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Not your average winemaker 

Piergiorgio Castellani is...

Philosophy. Buddhism. Poetry. Theatre. Greek Mythology. Art. Italian literature. Not the usual subjects covered in the first hour of a meeting, but then Piergiorgio Castellani (photo) is not your average winemaker. A conversation with Piergiorgio can lift the soul, carry it on a journey of possibility and leave one feeling enthused (and perhaps just a smidgen academically lacking).


Nothing at Castellani is average. The setting is beautiful, in the amphitheatre of coastal Tuscany, sheltered from the cold Alpine winds. Our accommodation at Poggio al Casone now includes a sauna and emotional shower. That's not a typo, it's just very Piergiorgio. Sangiovese? Yawn. How about Foglia Tonda, Barsaglina, Lacrima, and Sagrantino instead?


Ceppaiano wines are Bibendum's joint venture with Castellani, and this is a very personal project for Piergiorgio. Ceppaiano bottles are adorned with Violetta Viole's artworks – Violetta's daughter, the beautiful Chiara, is married to Piergiorgio. A friend of the couple, Alessandro Puccinelli, has taken stunning photographs of the Ceppaiano vineyards; in his eternal quest to do things differently, he's doing this mostly at night. The new Ceppaiano winery building is a work of art itself, and will house a permanent collection of Violetta's art, Alessandro's photographs and some of the late Walter Sardi's fabulous glass, iron and wood sculptures.


Unfortunately, we also had to do some business amidst all this excitement, but luckily our business is wine, and we have some amazing blends as a result of this trip. The Ceppaiano wines are juicy, luscious and mouthwatering – when I sneaked a peek at Iain's notes, I couldn't help but smile at "Ceppaiano 2007 – WOW!". Couldn't have put it better myself.


by Kirstie Papworth



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