Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
A paradise of essences and perfumes. A paradise of nature but also of technology and science: the farm Casalvento, nearby Castellina in Chianti, is an extraordinary part of our territory.
Where the owner, Lorenzo Domini with his wife Donata and his son Alessandro continues a tradition established more than 50 years ago. A tradition that has become the brand “Lavanda del Chianti”.
“The property – he tells – It was purchased in 1950 by my father Giovanni, he was an university professor in Siena (where he was also chancellor). In 1962 officially he began the cultivation of plants such lavender: with his pharmacologists colleagues of the University he puts on these distillations in an official manner. He bought a first distiller, then a second, and a third “.
“It all began in a scientific mode – he says – They selected the best clones, with which they supplied many perfume companies. My father passed away in 1983, but the production never stopped. The systems were old, we have rebuilt and modernized everything: today we have an advanced facility which is conducted in an extremely sophisticated manner. This piece of paradise to be maintained needs constant care and work: In the fields, the distillery, the marketing of products: in conclusion, in each stages of a company that produces and sells”.
“It’s not easy to do these distillations – says Lorenzo – get these essential oils, these extracts from plants. I’m the only one who does things at this level in central Italy. How did I learn? It’s all written in books and then is necessary a lot of experience: also because the machines are all designed by us, not in series. We have asked the manufacturers to realize them in a certain way”.
Lavender colours and smells this spot of Chianti. But there isn’t lavender only… . “We got to grow very special plants – says Lorenzo – for example the iris with the complicated distillation of its rhizome; the roses of Damasco; the oak’s musk… . We get products that are essential oils and aromatic waters“.
Our – he says while he shows us the machines- is a steam distillery which gets oil and water: separating the 70% of water and 30% of of oils. From these we prepare some cosmetics, solid and liquid soaps, tonic lotions, body and hand creams, shampoo and shower gels. Then we make perfumes worldwide certified. Nine: from wood, lavander and flowers”.
But the distillery wouldn’t be anything without a high quality product: “Here we have various levels of expertise – highlights Lorenzo – starting by the agricultural and agronomic one. In short, we must be able to cultivate the fields. The second one is technical-extractive. The third one is chemical. Then the marketing. The dedication is total in all these senses. We have the organic certification: never used weedkillers or chemical ferilizer”.
Among the galestro rocks we meet at each corner a different row. Half Tuscany on the background: from here, where once passed the etruscan road, in clear days we see almost the whole of our region.
“We grow nine different types of lavender – shows us Lorenzo – including the super-blu one, all types strictly separated. And then thyme, rosemary, sage, elicriso, issopo, roses of Damasco, iris. Each plant has its soul, we need the right precautions to personalize the extraction. The same machine can work in more ways”.
In these 24 hectares of Chianti Classico for once the wine is marginal: It’s a small self-sufficient world. “We have our own nursery. We provide ourselves, We have our clones of which we are very jealous, of course we don’t sell the roots. The field is plowed, cultivated, we established the field boundaries and tracks the rows, then the most complicated operation is the removal of weeds without using weedkillers. Then is time for harvest and finally the distillation”.
A magical journey, which takes place every year at precise cycles according to the right time for the harvest of every single plant: and so continues the dream of man who perfumes the Chianti.