Founded in 1977, the Castellare estate is relatively young. However, the estate is fortunate enough to hold some of the highest vineyard parcels in all of Chianti Classico, with vineyards situated at 1,200 feet above sea level. Located in Castellina in Chianti, the 46 acre estate has become a sort of natural refuge for forestry and wildlife. In fact, many of the birds that grace Castellare’s labels are native to their estate – which is legally protected by the Italian Government. The estate is owned by Paolo Panerai and the lead winemaker is Alessandro Cellai. The team is dedicated to crafting honest, premium wines driven by terroir. They are farmers and as Paolo muses, each vintage is unique and demands the attention o the winemaker to listen to what nature has provided.
In 1980, I Sodi San Niccolo was created to demonstrate that native grapes alone could be used to create a singularly spectacular world class wine. Panerai has succeeded and today, I Sodi San Niccolo is the flagship wine of this estate. Hailing from the vineyard of the same name, the wine’s name is combination of “I Sodi” – which in dialect means “hard to till” and “San Niccolo” an abandoned Church on the property.
Sitting at an altitude of 1,450 feet, the vineyard is one of the highest in Tuscany. When warm days and cool nights prevail during a growing season, I Sodi San Niccolo can be one of the most aromatic Sangiovese wines attainable.
Production of I Sodi San Niccolo is approximately 25,000 bottles so although it is not the most ubiquitous wine, it is well worth the search. Comprised of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Malvasia Nera, the wine is vinified in stainless steel for approximately 14 days. After that time, the wine is racked to new and 1 year used barrique for 24 months and then ages an additional 24 months after bottling.
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