Cantina Conti Faina

Real History

Cantina Conti Faina

Collelungo is a very small town, but if you come from the road that rises from Fratta Todina you can admire it lying with the walls of its castle on an outcropping overlooking the Middle Tiber Valley. Legend has it that in the village of Collelungo lived the "beautiful Imperia" that at night came out of the castle, through a secret tunnel, with her white horse

Once you arrive at the village, you'll find a beautiful church more commonly known as Sanctuary of Our Lady of Light. This historic place was built around the thirties of the last century to preserve a precious fresco of the Madonna of the light, dated 1330, found In the old church of Saint Matthias the Apostle. The sanctuary is a place of worship of great importance in the region. The fresco is inside the old church and from the was beginning defined as "Prodigioso". In fact the fresco was concealed by a layer of plaster that, on April 24, 1827, upon returning from a procession the pastor and the parishioners witnessed when it fell and the face of the Virgin appeared. As other pieces fell, other parts of the Virgin were displayed until the image was revealed almost entirely.

Since that event, pilgrims come every year between April and September. It's a must to go to Collelungo for the traditional feast of Our Lady of Light.

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The winery is located right inside the small old town, but before you go we suggest you to take a tour outside the city walls to admire the surrounding landscape, are very few meters and really worth it. Waiting for me there is Stefano Sanesi, director of the estate, who before making me visit the winery tells me many details that I did not know about the history of the company and in particular on the fundamental role of Zeffirino Faina (1826-1917) in the history of Umbrian agriculture and viticulture in particular.

Stefano tells that Zeffirino having married secondly Luciana Bonaparte, grandson of Napoleon and daughter of Maria Bonaparte Valentini, stayed for a long time in France and got to know thoroughly the production model French. Moreover, the friendship with Baron Bettino Ricasoli allowed him to deepen his knowledge. Thanks to this knowledge in 1870, on his return from France, he decided to take the vineyards to the tent and put the low vines in place introducing the concept of specialized viticulture. Thus was born also the cellar, whose works ended in 1876, built on a model French digging in the rock below the castle three long galleries placed on three different underground levels that allowed the application of the principle of "fall of Must by gravity. " This principle allowed us to intervene as little as possible on grapes and wine. Moreover, the tunnels ensured a natural air-conditioning with a constant temperature both in summer and in winter, ideal for making wine refinement

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Cantina

The visit starts from the technically advanced part of the cellar equipped with last generation machinery for the processing of grapes and wine but, after a brief description on their function, we descend in the heart of the cellar, the famous galleries In which the wine is shaped by time and by natural air conditioning. In This floor we find the barrels and the barrique for the refinement of the wines and we can admire also old equipments of the 1800 like this fixed press coming from France.

We still go down a plane through a very steep staircase and we cannot but think of the fatigue of our ancestors to realize this wonder in the absence of today's technologies. The photo made right at the foot of the staircase so as to make the most of its remarkable inclination. On the lower level we find even more the atmosphere of the Times gone as it all stayed, apart from the artificial light, as it was at the origin of the cellar with the old oak barrels still in good display.

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Cantina Cantina

At the end of this gallery we find yet another one at the beginning of which there is a staircase in which the play of lights creates an exciting atmosphere. Stefano tells me that right from the start the wines of the Conti Faina were very appreciated and won numerous prizes including "The gold medal with lire 1000" received by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1886, "The Gold medal" in Orvieto in 1891 and another "gold medal" in Zurich in 1893. Given the premise, about 10 years ago, it was decided to renew the winery and make it adequate to modern technologies, but exploiting the experiences handed down since ' 800 has worked to revive great wines. Stefano is particularly keen to point out that the experiences gained in those years are still applied in the techniques of vine cultivation and in the processing of grapes that follow the same path devised by Count Zeffirino in the nineteenth century, in particular, the "fall by Gravity" system is still used, which allows to minimise mechanical interventions. Thanks to its 25 hectares of vineyards consisting of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdicchio and Chardonnay grapes, today the winery offers its customers various proposals: the red wines "bad weather" and "Villa Murelli"; The white wines "montione" and "stain of the tower" and a sparkling wine brut called "Senator Zeffirino".

Finally Stefano tells about the last born the "Pinot Nero 1883" an ambitious project for the company that with this product wants to look to the future with a project once again innovative in the Umbrian wine panorama. Pinot Nero is one of the noblest and most elegant vines but at the same time more difficult to vinify, in Umbria in particular it is not easy to cultivate as it is a plant that prefers areas with significant thermal excursions like mountain ones, so that in the estate was Place to stay in a land located at about 520 meters of altitude that has all the characteristics to guarantee high quality grapes whose wine aged for 16 months in Oak barriques is a very unique product and gathers in itself historicity and innovation. Why the date "1883" in the name of the wine? It is the date reported on a large and historical barrel still present in the cellar. At the end Stefano showed the olive groves that allow the company to produce the excellent extra virgin olive oil called "Rocchio Alto".

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