Castell’in Villa was established in 1968. Even though that’s five decades ago, it’s an infancy relative to many Tuscan wineries. Still, it didn’t take them long to make their mark on Chianti Classico. The winery’s first commercial Riserva release, the 1971, is considered legendary. In the cellar of the winery, bottles of this very vintage reside today. One day, I hope to taste it.
Proprietress Principessa Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa and her husband first saw the estate in 1967 and then bought the property in 1968. At that time, there was only the 13th century farmhouse and one hectare of vineyards. They quickly expanded their plantings and updated the farmhouses. In doing so, they sought the advice of the Chianti Consorzio and as a result, quickly eliminated the use of white grapes in their wine. Soon after, they ultimately switched to 100% Sangiovese.
Today the estate spans nearly 300 hectares. However, only 54 are devoted to vineyards which enjoy southwest exposure atop one of Castelnuovo’s highest points. As a result, despite being part of this southerly Chianti Classico Commune, the vines enjoy the diurnal temperature swings at this slightly higher altitude.
The 2017 Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico is rather impressive given the challenges the vintage presented. In the glass, the wine is a deep violet with pretty reflections. A siena like color shades the rim of the glass. The aromas from the glass feature crushed berry, worn leather and dusty earth tones. Attractive. On the palate, the wine is fresh and vibrant. There is nary a perception of the scorching hot summer that often impacted wines in 2017. Solid core of ripe cherry is viscous with fresh acidity, spices, warmed clay and herb. We drank half the bottle one night and it was just as fresh and vibrant the next. Vinfied in stainless steel and then in large cask for 12 months. 100% Sangiovese. My only complaint? Perhaps it’s a bit pricey. 90 points. About $26. Find this wine.
Stay tuned for more from this property as I re-visit my Gemelli series and taste the 2005 and 2008 Riservas side by side. Salute!