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.   Located in Castellina, 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 label are native to their estate – which is legally protected.  Each label changes with the vintage; a nod to these protected birds.
The estate is owned by Paolo Panerai and the winemaking team is headed by Alessandro Cellai.  I’ve not been particularly fond of today’s subject wine,  but a recent review spurred my curiosity.  Past vintages that I’ve had – mostly from the late 80’s to mid 90’s never seemed to hit the heights they could or should have and so I lost track of this estate. 
The 2009 Castellare I Sodi di S. Niccolo changes that.  A blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Malvasia the wine is a deep dark ruby-garnet color. Lovely aromas of flowers, crushed berries, pipe tobacco and coffee are intense and harmonious. Flavors echo the nose with additions of pepper and slight toast. Well balanced, there is no signs of the heat of the vintage and with vineyards at near 1200 meters ASL, it’s clear Castellare was able to keep their grapes fresh.  A fair amount of tannin clamps down on the finish but there is so much fruit here that they’re not obtrusive. Enjoy now with decanting or cellar easily for 10 more years.  93 points – wonderful effort!

~ 85% Sangiovese – 15%  Malvasia ~


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