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Room with a Cru with Prince Corsini and Villa Gugliaie

Nov 01, 2017 Written by: Alice Lascelles for How to spend it magazine

The new face of fine wine tourism is all about first-person encounters, breathtaking lodgings and exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences.  Take a tour around Prince Corcinis estate while staying at our luxury Villa Guglaie.

The first time I meet Giovanni Bulgari, the 43-year-old heir to the Bulgari jewellery empire, it’s on a scruffy lay-by in southern Tuscany. This is because Podernuovo a Palazzone, Bulgari’s winery, is the kind of address that tends to defeat Google Maps. And you get the feeling he rather likes it that way.

“I love this part of Tuscany;· he says, climbing into his mud-spattered estate car. “It’s intimate, with lots of small producers of olive oil and wine. It’s more wild; you need to get here, if you know what I mean.”

For the past 10 years, this diffident Italian has been quietly cultivating his own vines among the many surrounding San Casciano dei Bagni’s gently sloping hills. Working out of a breathtaking slice of glass-and­ concrete modernism by the Puglian architect Massimo Alvisi and his wife ]unko Kirimoto, Bulgari (pictured overleaf) finalised the three Podernuovo reds, which debuted in the UK this summer: Sotirio 2012, a 100 per cent Sangiovese with nettle-y, hedgerow fruit; Therra 2012, a dry, Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/ Montepulciano blend; and Argiro 2014, a Cabernet Franc packed with vibrant, peppery cassis.

Many estate owners in Bulgari’s position would be content to direct proceedings from afar. But he’s remained hands-on, living on-site in a modest four­ bedroom house (pictured below) overlooking his beloved 26 hectares of vines. Recently, however, he moved to an ancient townhouse across the valley. The reason? To make room for more guests; because a stay at Podernuovo a Palazzone has become something of a hot ticket among Bulgari’s friends and clients.

“Private as I may be, I enjoy having small groups of people from all over the world come here, to see the work and passion we put into this project;says Bulgari, as we crunch our way up the track from the house to the winery. “I like my guests to live their very own experience of it, in my home in the middle of the vines.” Accompanied by Bulgari and one of his consultant oenologists- currently Michele Bean -guests can take a deep dive into the finer points of vinifying in oak, concrete or steel; watch a harvest; or simply spend their days admiring the panoramic vineyard views from the huge terrace on the winery’s roof. One guest from Singapore even swung his own, bespoke blend-”although this doesn’t happen often;• demurs Bulgari. “It takes a lot of time, with a special procedure for every stage.” …

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