Castello di Volpaia sits atop a hillside just north of Radda in Chianti. It’s a dominating castle that anchors the remainder of this tiny walled village; a unique enclave that is more than simply a winery. The winery and the surrounding buildings actually comprise the small hamlet of Volpaia; population, about 50.
Volpaia’s origins date back to the year 1172, but it wasn’t until the mid 1970’s that the Mascheroni Stianti family, led by the husband and wife team of Carlo and Giovanella, decided to modernize the winery and begin commercial production on a scale never before implemented at Volpaia. Today, the winery and the village support and farm over 900 acres of land, of which 120 are dedicated to vineyards, 40 that are devoted to olive groves and the balance to natural forest and the village structures.
If you’re not careful, you can drive past Volpaia without even realizing it’s there. But the regret would catch up with you, because this winery devoted to fully organic farming is making some amazing Chianti Classico. And it’s most recent release, the 2015, is well worth seeking out.
The 2015 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico is a medium shimmering ruby color with faint violet highlights. Right from the bottle, the aroma of the wine was expressive and exhibited what I think will be the hallmark of these young Tuscan 2015s. Freshness. A sensation of purity throughout that seems to tell the drinker: “this fruit was so wonderful, there wasn’t much we needed to do to it.” I’ve got many more 2015s to write about, so we’ll see if that holds true.
In the glass, fresh crushed berries take center stage with floral anise, hints of underbrush and lavender. On the palate, this juicy approachable red is medium bodied with red berry flavors that are accented by soft pepper notes, fennel and hints of toasted spices. The finish is of medium length and clean, with fresh acidity that begs the taster to take another sip. Volpaia’s wines are organic and made using traditional methods. The 2015 is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot and spends 14 months in large Slavonian barrels before a short bottle rest prior to release. Wonderful value under $15! 89 points. Find this wine.
2015 is going to be a vintage to buy across the board. The wines from Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano and the Maremma will all warrant consideration. Take the time now to grab some of the “low end” 2015s as they are released. I firmly believe they will play a vital role in helping to keep your hands off the more notable wines you purchase.