Twenty-six generations of the Antinori family have built upon a family dynasty dating to 1385 when Antinori's ancestors joined the Florentine Guild of Vintners. Having developed estates in Tuscany's finest and most progressive viticultural areas of Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Montepulciano, they turned their sights to Umbria, and the 14th century Castello della Sala in the city of Orvieto. Originally owned by one of the most powerful, noble families of Orvieto, the Monaldeschi – feudatories of Charlemagne, King of the Franks – the Castello della Sala represents the ancient history of Umbria, passing through multiple noble families until being acquired by the Antinori family in 1940.
Fast-forward to 1979, Renzo Cotarella arrived, and, in less than ten years, created the wines which would come to symbolize this historic estate. A famous, professional agronomist, Cotarella launched an ambitious project of varietal substitution; a program aimed at producing white wines of greater personality than those produced in the Orvieto Classico appellation at the time. Chardonnay would become the backbone of Cotarella's new masterpiece, with the local Grechetto grape utilized (10-15%) for balancing acidity.
Cervaro della Sala stands as a benchmark today; a wine which resonates so forcefully within its category that it has become emblematic of the category itself.