does not weigh you down when you see the results of your hard work. We are lucky to work in a beautiful place, surrounded by nature and without pollution."

Q: Tell us something about your region or area (history, music, art, etc).


The city closest to us is Siena which is about 20 km away. Siena is a small town that is absolutely full of history. One of the major medieval historical centers in the world, we are lucky to have perfectly preserved some of the most beautiful historical monuments in the world; the Piazza del Campo, the Duomo, etc. Another major point of culture in our community is the Palio. The race, which was born from the heart and the ancient traditions of the people of Siena, takes place twice a year. In its millennial history, Siena has given birth to some of the most famous painters and sculptors of the Middle Ages. Q: Tell us a little bit about the food of your region.


I could write a whole book talking about the food of Tuscany. The great recipes of this land are nearly endless - I will focus instead on the cuisine in Siena where the most popular dishes are ribollita (famous Tuscan 'bread soup'), pici (thick, hand rolled pasta, like fat spagetti, originating in the Siena region), steak, sweets and of course, wine!

Q: What is your favorite local restaurant?


Ristorante Tar-Tufo in Siena, nearby the Town Hall. Our friend, Chef Pino Di Cicci, offers very high quality cuisine here. They are known for their panoramic views of the city, their prestigious wine list, and most importantly, the fresh and local truffles they offer year round.





Q: What is their specialty?


Their speciality is definitely fresh and locally sourced truffles, and the rich meats they serve them alongside.

Q: What do you eat at home with your wine?


Everyday foods for me at home are simple foods. Pasta plays the most fundamental role in our home, we eat it every single day. Other than pasta, we eat a lot of meat, eggs, and various cold cuts that are typical to our area (raw ham, salami, sausages, etc).


Q: What do you do for fun?


I like to be out in the city, perhaps at a restaurant with friends which is always a good time. Sometimes we make pizza on the farm in our wood fired oven with all of our friends. In the summer we get to visit the beautiful Tuscan sea and in the winter we like to go skiing. Some years we get to visit some place abroad.


Q: What about your next vacation?


Well 2020 is a very unique year because of Coronavirus, we will be staying in Tuscany. But, for 2021 we hope to be able to go to the US to greet our friends!


Q: Is there anything else we should know about the winery or you?


Our business is a job second, but a passion first. This passion allows us to work many hours a day without ever looking at the clock. Here, time passes quickly and work does not weigh you down when you see the results of your hard work. We are lucky to work in a beautiful place, surrounded by nature and without pollution!



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