Updated: Apr 24
“La vita et bella,” a phrase that immediately conjures the essence of Italy's rolling roads lined with cypress trees, all which lead from one countryside charm to another and remind us that, "life is beautiful." It is here, on the quilted hills between Florence and Siena, that the colorful region of Chianti resides.
A few minutes from Castello di Brolio, where Baron Bettino Ricasoli created the 1st “Chianti recipe” in 1872, you can find the intimate vineyards and olive orchards of I Sodi, an establishment created by the Casini family, whose passion for sustainable, nature-friendly-agriculture, propels their production for olive oil and various award winning wines.
I Sodi vineyard a favorite for Tinto Tours Tuscany, as the deliciousness of their various vini, coupled with the kind-hearted Casini family, make moments memorable on multiple levels. The man who first introduced us to the wines of I Sodi being Rick Steves’ Tuscan tour guide for his Best of Europe series. In “Timeless Magic of Siena,” we are reminded that authentic experiences, away from tourist trails, are what truly give the traveler a taste for delicious, delight. All the more reason why the warm and welcoming ways of winemakers Andrea Casini, his father Franco, and his father’s twin brother Danillo, have us returning to enjoy their heartfelt hospitality and wines year after year.
The ruby red Chianti Classico Reserva of I Sodi is made with a combination of Sangiovese & Canaiola Nero grapes, offering a balanced harmony of cherry, chocolate and cedar. The savory elements of this robust wine is made for creamy pasta with cremini mushrooms, parmesan cheese and shaved black truffles of the region. Compelling fact: In order for a wine to be called Chianti Classico, it must be made with 80% of the internationally famous grape variety Sangiovese, considered royalty within the kingdoms of grapes. Additionally, this prized Sangiovese grape is also used to create the other Tuscan wine treasure, Brunello di Montalcino.
With I Sodi their Vigna Farsina is strong yet smooth, deep with dark fruit, vanilla, tobacco and herbaceous aromatics that naturally conjure the divine. A favorite food pairing for this wine is hand-rolled Pici Pasta, with fresh carbonara sauce, topped with a snowy mound of pecorino cheese. (Here is a recipe from the region so you can taste the combined flavors yourself).
For everyone who loves living life balanced between a bit of savory and sweet, ways of the Italians become all the more enticing. In Italy, no beautiful meal is complete without a dessert wine and in Tuscany this usually accompanies a homemade almond biscotti. The slim svelte design of this crunchy-cookie made to be dipped into the glass to soak up the seductive amber honeyed sweetness of Vin Santo del Chianti Classico D.O. This delightful dessert wine, made with 66% Malvasia del Chianti, 34% Trebbiano Tuscano Grapes, is lovingly aged 5 years in chestnut and oak barrels before aging another year in glass, all of which lends to the layered notes of roasted nuts, dried apricots, golden raisins, figs and caramel.
Written by wine lover & world traveler: Séanna Marie
To learn a little more about I Sodi wines we’ve provided an intimate Q&A with winemaker Andrea Casini & Paul Turina, US wine importer.
Q: What do you do to keep your wines and land healthy?
A: 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: Tell us something about your region in relation to renaissance history, art, etc.
A: The small town of Siena, which is absolutely full of history, is about 16 miles away and one of the major medieval centers in the world. In this part of Italy we are lucky to have some of the most beautiful historical monuments in the world; the Piazza del Campo, the Siena Cathedral where famous painters and sculptors Michaelangelo, Lorenzo Bernini, and Donatello, all have their art. Another major point of culture in our community isl Palio di Siena. A horse-race born from the heart of ancient, medieval traditions which occurs every year in July and August.
Q: What is the most difficult part of the wine business?
A: Chianti Classico is very well known. 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.
Q: What are your goals for the winery?
A: To maintain a high quality level of wine, and to respect nature and traditions.
Q: What impact is climate change having on your business?
A: 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. 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.
Q: What is your favorite local restaurant?
A: Ristorante Tar-Tufo in Siena. Our friend, Chef Pino Di Cicci, offers very high quality cuisine here. They are known for their panoramic views of the city, prestigious wine list, and most importantly, fresh Tuscan truffles year round.
Fresh truffles being shaved at Ristorante Tar-Tufo in Siena.
Q: What do you eat at home with your wine?
A: 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 cured meats that are typical to the area ( ham, salami, sausages and such).
Q: Is there anything else we should know about the winery or you?
A: Our business is our passion and 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 live surrounded by nature where the beauty of life is a part of our day to day.
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
SHOP ALL WINES FROM I SODI NOW
I Sodi 'Annata' Chianti Classico DOCG 2016
Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy
The Annata is a blend of 93% Sangiovese and 7% Canaiolo aged for 12-14 months in medium oak barrels, 2 months in stainless steel and 6 months in bottle. It shows aromas of red berries, violets and cooking spice. The palate is bright with notes of black raspberry, red cherries and star anise. The tannin and acidity make it great with roasts and games. High acid wines also go great with high acid foods. We would enjoy this with almost anything with a tomato based sauce; think spaghetti and meatballs or lasagnas. View in store.
I Sodi Sprassassi Toscana IGT 2015
Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy
100% Canaiolo aged 24 months in barrique and bottled without filtering, the 'Super Tuscan' Soprassassi is produced only in the best years for its production. It boasts aromas of red fruit and leather with a similar palate of ripe cherries, mature strawberries, leather and oak. The tannins mellow out with a bit of decanting. This wine is absolutely beautiful alongside roasted meats, grilled meats and seasoned cheeses. View in store.
I Sodi Vigna Farsina Toscana IGT 2011
Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy
100% Sangiovese aged for 24-30 months in barrique and bottled without filtering, the 'Super Tuscan' Vigna Farsina is produced only in the best years for its production and is made only with Sangiovese from a restricted part of the oldest 'Farsina' vineyard. The wine opens with nice aromas of black plum, vanilla and toast. The palate is concentrated and gives loads of black cherry jam, cedar and tobacco, integrated well with assertive tannin. This wine is beautiful alongside roasted meats, grilled meats and seasoned cheeses. View in store.
I Sodi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015
Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy
The 2015 Riserva is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo aged for a total of 2 years - 16-18 months in small oak barrels followed by assemblage in medium oak barrels and 8-9 months in bottle before release. It pours a ruby red color and the first scents and flavors to hit are of sweet licorice, tobacco and red fruits. The balance of acid and tannin is beautiful in this wine, and the time spent in oak wraps the wine nicely in hints of soft vanilla. Perfect for serving with roasts and game, we also recommend anything with a tomato based sauce. View in store.