The recovery and reproduction of the 13th-century wine made by the Benedictine monks of Camaldoli is almost fantastical, but also entirely scientific. Aside from prayer and meditation, the Benedictine monks engaged in various activities, including agriculture. Researchers at Crea, a centre specializing in the conservation, characterisation and enhancement of grape varieties, reproduced their wine a few years ago thanks to the identification and recovery of as many as 21 indigenous varieties still present in small secular Casentino vineyards.
Leap forward almost a thousand years to modern times and two vines with more specific characteristics have spread beyond the confines of the valley: the Morellone del Casentino, a close relative of the Sangiovese, recognised in other areas of Tuscany as just the Casentino; and the Moscato or Moscatello di Subbiano, introduced at the beginning of the 1900s, then abandoned and almost lost, then cultivated once more to produce dessert wines.
Today the wine panorama of this micro region of almost 830 square kilometres with an altitude varying between 260 and 1,650 metres above sea level is not particularly renowned for its wine, but is pleasantly crossed by a creative verve that has not, however, damaged the peculiar characteristics of the agricultural community. In fact the innovation and imports have gradually enriched and varied the oenological heritage of the territory. And so, alongside the orthodox and philological fidelity of Poggiotondo, defined as a bastion of the Sangiovese in the Casentino area, and Ornina, whose wines use the whole variety of the most typical Tuscan vines (from Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Cilegiolo and Pugnitello to the black and white Malvasia and the Trebbiano), are winemakers who dare to break the bonds of tradition and who have experimented and managed to find fertile soil and microclimatic conditions suitable for cultivating and producing “different” vines and wines in these parts.