The estate, which bears the name of a noble family from Montepulciano, was taken over in 2009 by the Belgian Virginie Saverys. In a decade, under her leadership, Avignonesi has become the largest regenerative wine estate in Italy. Out of respect for workers, consumers and the environment, Virginie Saverys has banned highly toxic synthetic biocides - alas too widespread in the wine world - which poison populations, soils, air and water. Concurrently, the cellar has forbidden the use of yeasts, dyes, enzymes, tannins and other industrial biochemical adjuvants. Finally, Avignonesi is vigorously pursuing an energy transition policy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions drastically. Avignonesi is a benefit company and is a certified B Corporation. We are part of a global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy.
Convinced that there are no great wines without good grapes, Virginie focused her efforts on rehabilitating viticulture while giving the cellar a more supervisory than interventionist role.
Beyond giving nature back her rights, Avignonesi also fosters the authenticity of its products. Virginie Saverys and her team have developed a modern style of refreshing, fruit-driven wine where elegance prevails. In short, wines that are a pleasure to drink.
Avignonesi owns about 434 acres of fully certified organic and biodynamic vineyards. All wines are vegan and are made exclusively with grapes cultivated on the estate.
One of the most iconic Italian regions for wine, scenery and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Tuscan wine ranges in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano coming in second.
Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines have their own respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, scattered with vineyards.
Sangiovese at its simplest produces straightforward pizza-friendly Tuscan wines with bright and juicy red fruit, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity and ageability. Top-quality Sangiovese-based wines can be expressive of a range of characteristics such as sour cherry, balsamic, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise and tobacco. Brunello, an exceptionally bold Tuscan wine, expresses well the particularities of vintage variations and is thus popular among collectors. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a red wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, with or without Sangiovese. These are common in Tuscany’s coastal regions like Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, Carmignano and the island of Elba.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.