The historic origins of Castello Vicchiomaggio date back to the fifth century, when it was called Vicchio dei Longobardi, (Village of the Longobards) though remains dating back to Etruscan times have been found on the site. In the Renaissance (1450 approx.), the name was changed to Vicchiomaggio, the Village of May (maggio) and the current castle was built.
The Estate has great historical significance. The Castello is found in the archives of Leonardo da Vinci, who was a guest of the estate when he painted the Mona Lisa. The famous academic Francesco Redi prepared his renowned "Bacco in Toscana", (published in 1685) at Vicchiomaggio.
Since 1964 the estate has been owned by the Matta family who originally came from Tonengo near Asti in Piemonte but had moved to London and started importing French and Italian in the early 1960s. The estate was in a very poor condition but a dedicated replanting programme has put Vicchiomaggio back among the elite of Chianti estates. John Matta has been running the estate with his wife Paola since 1982 and the quality has continued to improve crowned with being named Italian Winemaker of the Year in both 2002 and 2005 at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.
The location of the estate is superb, situated a few kilometres North of Greve in the heart of the Chianti Classico region on top of a hill with fabulous views over the surrounding countryside. The estate has the luxury of only selecting the best sites with perfect southerly exposition for planting vineyards of which there is a total of 32 hectares the remainder of the land being planted with olives (producing a superb olive oil) or as forest.
Good wine starts with having good grapes from the vineyard and nowhere is this more evident than at Castello Vicchiomaggio. All the work on the vines is carried out by hand and each vine is meticulously trained to produce a maximum of 6 bunches of grapes. Extensive green harvesting is performed to achieve this and several passes are made through the vineyard during the growing season to ensure that all the grapes ripen uniformly. This way yields are kept low to produce the optimum quality of grapes for the wine.
The meticulous approach is carried through in the wine making where again nothing is left to chance. The grapes from each vineyard is vinified separately to fully realise the potential of each unique site and the wines are carefully matured in the air conditioned cellars beneath the castle. Several different styles of wine are produced, from the traditional to the innovative and each wine is named after a specific vineyard area.